The clarity of the writing and the complexity of the plot.
There are many. From the opening sentence.
Not one character - all the characters. So rarely does each character in a book remain compelling but this book accomplished that for me. Cromwell, Henry and Anne Boleyn but so does the minor character of Henry's daughter, Mary and the Boleyn relatives who step in and out of the spotlight. They all have their time in the sun and there are no wasted words.
History and humanity and romance and a bit of the heroic make it for quite a complete recipe.
The hero's ability to be loyal and self-serving and idealist without becoming absurd is enthralling.
Cromwell and More in the Tower, discussing the survival of the self and the agony of physical death, make you wish to have been there--well, far removed from the agonies of course, but into the discussion
Thomas Cromwell of course is the acknowledged hero. Thomas More is rather memorable too, while the other characters do not begin to compare
The narrator was perfect. Usually I read history books, where the narrator is less important (although the wrong one can be a pain). Compared to the few novels I read, Mr. Slater is a star.
Say something about yourself!
Visual, compelling, fascinating
For some reason this book reminds me of Saturday by Ian McEwan for the way it brings you into the life and thought of one man.
I tried listening to this book twice in the past, and had to put it aside because my mind wandered, and when it came back, I couldn't figure out where I was and lost interest.
I'm putting in the extra effort this time due to the soon to be available sequel, Bring Up the Bodies (not sure when it will be available on Audible), which see on Amazon has had good reviews for the audio version.
This time, I'm careful to listen when I can give this my full attention, which means that sometimes I have to switch to something else that's not possible. Giving it a careful listen, I agree with past reviewers who give it five stars. This performance is a little hard to follow, but some of that could be due to the text, and reviewers of the sequel say that Bring Up the Bodies is easier to follow than this book. I'm looking forward to reading that as soon as I am done with Wolf Hall. Highly recommended to anyone who can give this their undivided attention!
Really, could I read yet another novel about this time period and these people and enjoy it? Apparently yes. This is more "literary" than the Bolyn Girls books, which made me enjoy it more. I had a bit of trouble with the narration at first, but I think really it was a quirk about the way the book was written that was hard to translate for the spoken word. The story itself is told by Thomas Cromwell, but it is all written in the third person. So it was hard to tell when "he" meant Cromwell or the other person that Cromwell was talking to or about, because you would have expected it to be "I". I had to go back and re-listen to a few sections at the beginning but once I got used to that it didn't bother me. I really enjoyed the book told from the "villian's" perspective, because, of course, real people are more complicated than simply being good or evil.
Simon Slater's excellent reading
Thomas Cromwell; a man of wit and wisdom
Henry VIII's Wise Man
Lover of Good books
I found the narrator's portrayal of Thomas Moore distasteful and extreme. I shall have to do more research before I determine if Moore was really as brutal and snide as Mantel alludes. I found it difficult to determine who was speaking at times and the cast of characters was difficult to keep track of. I'd have preferred to read the book prior to listening to the audio so that I'd have brought greater understanding to the listening.
A fascinating look at a complex and brutal era. The writer makes fine use of language to describe life and portray character's we know by name.
Pause more often rather than rush from one character to the next where, though he did a good job with voice differentiation, I found it difficult to track who was speaking. The one character you could never mistake was Moore, and I'd have preferred less of the narrator's interpretive skill.
Yes. Most likely.
narrator ir outstanding; viewpoint re-makes Cromwell into a pragmatist instead of the self-righteous man often seen in other portraits.
I was nervous about listening to Wolf Hall rather than reading it because the book has a huge cast of characters. However, I decided to give it a try because I enjoyed his voice from the sample on Audible.com. Little did I know how lucky I was. Simon Slater made each character he voiced come alive with a vibrancy that I'm not sure I would've gotten just from reading the text. The voice for Thomas More in particular gave such dimension to the character. It was one of those books that I was devastated to finish because I was enjoying it so much. Simon Slater was in no small part responsible for that. I hope Audible.com offers more of his narrations.
This is one of the best books I've ever listened to.
Good historical fiction, such as books by Robert Harris. The story moves fast, the author understands the period well and helps you understand their motivations.
Simon Slater's narration is excellent, in this fast moving story with only subtle clues that author is changing scenes or even time periods Mr. Slater's intonation and very distinctive voices for each character helps you follow the storyline.
The storytelling and many of the characters are very witty. The author helps you understand the complicated motivations of different characters at a time when decisions were being made concerning succession in England and that ultimately ended up in the creation of the Anglican church, separating from the Pope and the Catholic Church. The book and narrator to a great job of making this story interesting and educational.
This is not an easy read or listen, however, if you take the time and make the effort (and download the cast of characters) you will not be disappointed. The story is complex, the language demanding. Mantel's style is unique in the way it weaves the story of Cromwell over his lifetime from poverty to wealth and power within the courts and accounting houses of Europe. Fascinating characters, informative asides and humor make this period come to life in a way I've never experienced before. It is no wonder this book won the Mann-Booker prize. Slater has done a great job - not a simple task given the enormous cast of characters.