Wolf Hall

A Novel
Mantel, Hilary (Book - 2009 )
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Wolf Hall

Item Details

In the ruthless arena of King Henry VIII's court, only one man dares to gamble his life to win the king's favor and ascend to the heights of political power England in the 1520s is a heartbeat from disaster. If the king dies without a male heir, the country could be destroyed by civil war. Henry VIII wants to annul his marriage of twenty years, and marry Anne Boleyn. The pope and most of Europe opposes him. The quest for the king's freedom destroys his adviser, the brilliant Cardinal Wolsey, and leaves a power vacuum. Into this impasse steps Thomas Cromwell. Cromwell is a wholly original man, a charmer and a bully, both idealist and opportunist, astute in reading people and a demon of energy: he is also a consummate politician, hardened by his personal losses, implacable in his ambition. But Henry is volatile: one day tender, one day murderous. Cromwell helps him break the opposition, but what will be the price of his triumph? In inimitable style, Hilary Mantel presents a picture of a half-made society on the cusp of change, where individuals fight or embrace their fate with passion and courage. With a vast array of characters, overflowing with incident, the novel re-creates an era when the personal and political are separated by a hairbreadth, where success brings unlimited power but a single failure means death.
Authors: Mantel, Hilary, 1952-
Title: Wolf Hall
a novel
Publisher: New York :, Henry Holt and Co.,, 2009.
Edition: 1st U.S. ed.
Characteristics: xvii, 532 p. :,geneal. table ;,25 cm.
Notes: "A John Macrae book."
Local Note: 6 9 15 16 17 18 27 33 53 57 60 67 75 76 81 84 112 122 129 133 138 143 148 150 151 152 153 159 160 167 172 175 182 193 198 203 210 211 216 222 226 228 242 243 244 245 250 262 263 264 268 270 272 274 276 278
ISBN: 9780805080681
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Report This Aug 29, 2013
  • susankent rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Mantel really got me caught up in this fascinating period in British history. She brought to life the English reformation, the character of Thomas Cromwell (of whom I knew nothing), Henry and of course the Boleyn sisters. Not normally a series reader, I can't wait to read the sequel!

Report This Aug 23, 2013
  • modestgoddess rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Enjoyed this so much. Very very interesting window onto Tudor England in all its magnificent variety, from the very poor to the richest and most powerful in the land. Nice to see the Henry VIII saga through the eyes of the influential Cromwell - makes me want to read A Man for All Seasons again, and possibly skim through The Other Boleyn Girl again as well. Half a star off for the author's confusing habit of referring to Cromwell as "he" throughout, only occasionally clarifying with "he, Cromwell" - a nasty trick I can only forgive her for because overall it is so very very good. Not sure what purpose it served, actually: so readers wouldn't have to see the word "Cromwell" on the page, over and over again? or to try to bring us very close to the protagonist? It wound up being an irritant in an otherwise wholly enjoyable book.

I’m only halfway through this book and I have to say I’m not finding it terribly riveting. Perhaps it is because I’m not profoundly interested in Henry VIII or the tactics of that society. When it comes to historical novels I tend to lean toward the Canadian or North American pioneer stories. I’m also finding the author’s style a bit confusing and disorganized. For example, at the beginning we read about Cromwell’s abusive upbringing. He escapes, but in the next section he is back in England as a prominent, well-to-do lawyer. It would have been interesting to know how he got to that point, or did I miss something? This book is scheduled to be reviewed by the Book Club at Central Presbyterian Church on September 29, so I will finish it. It should be a very interesting discussion!

Report This Jul 29, 2013
  • julia_sedai rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

I enjoyed this a lot but I think that you have to be very interested in the time period to keep reading. I'll read the sequels for sure.

Report This Jul 05, 2013
  • pagetraveler rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Good good, but very challenging read.

Report This Jun 30, 2013
  • sess430 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Hilary Mantel deserves all of her writing rewards and more. "Wolf Hall" brings to life the tumultuous English history of the early 1500s as related by Thomas Cromwell's perspective. The book of 532 pages is primarily written in dialogue, which is amazing. Yes, like other reviewers have said, it is a challenge to keep the characters straight at the beginning, but stick with it & you'll be rewarded by a satisfying read (I had the most trouble with the different references to the 2 Dukes; Norfolk and Suffolk). Near the end of the book, I re-read several times the final powerful words of Thomas More. His portrait & also Cromwell's, both painted by Hans Holbein, are displayed in the Frick Museum in NYC. You can view them online. This is historic fiction at its best; highly recommended.

Report This Jun 23, 2013
  • martins_mom rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Dense reading, but if you have the stamina to keep going (helpful list of characters at the front was much consulted) you will be rewarded by this picture of English history and politics in the time of Henry VIII.

Report This Jun 22, 2013
  • WVMLBookClubTitles rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

In this 2009 winner of the Man Booker Prize, Mantel fictionalizes the life of Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII’s go-to man for his dirty work. Cromwell (1485-1540) is the crafty architect of Henry VIII’s annulment from Catherine of Aragon, the execution of Sir Thomas Moore, Henry’s schism with the Church of Rome, and the Reformation. Mantel delves deeply into the psychology of the man behind the throne, painting a portrait of a brilliant schemer determined to rise above his circumstances by dint of his own wits and the strength of his own resolve.

Report This May 28, 2013
  • Jane60201 rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

I did not like this book as well as "Bring up the Bodies."--maybe I've had too much English history lately.

Report This Apr 09, 2013
  • Zoomerofall rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

It's true that characters and events are sometimes hard to follow, but even if you miss some of that this book is worth reading for its gorgeous writing. Mantel's style glitters and is sometimes breathtaking. The character Cromwell is one of the most complex and finely rendered I have encountered.

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Report This Jul 05, 2013
  • pagetraveler rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

pagetraveler thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 16 and 99

Report This Jan 30, 2011
  • Tw1ggy rated this: 3 stars out of 5.


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Report This Nov 25, 2013
  • grannyat55 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Very well written. But for someone who gets to read just 30 or so minutes at bedtime, it was too long - nearly 700 pages!

Report This Jul 05, 2013
  • pagetraveler rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Based on English history and the time of the Tudors. Takes the point of view of Thomas Cromwell to tell the story of Henry the VIII and his 1st and 2nd wives and his relationship with the church.


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Report This Jan 30, 2011
  • Tw1ggy rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Sexual Content: This title contains Sexual Content.

Report This Jan 30, 2011
  • Tw1ggy rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Violence: This title contains Violence.

Report This Jan 30, 2011
  • Tw1ggy rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Coarse Language: This title contains Coarse Language.


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Report This Jul 17, 2012
  • mudflapflossy rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

You learn nothing about men by snubbing them and crushing their pride. You must ask them what it is they can do in this world, that they alone can do.


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Report This May 03, 2011
  • caseopia rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

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