Wolf Hall

Hilary Mantel

Wolf Hall
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Wolf Hall

Hilary Mantel

Winner of the Man Booker Prize 2009

The first book in Hilary Mantel’s award-winning Wolf Hall trilogy, with a new cover design to celebrate the publication of the much anticipated The Mirror and the Light.

In Wolf Hall, one of our very best writers brings the opulent, brutal world of the Tudors to bloody, glittering life. It is the backdrop to the rise and rise of Thomas Cromwell: lowborn boy, charmer, bully, master of deadly intrigue, and , finally, most powerful of Henry VIII’s coutiers.

From one of our finest living writers, Wolf Hall is that very rare thing: a truly great English novel.

‘Every bit as good as they said it was' - Observer

‘Terrific' - Margaret Atwood

‘As soon as I opened this book I was gripped. I read it almost non-stop' - The Times

‘Dizzyingly, dazzlingly good' - Daily Mail

‘Terrifying. It is a world of marvels. But it is also a world of horrors, where screams are commonplace. A feast' - Daily Telegraph  


This brick of a book comes with a royal family tree and two-page cast of characters, but don’t expect a standard historical blockbuster from Hilary Mantel. Whilst Wolf Hall revisits very thoroughly explored Tudor territory, traditional villain Thomas Cromwell is Mantel’s hero of choice. The son of a blacksmith, Cromwell was Cardinal Wolsey’s right hand man, then chief legal head-kicker for Henry VIII. He survives a brutal childhood to become an international jack of all trades and staunch family man: secular, intelligent and powerfully ambitious. His sleekness is in contrast to a dishevelled, emotionally and spiritually brutal Thomas More. At court, Anne Boleyn calculates her career while a pale Jane Seymour watches from the shadows. No heaving bosoms here. The whole book is about the acquisition and loss of power: of present and future queens, the monarchy and the church.

The true winners are the financial centres of Europe. Mantel’s writing is so good it demands frequent pauses for re-reading. Her bone dry character observations are often very funny, and she handles a mass of historical detail lightly but with absolute conviction. Wolf Hall doesn’t provide any surprise endings, but it is a supremely enjoyable journey.

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