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.
©2009 Hilary Mantel; (P)2009 Macmillan Audio
All I can say is wow at how this story develops and yet stay incredibly interesting throughout.
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.
Cromwell. It is his story.
Cromwell, the man behind the legend.
A rewrite would have helped immensly. The subject matter of Henry, Cromwell, Wolsey and the court is intriguing but this book failed.
Someone less into the drama of it, more in the style of a reader than an actor. The narrator was distracting.
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.
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.
In-depth view of the Thomas Cromwell.
His voices were astounding.
A very long, but compelling, book.
Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall is a rich and rewarding novel with a somewhat challenging narrative technique that puts you sometimes inside the protagonist's head in 3rd person and sometimes outside, dialogue that can be difficult to decipher at times. Slater's performance give each of the many characters a distinctive voice, which helps enormously in enjoying the clever exchanges and asides of these rich characters and brings them to life marvelously. I am currently rereading and listening to Wolf Hall simultaneously for maximum enjoyment.
I rarely give up when starting a new book, but this was just too difficult to follow. I really wanted to like this book. I am an avid Tudor-history reader, but this was just too hard to get in to. I hate that I couldn't keep going, but there's just too many other books other there that i want to start to keeping trying at this one.
A different writer could have made this story better. Hilary Mantel's writing style is nothing short of confusing. She jumps from place to place, present to past, character to character in such a way that it leaves you constantly wondering what is going on. Having multiple characters with the same name didn't help either. One almost needs to be a scholar in Tudor history in order to follow the story.
Professional, versatile, entertaining. He did a great job with pathetic material.
I have not heard him before, but Simon Slater does an excellent job of giving a wide bredth of characters distinctive voices, so the intricate story is always easy to follow. I am disappointed to see that he is not narrating the next book in the trilogy.
Some action in the first three hours.
In my alloted time(3hrs) to get into a story, the narrative lacked vigor, action, and was a plodding, boring story. Historical novels is my usual fare, but not this one. I assume I lacked patience on this one, May try to listen again later. Presently, I have other enjoyable storiies to hear,
I did not stick around long enough to know.
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