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Wolf Hall: A Novel Audio CD – Audiobook, CD, Unabridged
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Top Customer Reviews
Even the title of the book is more suggestive than straight-forward. Wolf Hall is the seat of the Seymour clan, but no scene in the book takes place there. The Seymours make cameos, and Cromwell takes note of them, but Wolf Hall is a distant building for most of the book. Instead, it represents Cromwell's forward thinking. He is grateful to the Boleyns for his rise in court and favor, but he does not allow himself to depend on them. He tells his son, "...it's all very well planning what you will do in six months, what you will do in a year, but it's no good at all if you don't have a plan for tomorrow." And Cromwell always, always has a plan for tomorrow.
I am not sure if I fully believe in Mantel's reconstruction of Cromwell as a man who wanted only to reform England, and was so forward-thinking in his ideals.Read more ›
I'm not an expert on the history from the time of Henry the 8th though it's certainly one of the most heavily mined topics in fiction. I began this book with only a basic knowledge of the history and was not familiar with the protagonist of the story Thomas Cromwell.
The novel has a short preamble from Thomas Cromwell's youth and then traces his rise from a common son of a blacksmith to one of the most powerful men in England. Through Cromwell, we experience Henry, Anne Boleyn, Thomas More, Thomas Wolsey and many, many other characters of the time. The main historical focus of the novel is the events leading to Henry's second marriage and the extreme philosophical and popular debate and passion that it causes.
The author deals with the events in great detail and focuses both on the debate, the reaction of the people and the intricate political wheeling and dealing. Mantel immerses us in the time and explains all sides very thoroughly. While I've mentioned that it's detailed, it doesn't really lag as for a 600+ page hisorical novel, it moves very quickly.
Thomas Cromwell is the star of the novel and through force of will, financial competence, good judgement and political savvy, he rises to power and wealth. He moves from poor child to a man with significant contacts and talent in the mercantile world to top advisor to Lord Chancellor Thomas Wolsey to ultimately Master Secretary to Henry the 8th.Read more ›
In Wolf Hall, Hilary Mantel takes a slice of Tudor history and allows the reader to view it through the eyes of Thomas Cromwell, who rose through life from his origins as the son of a blacksmith to become the chief minister of King Henry VIII. From his humble origins, he manages to become an important advisor to the ill-fated Cardinal Wolsey, who, as everyone knows, started his downhill slide because of his inability to provide Henry VIII with a Church-sanctioned divorce from Katherine of Aragon. It is, ironically, Wolsey's fall that begins Cromwell's rise. Cromwell survives by his own maxim: "inch by inch forward. Never mind if he calls you an eel or a worm or a snake. Head down, don't provoke him." (4) His fortune is on the ascendant throughout the story, but as everyone also knows, fortune is fleeting, and especially in this time largely at the whim of the king.
Mantel gives Cromwell, who is often vilified in many Tudor history accounts, a human face. While he's busy rewriting life at court to suit his majesty and most often, to suit himself and his own desires for reform, Cromwell also is shown to be a family man and a man with a heart who cares about those less fortunate than himself.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Such a marvelous way to learn the history immediately before Queen Elizabeth I. And also to understand what the American colonists were worried about when they wrote our... Read morePublished 1 hour ago by LimaBN
This is a revelation A totally new way of writing stories. I want every book Hilary Mantel has. written. .Published 2 hours ago by Per Lundkvist Anker
Decided to get the books after seeing the first season of Wolf Hall on PBS. Mantel's 'dissection' of Cromwell's character is very interesting, far more interesting than his... Read morePublished 22 hours ago by CalNative
I'm familiar with the story this series was based on, both from an historical view point and from historical fiction. No real surprises. Read morePublished 23 hours ago by SandraR
Utter trash. Written as a rough draft film script in a journalistic style. An editor should have reduced it to a fifth of its current length and then have told the woman to... Read morePublished 1 day ago by PATRICK
Couldn't put it down, but be prepared to see standard historical perspective turned upside down.Published 1 day ago by Virginia Powell Cowles
The only reason I wouldn't give this book 5 stars, is it's a little long. Overall it is very interesting. Having seen the PBS miniseries, I could hear Cromwell's voice. Read morePublished 3 days ago by Brayer Queen
I'm giving this a one based on the fact that a novel that won the Booker Prize and the National Book Critics Award for Fiction should not be this poorly written, poorly paced and... Read morePublished 4 days ago by Thomas Busillo
This is a rich historical novel that tells a most fascinating story of King Henry and his servant Thomas Cromwell. Read morePublished 4 days ago by Veppers