Wolf Hall

A Novel

Mantel, Hilary, 1952-

(Book - 2009)
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
Wolf Hall
Baker & Taylor
Assuming the power recently lost by the disgraced Cardinal Wolsey, Thomas Cromwell counsels a mercurial Henry VIII on the latter's efforts to marry Anne Boleyn against the wishes of Rome and many of his people, a successful endeavor that comes with a dangerous price. By the Hawthornden Prize-winning author of Eight Months on Ghazzah Street. 40,000 first printing.

McMillan Palgrave

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.

Publisher: New York : Henry Holt and Co., 2009
Edition: 1st U.S. ed
ISBN: 9780805080681
Branch Call Number: FIC M
Characteristics: xvii, 532 p. : geneal. tables ; 25 cm.


From Library Staff

The 2009 Booker winner is the first in a series of novels (the second, Bring Up the Bodies, has just been published) presenting the life of Tudor statesman Thomas Cromwell. With remarkable immediacy, Mantel inhabits the restless, brilliant, ambitious mind of her subject, so that we see the events... Read More »

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Dec 22, 2014
  • Chapel_Hill_KenMc rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Well deserving of the Booker prize, Mantel paints a very detailed, fully formed picture of the religious upheaval of Tudor England under Henry VIII. Brilliant dialogue and character interaction make the reader wonder if Mantel is in possession of a time machine. The story unfolds without exposition, told solely by the narrative itself.

Nov 23, 2014
  • jtinsf rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

Ever know someone who walks up to you and starts talking as if the two of you were in the middle of a conversation? That's what I feel like when I read Hilary Mantel. She's not a easy read by any means. However, about three-fourth of the way through the book I start to enjoy it. Helpful hint: Any time she uses the pronoun "he" and it not obvious to whom she is referring, it is usually Cromwell, her main character.

Nov 12, 2014
  • nerowolfgal rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Wonderful, brilliant writing! It is a sheer pleasure to read and savour. The book is written about some of the pivotal moments of English history from the viewpoint of Tomas Cromwell. He is (as he was historically) a brilliant clear-sighted man, a financial genius who spoke at least seven languages and had contacts and respect all over Europe. He was the son of a drunken blacksmith who rose to the highest rank and power of his time and was surrounded by nobles who despised his birth, yet he flourished. He was also a very clear, pragmatic thinker who examined his own mind and other people with total honesty. I must say though, if you do not have basic knowledge of the people and issues at the court of Henry the 8th, he gives no background, as the whole book is seen through his eyes and thoughts. A quick read of Wikipedia should be all you need.

Jun 06, 2014
  • Eosos rated this: 1 stars out of 5.

I just couldn't finish this.

The writing style was frustratingly difficult to follow and the story endlessly boring.

May 12, 2014
  • debwalker rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Update May 12, 2014: Damian Lewis will play Henry VIII in the BBC adaptation of Hilary Mantel's novels Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, directed by Peter Kosminsky. Cast includes Mark Rylance as Thomas Cromwell, Mark Gatiss (Stephen Gardiner), Anton Lesser (Thomas More) and Jonathan Pryce (Cardinal Wolsey). BBC News reported that the "much anticipated six-part miniseries, to be aired on BBC2 next year, has begun filming in both Bristol and the Wiltshire National Trust properties of Great Chalfield Manor and Lacock Abbey."


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!

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.

Aug 07, 2013

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!

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.

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

Good good, but very challenging read.

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

Sexual Content: This title contains Sexual Content.

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

Violence: This title contains Violence.

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

Coarse Language: This title contains Coarse Language.


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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

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


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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!

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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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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app07 Version nodvandig Last updated 2015/03/05 16:13