Having absolutely loved the 'Wolf Hall', I have expected this book with a mix of excitement and trepidation, and must say that it is absolutely fantastic. I love the way the story is told as perceived by Cromwell and I also loved some original twists in what has now become a very familiar tale (thanks to Philippa Gregory and 'The Tudors').
The narrator is perfect. I've enjoyed every minute of listening to this book!
As in its predecessor (Wolf Hall), Mantel uses Thomas Cromwell to view the unfolding of critical history - the unravelling of the second marriage of Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn. In Cromwell, Mantel re-creates the most fascinating of characters - a consummate man of the world who skilfully negotiates narrow and dangerous paths along the corrupt and unsteady cliffs of the English court. A certain weariness and cynicism can be detected in Cromwell's armour in this second volume of the trilogy-to-be as the compromises of principle heap up. One can only applaud this repeat achievement of massive research presented apparently effortlessly.
The narrator was perfect for the book.
Brilliant. Just an excellent story and what's more, it actually happened.
Read the other one too - just as good.
The accents, the intonation and the style were excellent.
Henry of course!
A must read for anyone who loves a good story.
Removed me from the 21st century and dumped me in the 16th using brilliant characterisation and imagery.
Enthralling all the way through
Insightful exploration all the way though.
Major and minor characters are both fascinating.
Loved "Wolf Hall" but this sequel is even more enthralling. Dreaded ending the experience. Once finished, I played it all over again. Hilary Mantel's talent is frightening. The narrator, Simon Vance, absolutely nails it. His Henry VIII makes me feel I know him ........which is a worry.
Eclectic mixer of books of my youth and ones I always meant to read, but didn't.
After I finished reading Wolf Hall I had to deliberately stop myself from simply reading this sequel. Perhaps that was a bit indulgent, but it did mean that I was looking forward to this with great anticipation - all positive. I guess I was a bit disappointed when I began to listen.
In part it was because Simon Vance was different in his reading of Cromwell. Henry's voice too had changed. Queen Anne's accent had changed. What was going on? Vance is better than that, I thought. I can be a bit slow sometimes. Then it dawned on me! Of course the voices were different. The characters were different, so why wouldn't the voices be different.
This is a different Cromwell from the one of humble beginnings as a blacksmith's son and then climbing the greasy power pole. Here, he is almost atop of the pole; at the height of his persuasive powers. Mocking Machiavelli as an amateur, avenging his patron and mentor's tormentors; reaping the ultimate revenge on each of the "four paws"and repaying the Queen's jealous dismissal of him in cold,calculating steel. Here is a man, a lawyer, a statesman to be reckoned with. And with that reckoning comes a new surety. He is starting to sound a bit more like Thomas More. He is behaving a bit more like a king. The stage is set now for the ultimate confrontation - king against king-maker. I really can't wait for the final chapter.
I loved the subtlety of this book. Maybe I'm reading too much into it and the change of voice. Maybe it is just a good yarn. But I don't think so. It's much, much better than that. In my opinion, a deserved second time winner of the Man-Booker. Readers of great books should not be disappointed.
Yes, factually interesting - want to keep reading, sorry it ended. Will read more Mantel books.
Very well written, great story. The characters are well developed and believable.
The story picks up from where wolf hall ends, so it is worth reading both in sequence to enjoy the context.
However, by the end of the book I was ready for something lighter.
I would have liked the book to end with a final note on how life ended for Thomas Cromwell and his family but I guess that will likely be the next book.
Rich in detail and imagery, a good historical hit.
A beautifully written evocation of life, politics and intrigue in the court of King Henry VIII as Anne Boleyn falls out of royal favour. A worthy Booker prize winner.
A more in-depth look at a particular passage of time from Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall.
The slow build-up to Anne's execution as she waits in the tower will live in my memory
Thomas Cromwell, consummate politician
I enjoyed this 2nd book about Thomas Cromwell more than the first book as the author's writing of dialogue was clearer. Hilary Mantel deserved the Booker Prize for this one. She is able to transport you into the court of Henry the 8th and she knows how to flesh out her characters. The reader was fine. Highly recommended. I am looking forward to the final book in this trilogy.
Accurate Fascinating Exciting
Execution of Anne Bolyn
First meeting with the jester who plays an old beggar and tricks Cromwell to employ him.
Buy it is a great read, particularly as there will be a further book in the trilogy.