Wolf Hall

Wolf Hall

In the ruthless confines 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 verging on sinking into a chaos 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.

There will be few novels this year as good as this one.

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 a style that would enthrall the historian as well as the casual reader, Hilary Mantel presents a picture of a half-made society on the verge of change, where individuals fight or embrace their fate with passion and courage. With an 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. 

What we say,

Brilliant story telling

What the others say:

“The story of Cromwell’s rise shimmers in Ms. Mantel’s spry intelligent prose…[Mantel] leaches out the bones of the story as it is traditionally known, and presents to us a phantasmagoric extravaganza of the characters’ plans and ploys, toils and tactics.”Washington Times

“Historical fiction at its finest, WOLF HALL captures the character of a nation and its people. It exemplifies something that has lately seemed as mythical as those serpent princesses: the great English novel.”Bloomberg News

“This is in all respects a superior work of fiction, peopled with appealing characters living through a period of tense high drama . . . There will be few novels this year as good as this one.”Library Journal, starred review

“Mixing fiction with fact, Mantel captures the atmosphere of the times and brings to life the important players.”Publishers Weekly