Wolf Hall was a very dense read for me. At about halfway, I wanted to chuck it and give up, but, I soldiered on and finished it. I was happy that I did.
It is the 1520’s in England. Henry VIII wants to annul his marriage to Katherine and to marry Anne Boylean.
Henry VIII fires Cardinal Wollsey, cuts his ties with Italy and the Pope. The people of England haven’t this angry, ever.
As Wolsey leaves to regain some of his footing in the eyes of the church, Henry comes across one of Wolsey’s good friends and close confidants – Thomas Cromwell. A man who has had his own trials and tribulations – growing up with a quite abusive father, who ran away to join an army and fight. Thomas came back as a businessman, a lawyer, to become the King’s learned advisor – not only to help himself to the King as well maneuver the gossip and ridicule of what he wants to do, no matter the consequence.
From what I have read and heard about Cromwell, he was portrayed as a very angry person. Mantel takes this and turns him into someone who has been abused, lost his entire family to illness among insurmountable odds to one that has the ear of the King, but many in court without the drama of the back dealings and manipulations that go on.
As I mentioned before, this is a dense. but, intricate read from start to finish. Cromwell, who turns the country around ready to war to epic changes in history.
Hilary won the Man Booker Prize, and is shortlisted for the Orange Prize for fiction.
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