16th century England is not England without The Tudors. That is for sure. We are all aware of the fact. Of Henry VIII and his six queens and perhaps what happened to each of them. The famous way to remember what happened to them is: “Divorced Beheaded Died. Divorced Beheaded Survived”. This is the best way to remember what happened to each of them.
Hilary Mantel’s magnum opus though – is a trilogy not of Henry VIII but one of the people in his counsel – Thomas Cromwell and how he grew in the King’s court. The book begins in 1500 and ends in 1535. It is all about Cromwell and how he rose to become Cardinal Wolsey’s right-hand man, and how he oversaw the King’s divorce to Catherine of Aragon. Mantel takes into account everything ever said and written about Cromwell and gives us her well-researched and highly entertaining version. A read not to be missed. Also, do check out the sequel to this one: Bring Up the Bodies.
Wolf Hall is an award winning historical novel set in the period between 1500 and 1535. It is a fictionalised biography detailing Thomas Cromwell's ruthless rise to power in King Henry VIII’s court.
Summary Of The Book
Wolf Hall takes the reader to England of the 1520s, when it is was on the brink of a political crisis. A threat of civil war looms in case the king dies without a successor. At the same time, Henry VIII wishes to annul his 20 year old marriage and marry Anne Boleyn. Cardinal Wolsey is his chief advisor, entrusted with the onerous task of securing the king's divorce, which is vehemently opposed by the Pope and most of Europe. The difficult circumstances that he finds himself in destroy him completely.
Taking advantage of the uncertain atmosphere comes in Thomas Cromwell, a blacksmith’s son, Wolsey's beloved patron and a political genius who would do just about anything to quench his thirst for power. The loss of his family and the downfall of Wolsey prepares him to break all the rules and manipulate everything that comes in his way of shaping England as per his own and Henry's wishes. His reforms are carried out against the parliament, the Pope, the entire political establishment and under a king who swings between moments of amorous passions and brutal anger.
Wolf Hall is the winner of the Man Booker Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction in the year 2009. In the following year, it won the Walter Scott Prize for historical fiction. In 2012, BBC decided to adapt it for BBC Two.
About Hilary Mantel
Hilary Mantel is an award winning English writer.
Her other works include Eight Months on Ghazzah Street, Beyond Black, An Experiment in Love and Fludd.
Hilary Mantel was born on 6 July, 1952, in Derbyshire, England. She attended the London School of Economics and the University of Sheffield and studied Law. Before returning to Britain in the mid-1980s, she worked as a social worker for nine years in Botswana and Saudi Arabia. During that time she started writing her first novel. Her books have won a number of awards like the Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize, Sunday Express Book of the Year and the prestigious Man Booker Prize. In 2006, she was honoured with the CBE medal. Mantel writes on a range of topics and in various forms such as essays, historical fiction, short stories and personal memoirs.