National Book Critics Circle, Fiction, 2010
Man Booker Prize, Fiction, 2009
Tudor England. Henry VIII is on the throne, but has no heir. Cardinal Wolsey is charged with securing his divorce. Into this atmosphere of distrust comes Thomas Cromwell - a man as ruthlessly 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.
©2009 Hilary Mantell; (P)2009 WF Howes Ltd
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"Great book - dreadful narration"
Having listened extensively to (brilliant) Timothy West reading Trollope and being a great fan of audio books, I was really looking forward to listening to Wolf Hall - but I am finding the narration awful. It must be me, as many of your reviewers are saying how excellent Simon Slater is and how he brings the characters to life. I disagree, and actually, at times, I think his interpretation of the characters is too black and white. For instance Thomas More sounds like a complete villain and I wondered if his conversations could be interpreted more as dry wit said with a glint in his eye. Wolsey and several others sound like pantomime dames and well, I'm tempted to give it up and download the abridged version by Dan Stevens to finish it. I love the way the book is written and at times, it must be said, Simon Slater does a good job, but I almost dread Wolsey coming into the plot again with that simpering voice as it's ruining it for me. You couldn't get Timothy West or even Dan Stevens to record the unabridged version could you? If so I'll definitely download and listen again.
I don't normally listen to fiction audiobooks, I tend to read fiction and listen to non fiction.
This book was a brilliant exception. The story is obviously fabulous, the narration is excellent. This really is a first class audiobook and I can think of few better.
I love what I have read of Hilary Mantel but I had to give up with the audio version near the beginning. It's too fast and the lines too throw away. You can't get to know the characters through what they say (and this is the way you have to get to know them in this book) because the reader is rushing on and injecting naturalism into what is a highly structured and unusual way of narrating. The result is just confusion.
"Couldn't follow the narration"
This is obviously a very good historical novel and I am disappointed that I wasn't able to get into it because I couldn't follow the narration. I was constantly confused as to who was speaking at the time - not helpful when the story already has a complex web of characters. I returned my purchase and think I will rather read the book as a hard copy.
Brilliant writing and excellent narration. The only audiobook I have been happy to repeat-listen straight after finishing the first time.
"Fantastic attention to detail"
I had been warned that this book was difficult to get into and decided to listen to it rather than read it. I certainly found there were a lot of characters to contend with and with so many being named Thomas it took some time to sort them all out. However, the attention to detail and the wonderful variety of voices used by Simon Slater soon had me enthralled. This really brought the whole period to life, you could smell the river, taste the food and feel the fear in the air. Highly recommended.
"Historical writing at its best"
What can I say about this amazing book that hasn't already been said? I can just add my voice to all the rest - yes it really is as compelling as everyone says.
"MY First Audiobook"
Wolf hall was my first audiobook from Audible in february 2010.
The hardback book from the library was taking me so long to read as it is huge and I am short-sighted!
I was totally absorbed in the story and attention to historical research and detail.
The narration by Simon Slater is fluid and compelling and i just had to keep listening!
The story also took me on a physical journey of exploration, visiting the area of Cromwell's home and the Austin Friars ( now the Dutch Church and Drapers hall in the City of London). A lso to Sutton House in Hackney and Standen Lordship, homes of Ralph Sadlier, who has a story all of his own!.
This book will remain a favourite and stays on my iPod.
"Excellent narration and fascinating writing"
Wolf Hall is a fascinating novel, illustrating life and politics in the time of Henry VIII and the rise of Thomas Cromwell. The wonderful narration makes this a must-listen!
"To the heart of the Tudors"
Simon Slater brilliantly brings this Booker prize-winning book to life. He's a stunning narrator and it's a shame he doesn't narrate Mantel's second book in the sequence. I love his portrayal of the characters and they ring utterly true for me. Arrogance, intrigue, humour, sorrow - it's all there - with a great human touch.
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