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

by Hilary Mantel

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
7,897494420 (3.99)4 / 1733
Member:EscritoraSarita
Title:Wolf Hall
Authors:Hilary Mantel
Info:Harpercollins Publishers Ltd (2009), Paperback
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:read in 2012, historical fiction, england, henry viii, anne boleyn, thomas more, thomas cromwell

Work details

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel (2009)

  1. 121
    Dissolution by C. J. Sansom (gypsysmom)
  2. 143
    The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet by David Mitchell (kidzdoc)
    kidzdoc: This is another excellent British historical novel.
  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 (ijustgetbored)
  5. 113
    Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel (zhejw)
  6. 70
    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. 30
    Virgin and the Crab: Sketches, Fables and Mysteries from the early life of John Dee and Elizabeth Tudor by Robert Parry (RochieRochel)
  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. 42
    Beyond Black by Hilary Mantel (otherstories)
  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. 21
    Sarum by Edward Rutherfurd (guurtjesboekenkast)
  19. 22
    A Bloody Field by Shrewsbury by Edith Pargeter (ansate)
    ansate: Different time period, but another fantastically written historical novel
  20. 22
    The Children's Book by A. S. Byatt (kidzdoc)

(see all 23 recommendations)

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Showing 1-5 of 481 (next | show all)
I have a question. How did this win the Booker Prize? It is a good idea. Tell the story of the Tudors from the viewpoint of Cromwell. Make him the hero and More the bad guy. But when there are so many characters you cannot just throw out the pronoun "he" and expect the reader to know who is talking. Also, why make the reader work so hard to follow the story. If not for the cast of characters listed at the beginning I would have been totally lost. I did like the history but the story was too muddled to be able to follow. She needed an editor big time. ( )
  jerry-book | Jan 26, 2016 |
I listened to the audio book version and the reader was extremely talented, providing every member of this huge cast of characters with just the right inflection to allow the listener to keep everyone straight. As for the story itself, it's an in-depth exploration of Thomas Cromwell's part in Tudor history, and very well done. I'm looking forward to reading the second book in this trilogy. ( )
  Gingermama | Jan 24, 2016 |
I read this in reverse order, having read BRING UP THE BODIES first. Both follow Thomas Cromwell, his associates, and daily grinds people of several classes of people. I saw a difference in the tone of how Cromwell was presented in the two books. The second book is an assertive, more confident, more brash Cromwell as he completes his ascent to power, followed by ruin. In this first book, we see a developing Cromwell. We see him pursue his education through military service with the French, financial and trade ventures with the Dutch, and a broadening of his artistic sense through travels in Italy. Along the way, in all ventures, he is establishing connections. He is observing how others conduct their lives at the court of Henry VIII. Keeping careful benefit/loss lists of familiar historical characters such as Wolsey, More, the extensive Boleyn and Seymour families, Cromwell plays a long chess game planned to last many years. In this book we do not see the deliberately offensive character that the later Cromwell will become. There are instances when he uses language as a scalpel to avenge perceived injuries from rival courtiers, but it is less so in this book. Here is Cromwell the tailor and weaver of organizations that will ensnare later enemies.

I believe this first book had a much better view on the daily life of people. This is true of the nobility, the clergy, the merchant class, and the poverty stricken. The idea that decapitation as a form of punishment was a privilege for the nobility might surprise some. Descriptions of the "sweats" or the plague and the people's reaction to it may cause the reader to reflect on Ebola, SARS, and MERS. There may not have been AIDS, but there was the "French Pox" and other names for syphilis. The state of sanitation, (lack) how many people would sleep in a very small area with no privacy (plus selected animals) are described in lively, interesting ways that do not detract from acquiring historical knowledge.

And there is fashion. The detailed description of clothing is the best I have read since Barbara Tuchman's book on the 13th century. ( )
  ajarn7086 | Jan 23, 2016 |
This was pretty interesting. I like the take of presenting the story through Thomas Cromwell and dealt more with the other players in the Henty VIII/Ann Bolyn affair. I am not sure how accurate the portrayal of Thomas Moore was, though. It was a different picture than other things I have read about him. The writing was good and the story quite easy to follow despite its complexity. ( )
  Jen.ODriscoll.Lemon | Jan 23, 2016 |
This was pretty interesting. I like the take of presenting the story through Thomas Cromwell and dealt more with the other players in the Henty VIII/Ann Bolyn affair. I am not sure how accurate the portrayal of Thomas Moore was, though. It was a different picture than other things I have read about him. The writing was good and the story quite easy to follow despite its complexity. ( )
  Jen.ODriscoll.Lemon | Jan 23, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 481 (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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:44 -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)

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