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Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
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Wolf Hall (original 2009; edition 2010)

by Hilary Mantel

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
6,630420561 (3.98)4 / 1491
Member:KymmAC
Title:Wolf Hall
Authors:Hilary Mantel
Info:Fourth Estate (2010), Edition: First Picador Edition First Printing, Paperback, 674 pages
Collections:Your library, #1book140
Rating:*****
Tags:#1book140, 2012

Work details

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel (2009)

16th century (173) 2010 (68) 21st century (54) Anne Boleyn (127) Booker (69) Booker Prize (196) Booker Prize Winner (72) British (87) Cromwell (93) ebook (50) England (354) English (46) fiction (919) Henry VIII (329) historical (204) historical fiction (838) historical novel (90) history (155) Kindle (60) literature (49) novel (151) read (67) read in 2010 (53) Reformation (51) Thomas Cromwell (271) Thomas More (48) to-read (266) Tudor (136) Tudor England (58) Tudors (163)
  1. 143
    The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell (kidzdoc)
    kidzdoc: This is another excellent British historical novel.
  2. 111
    Dissolution by C. J. Sansom (gypsysmom)
  3. 90
    The Autobiography of Henry VIII: With Notes by His Fool, Will Somers by Margaret George (napaxton)
  4. 91
    The Six Wives of Henry VIII by Alison Weir (elvisettey)
  5. 93
    Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel (zhejw)
  6. 50
    An Instance of the Fingerpost by Iain Pears (souci)
    souci: A look at the machinations behind the throne as England passes out of placid Catholicism moving fitfully and violently towards Protestantism.
  7. 40
    Henry VIII by J. J. Scarisbrick (robeik)
    robeik: Somewhat academic, but chock-full of detail on Henry's divorce proceedings from Catherine and the Roman Catholic Church.
  8. 40
    Six Wives: The Queens of Henry VIII by David Starkey (souloftherose)
  9. 41
    Abundance by Sena Jeter Naslund (bell7)
    bell7: Both biographical novels explore well-known historical events through the eyes of one sympathetic character close to the action.
  10. 41
    Beyond Black by Hilary Mantel (otherstories)
  11. 53
    Dark Fire by C. J. Sansom (brenzi)
    brenzi: Another book concerning the Henry VIII and Thomas Chromwell.
  12. 20
    The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel (guurtjesboekenkast)
  13. 20
    Doomsday Book by Connie Willis (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: This is another book that really brings a period of history to life around you.
  14. 31
    The Marriage of Meggotta by Edith Pargeter (Osbaldistone)
  15. 20
    Virgin and the Crab: Sketches, Fables and Mysteries from the early life of John Dee and Elizabeth Tudor by Robert Parry (RochieRochel)
  16. 20
    The Life of Thomas More by Peter Ackroyd (napaxton)
  17. 10
    The Corn King and the Spring Queen by Naomi Mitchison (Anonymous user)
  18. 22
    A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: Complex political machinations in a book that clearly references English history, including the Tudor era.
  19. 11
    Sarum by Edward Rutherfurd (guurtjesboekenkast)
  20. 22
    A Bloody Field by Shrewsbury by Edith Pargeter (ansate)
    ansate: Different time period, but another fantastically written historical novel

(see all 23 recommendations)

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English (410)  Dutch (4)  German (3)  Swedish (3)  Hebrew (1)  Danish (1)  Norwegian (1)  Catalan (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (425)
Showing 1-5 of 410 (next | show all)
Mindbogglingly boring. Why the hype? ( )
2 vote Kirstie_Innes-Will | Apr 18, 2014 |
Fabulous book that I could not put down!!
Set through the eyes of Thomas Cromwell charting the politics & intrigue of King Henry VIII'S Reign
Cannot wait to start Hilary mantels next book bring up the bodies ( )
  maximeg | Mar 26, 2014 |
Brilliantly imagined, movingly portrayed, and occasionally brutal book fictionalizing the life of Thomas Cromwell, the son of a blacksmith who rose to be one of Henry VIII's closest and most loyal confidants. The action of Wolf Hall falls mainly in the years 1527 to 1535, ending roughly at the execution of Sir Thomas More. Though the portrayal of life in the court of the fractious Tudor king is stunningly vivid, Mantel sometimes skips writing dialogue in preference to summarizing it, which can be disconcerting, and is the sole reason why I knock off half a star. A fascinatingly dense read which left me scrambling to remember much that I had forgotten in a seminar on the Tudors some twenty years ago. I won't hurry to read the sequel, as I think I need a rest, but I will most certainly go to it eagerly when the time is right. ( )
  Bill_Bibliomane | Mar 25, 2014 |
I'm always amazed at historical fiction writers' abilities to weave details into an already-established narrative. It's an art, and Hillary Mantel is a brilliant artist. ( )
  joyhclark | Mar 13, 2014 |
Clearly brilliant. Still it is sooo long. I will read more in this series. I guess I'm a sucker for a really long book LOL ( )
  newnoz | Mar 3, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 410 (next | show all)
Hilary Mantel sets a new standard for historical fiction with her latest novel Wolf Hall, a riveting portrait of Thomas Cromwell, chief advisor to King Henry VIII and a significant political figure in Tudor England. Mantel’s crystalline style, piercing eye and interest in, shall we say, the darker side of human nature, together with a real respect for historical accuracy, make this novel an engrossing, enveloping read.
added by clamairy | editBookPage, Lauren Bufferd (Mar 2, 2011)
 
hard to read but enjoyable
added by AAGP | editSlate Audio Book Club (Mar 15, 2010)
 
A sequel is plainly in view, as we are given glimpses of the rival daughters who plague the ever-more-gross monarch’s hectic search for male issue. The ginger-haired baby Elizabeth is mainly a squalling infant in the period of the narrative, which chiefly covers the years 1527–35, but in the figure of her sibling Mary, one is given a chilling prefiguration of the coming time when the bonfires of English heretics will really start to blaze in earnest. Mantel is herself of Catholic background and education, and evidently not sorry to be shot of it (as she might herself phrase the matter), so it is generous of her to show the many pettinesses and cruelties with which the future “Bloody Mary” was visited by the callous statecraft and churchmanship of her father’s court. Cromwell is shown trying only to mitigate, not relieve, her plight. And Mary’s icy religiosity he can forgive, but not More’s. Anyone who has been bamboozled by the saccharine propaganda of A Man for All Seasons should read Mantel’s rendering of the confrontation between More and his interlocutors about the Act of Succession, deposing the pope as the supreme head of the Church in England.
 
Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall is a startling achievement, a brilliant historical novel focused on the rise to power of a figure exceedingly unlikely, on the face of things, to arouse any sympathy at all.
 
Thomas Cromwell remains a controversial and mysterious figure. Mantel has filled in the blanks plausibly, brilliantly. “Wolf Hall” has epic scale but lyric texture. Its 500-plus pages turn quickly, winged and falconlike... [It] is both spellbinding and believable.
 

» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Hilary Mantelprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Willems, IneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
'There are three kinds of scenes, one called the tragic, second the comic, third the satyric. Their decorations are different and unlike each other in scheme. Tragic scenes are delineated with columns, pediments, statues and other objects suited to kings; comic scenes exhibit private dwellings, with balconies and views representing rows of windows, after the manner of ordinary dwellings; satyric scenes are decorated with trees, caverns, mountains and other rustic objects delineated in landscape style.' Vitruvius, De Architectura, on the theatre, c.27BC
Dedication
To my singular friend Mary Robertson this be given.
First words
"So now get up."

Felled, dazed, silent, he has fallen; knocked full length on the cobbles of the yard. His head turns sideways; his eyes are turned towards the gate, as if someone might arrive to help him out. One blow, properly placed, could kill him now.
Quotations
The Cardinal, a Bachelor of Arts at fifteen, a Bachelor of Theology by his mid-twenties, is learned in the law but does not like its delays; he cannot quite accept that real property cannot be changed into money, with the same speed and ease with which he changes a wafer into the body of Christ.
"You're sweeter to look at than the cardinal", he says. - "That's the smallest compliment a woman ever received."
It is surprising how international is the language of old men, swapping tips on salves for aches, commiserating with petty wretchedness and discussing the whims and demands of their wives.
"Tell us, Master Cromwell, you've been abroad. Are they particularly an ungrateful nation? It seems to me that they like change for the sake of it?" - "I don't think it's the English. I think it's just people. They always hope there may be something better."
Christ, he thinks, by my age I ought to know. You don't get on by being original. You don't get on by being bright. You don't get on by being strong. You get on by being a subtle crook; somehow he thinks that's what Norris is, and he feels an irrational dislike taking root, and he tries to dismiss it, because he prefers his dislikes rational.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (3)

Book description
Haiku summary
How many Thomases?
How many Annes? Enough for
A Reformation?
(thorold)
Hilary Mantel's
Character resurrection
Of Thomas Cromwell.
(passion4reading)
Fast-paced, well-written
Political thriller. Twist?
Set in Tudor times.
(passion4reading)
Thomas Cromwell, a
Complex figure: shrewd, clever,
Kind, loyal, witty.
(passion4reading)

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0805080686, Hardcover)

Amazon Best of the Month, October 2009: No character in the canon has been writ larger than Henry VIII, but that didn't stop Hilary Mantel. She strides through centuries, past acres of novels, histories, biographies, and plays--even past Henry himself--confident in the knowledge that to recast history's most mercurial sovereign, it's not the King she needs to see, but one of the King's most mysterious agents. Enter Thomas Cromwell, a self-made man and remarkable polymath who ascends to the King's right hand. Rigorously pragmatic and forward-thinking, Cromwell has little interest in what motivates his Majesty, and although he makes way for Henry's marriage to the infamous Anne Boleyn, it's the future of a free England that he honors above all else and hopes to secure. Mantel plots with a sleight of hand, making full use of her masterful grasp on the facts without weighing down her prose. The opening cast of characters and family trees may give initial pause to some readers, but persevere: the witty, whip-smart lines volleying the action forward may convince you a short stay in the Tower of London might not be so bad... provided you could bring a copy of Wolf Hall along. --Anne Bartholomew

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:06:26 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

Assuming the power recently lost by the disgraced Cardinal Wolsey, Thomas Cromwell counsels a mercurial Henry VIII on the latter's efforts to marry Anne Boleyn against the wishes of Rome, a successful endeavor that comes with a dangerous price.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 10 descriptions

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