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Wolf Hall Audiobook
Wolf Hall
Written by: 
Hilary Mantel
Narrated by: 
Simon Slater
 >   > 
Wolf Hall Audiobook

Wolf Hall

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Publisher's Summary

National Book Critics Circle, Fiction, 2010

Man Booker Prize, Fiction, 2009

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 powerEngland 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.

The program includes a pdf containing a cast of characters and family tree.

Download the accompanying reference guide.

©2009 Hilary Mantel; (P)2009 Macmillan Audio

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (3102 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Dorothy Allentown, PA, United States 11-30-12
    Dorothy Allentown, PA, United States 11-30-12 Member Since 2009
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    "Five stars on all counts"
    Where does Wolf Hall rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This is one of the best audiobooks I've listened to because it's such a fascinating, well-written literary achievement. Although exploring the mind and character of Thomas Cromwell, it has much to say to us today about the uses of political power and the clash of government and religion. The book's great strength is giving readers/listeners the view from inside Cromwell's mind---a very intelligent place to be. Hilary Mantel certainly deserved the Booker Prize for this book.


    What about Simon Slater’s performance did you like?

    Simon Slater captures a vast number of characters with his powerful and nuanced narration and he rendered perfectly the humanity and fierce intelligence of Thomas Cromwell, making me realize once again that audiobook narration is a high art that should be honored as such. I like Simon Vance too, but I wonder why Slater is not the narrator on the follow-up book to Wolf Hall, Bring Up the Bodies. In any case, I'll look for Slater's work in the future and I'm grateful to have this one.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Merrie Colorado Springs, Colombia 11-17-12
    Merrie Colorado Springs, Colombia 11-17-12

    I MADE A HUGH ERROR IN PARAGRAPH 3. IT'S PATRICK, NOT PETER. MEA CULPA!!!

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    "Beautifully Written, Historically Accurate"
    Where does Wolf Hall rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    It is equal to my copy of Gustav Flaubert's "Madame Bovary", Mantel being one of the greatest writers of our time.


    What did you like best about this story?

    "Wolf Hall" has a lyrical and deadly style. Ms. Mantel does not, for once, portray Thomas Cromwell as an inky, little slacker, but a full-bodied thinking man of the 21st Century.


    Which character – as performed by Simon Slater – was your favorite?

    Absolutely perfect.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    What moved me the most was Cromwell's tender memories of his lost girls, and his steel eyed interrogation of Thomas More.


    Any additional comments?

    Best book I've had in decades!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pat 11-11-12
    Pat 11-11-12
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    "Hard to Finish"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    It would be difficult to recommend any changes because it earned the Booker Prize. That is a very intimidating award.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    Thomas Cromwell has always intrigued me, but I got tired of him...I am not so intrigued any more


    What does Simon Slater bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    He was the only reason I kept trying to like the book.


    Was Wolf Hall worth the listening time?

    Well, I don't plan to invest the time finishing it.


    Any additional comments?

    Even with Mr. Slater's skills,I i was often baffled about who was talking and what/who they were talking about. This is sometimes a disadvantage in any book with the audio format, as I can't flip back the pages. That said, I probably wouldn't have had the patience to go back and forth in the book, either.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    HOrdover New Hope, PA 11-10-12
    HOrdover New Hope, PA 11-10-12

    Host of CraftLit and Just-the-Books podcasts, editor of What Would Madame Defarge Knit? series, mother of boys, knitter of things, teacher of stuff...

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    "Please God, Let Simon Slater Narrate My Life"
    Where does Wolf Hall rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    One of the best audiobooks I've heard (and I've heard many). There is something inexorable about the movement of this book and this narrator (actually... both Simon Slater and Thomas Cromwell). Something to which we must attend. Something which cannot be denied... and I'm not alone in this, I know.
    Hilary Mantel has done such a service to history, it just makes me want to hug the book.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Cromwell.
    I love the way he growls at the passage of time.


    What does Simon Slater bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    His voice is... very Cromwell-appropriate. It matches his attitude and his life's-story so nicely... while Simon Vance (Bring up the Bodies) does a fine job, his reading suffers by comparison (no fault of his own) bc Slater is so iconically suited to this part.

    If there is a God, s/he will allow Slater to record Bring up the Bodies and all Mantel/Cromwell books which follow...


    If you could take any character from Wolf Hall out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    Cromwell... but I'd want to be sure there was plenty to drink at the dinner. _I_ would need it... I doubt he would.


    Any additional comments?

    The narrative is odd-ish, sure. Mantel's work here is very different from what you'd expect form a Tudor-iffic story... but Slater's voice and Mantel's genius merge here in a grand way to make you ache for a time machine.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Niffer 11-09-12
    Niffer 11-09-12 Member Since 2015
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    "too complicated to follow as an audible book"
    Would you try another book from Hilary Mantel and/or Simon Slater?

    I would definitely try another Hilary Mantel book. I think she is a talented author. This book would be a good reading book, where where the words would get processed. I struggled to keep up with this story because I was constantly trying to figure out who was talking, what was said and where and when was the narration taking place.


    What was most disappointing about Hilary Mantel’s story?

    I felt like I needed to know the story and characters well in order to truly appreciate this story. I watched "The Tudors" so I had some knowledge of the history, but I was still lost.


    What three words best describe Simon Slater’s performance?

    OK, but a difficult book to read because there are so many characters. It was difficult to tell who was talking. And the narration was fast so by the time I might have figured out who was talking, I had missed the essence of what they had said.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    disappointment because I like period literature, but this seemed like a bunch of jumble.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Deborah 11-03-12
    Deborah 11-03-12
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    "Brilliant historical fiction"

    Confusing at first, with so many characters not always identified clearly, but the author has brought the era and people to life brilliantly. Narrator is excellent. Can't wait to listen to Bringing Up the Bodies.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Peter FORT WORTH, TEXAS, United States 10-08-12
    Peter FORT WORTH, TEXAS, United States 10-08-12 Member Since 2012
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    "political intrigue, yes please."
    What did you love best about Wolf Hall?

    All I can say is wow at how this story develops and yet stay incredibly interesting throughout.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Devra 09-25-12
    Devra 09-25-12
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    "Interesting history made personal and memorable"
    What did you love best about Wolf Hall?

    This was a turning point in English history, and in fact in the history of Christianity. Mantel makes the character personal and makes Cromwell likeable, which one would not expect from other history texts. I recommend this book strongly.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Cromwell. It is his story.


    If you could rename Wolf Hall, what would you call it?

    Cromwell, the man behind the legend.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert El Dorado Hills, CA, United States 09-17-12
    Robert El Dorado Hills, CA, United States 09-17-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "What a grinding book Sucked out my soul."
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    A rewrite would have helped immensly. The subject matter of Henry, Cromwell, Wolsey and the court is intriguing but this book failed.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Simon Slater?

    Someone less into the drama of it, more in the style of a reader than an actor. The narrator was distracting.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    AShirley Springfield, IL 09-15-12
    AShirley Springfield, IL 09-15-12 Member Since 2009
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    "Might be better on paper or reader than audio"
    Where does Wolf Hall rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I loved everything about this book, but had to listen to some (most) parts over and over again to catch the details. There are many characters to keep track of and, it seems, more than the average use of pronouns. I often had difficulty discerning who "he" was, and whether "he" was thinking or speaking. In audio the reader also does not have the benefit of paragraphs and other kinds of visual breaks in the text and on the page to convey a change in scene. I think all these distinctions would have been easier to make if I had the print right in front of me. Despite all that it was well worth the read. I may download it onto my reader and try again.


    Have you listened to any of Simon Slater’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I've never heard Simon Slater before, but he does an excellent job of narrating and using different voices to help distinguish between characters. Despite this great effort, however, I still struggled to sort out at times who was who.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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