Winner of the Man Booker Prize 2009
'Lock Cromwell in a deep dungeon in the morning,' says Thomas More, 'and when you come back that night he'll be sitting on a plush cushion eating larks' tongues, and all the gaolers will owe him money.'
England, the 1520s. Henry VIII is on the throne, but has no heir. Cardinal Wolsey is his chief advisor, charged with securing the divorce the pope refuses to grant. Into this atmosphere of distrust and need comes Thomas Cromwell, first as Wolsey's clerk, and later his successor.
Cromwell is a wholly original man: the son of a brutal blacksmith, a political genius, a briber, a charmer, a bully, a man with a delicate and deadly expertise in manipulating people and events. Ruthless in pursuit of his own interests, he is as ambitious in his wider politics as he is for himself. His reforming agenda is carried out in the grip of a self-interested parliament and a king who fluctuates between romantic passions and murderous rages.
From one of our finest living writers, Wolf Hall is that very rare thing: a truly great English novel, one that explores the intersection of individual psychology and wider politics. With a vast array of characters, and richly overflowing with incident, it peels back history to show us Tudor England as a half-made society, moulding itself with great passion and suffering and courage.
©2009 HarperCollins Publishers; (P)2009 HarperCollins Publishers
Although I found Wolf Hall hard going at times and really had to occassionally focus, there were many many moments where I was drawn back in just to relish the prose - the story for me, was secondary - the writing is superb!
This audio has added to my understanding and pleasure in the novel. I found both the abridgment and Dan Stevens' reading true in characterization, narrative voice, and plot. Overall, my already enthusiastic appreciation of Mantel's book was enhanced by this interpretation.
I began this book with the pre-conception that Thomas Cromwell was a deeply unpleasant man and finished it with much respect for a very clever and rather likeable one driven by circumstance. The narration of the abridged version is superb, the characters came alive for me and I cannot wait for the planned second part of this saga - I know the ending but the story has never been so well told.
The delivery by Downton Abbey star, Dan Stevens, was excellent. He managed to differentiate between all the characters so well.
The script was very lively, with lots of speech. I found it too closely edited, at times, and spent too much time rewinding to try and clarify the meaning. For example, many times the narrator said, "He arrived.." or "He said", etc, and it was not clear who the 'he' referred to was. It would have taken up little extra spoken time to say 'Cromwell' or 'Henry' arrived. Apart from that it was great
Hilary Mantel creates a world which I only every considered through the lense of Shakespearean drama, or Shakespearean biopic. The characterisation is believable, thoughtful and consistent. The great names from history lose enough of their shine to become personable, yet also maintain a weight about them that reminds us that these were world-shapers. Historical drama it may be, and so the details to these events are fictional, but a great read (listen).
"Love Henry VIII then you'll love this book"
If you love Henry VII, his wives, Cromwell, More etc then this book is definitely for you. You are transported back into the court of Henry VII and you're invited to take a peek behind the scenes. Who hold the real power in court?
Thoroughly enjoyed this audiobook, very well written and Dan Stevens has to be the best narrator I have listened to, he does the story justice, I felt as though I was actually there amongst these different characters. I would absolutely recommend this audiobook if you're into tudor history.
This is such a good book. I looked forward to it every time. I am waiting for the next (continuation) of this book. You will not regret getting this. Hours of pleasure.
"Historical factfull story of Thomas Cromwell"
It is an excellent book, here well read and certainly well written, the historical detail comes across as correct (I am no scholar of the period however but trust the author), however having ploughed my way through the hours and hours of listening (with much pleasure) I was disappointed that we left the story of Thomas Cromwell well before the end of his life....I don't want to spoil it for any one by giving away detail, but I would have liked to know what happened next.....it did seem a strange place to leave the reader. Perhaps Wolf Hall 2 is to be released?
spectacular I read this over xmas and hated turning the final page so I have now downloaded and I have not been dissapointed
I know I will also hate to finish this a masterpiece
"Warrants all the accolades"
What is there left to say about Wolf Hall? Winner of the Booker prize (like the sequel). It is a novel that actually deserves all the praise heaped on it. I'm not a huge fan of history-based fiction (faction?) but this is terrifically well written and read. I have to say I prefer Dan Stevens elegant narration here to the narration of 'Bodies'. Hopefully they'll bring him back for the third in the trilogy.
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