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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 (3363 )
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  •  
    Craig San Antonio, TX, United States 01-19-13
    Craig San Antonio, TX, United States 01-19-13 Member Since 2011
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    "A Love Letter to Cromwell"
    What did you like best about Wolf Hall? What did you like least?

    If you hate Thomas More, you'll love this book. If you love Thomas Cromwell you'll also love this book. It is better read than heard, although the reader does an excellent job. It's just the nature of the narrative that makes listening pretty tedious, mainly because you must concentrate very hard in order to catch many of the transitions from subject-to-subject, person-to-person and place-to-place that happen so quickly it's like trying to follow the trail of a dog with firecrackers tied to its tail (something, in the spirit of Mantel's story, that Thomas More surely would have done to some poor dog if he'd had access to firecrackers at the time; then he would have taken the dog into his house where he would have whipped it mercilessly with his own scourging crop before drawing-and-quartering it and then burning it at the stake - all of this inside his house, except maybe the burning). Meanwhile, Cromwell would be out somewhere forming the first chapter of the ASPCA. Since I don't have a dog in the More-Cromwell fight, I really don't care what anyone thinks of either one of them, but it is a little irritating when an author finds it necessary to make one person a perfect villain in order to make another a perfect hero. Where's the ambiguity that is supposed to be essential to all serious fiction? Some reviewers have said that the book is peppered with humor, and I did smile a couple of times. Yet, alas, I was so busy straining to follow the story's transitions that I missed the funny parts or was simply too tired to laugh.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Silvia Oakland, CA, USA 01-04-13
    Silvia Oakland, CA, USA 01-04-13 Member Since 2006
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    "Crafty Cromwell and the Queen"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    If you love history and are fascinated by the players, read this outstanding .novelization of Cromwell's rise to power in Henry VIII's court


    What other book might you compare Wolf Hall to and why?

    Pillars of the earth by Ken Follet shares many of the same characteristics. Both books examine the uses and abuses of power by both secular and religious people and institutions. The authors weave facts into rich and complex fictions.


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

    Slater added verbal nuances that reflect the often cynical and sardonic voices that might have been missed in reading the books.


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

    See the title of this review


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jodie Prospect, KY, United States 12-31-12
    Jodie Prospect, KY, United States 12-31-12 Member Since 2010
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    "Better off watching "The Tudors" on Showtime."
    What disappointed you about Wolf Hall?

    Because I have loved watching "The Tudors" on Showtime and the movie "The Other Boleyn Girl," I was eager to listen to Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies. Ugh. Was I ever disappointed. This book is boring and tells too much from Thomas Cromwell and other characters I couldn't care less about.

    The book introduces Jane Seymour from Wolf Hall but never fully develops her character. Not even in the sequel, Bring Up the Bodies, so what was the point....

    The heart of that time was Henry and Anne, who just perched on the periphery of this book.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Boulder, CO, United States 12-29-12
    Mark Boulder, CO, United States 12-29-12 Member Since 2014
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    "Extraordinary"
    What made the experience of listening to Wolf Hall the most enjoyable?

    The depth of history here is extraordinary. You feel like you are there. I did struggle a little with the sheer volume of characters (many of whom had titles and names that changed!) but learnt to just let the story flow over me and concentrate on Cromwell.Some have commented on the present tense as being a strange choice but I liked it - in fact I didn't really notice it thinking about it there is an immediacy about it. A sense that this is some fusty old history.A wonderful listen. I'm looking forward to the next two in the series - even though one is written yet!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sarah Hayward, CA, United States 12-26-12
    Sarah Hayward, CA, United States 12-26-12 Member Since 2012
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    "I expected more..."

    I have been a fan of stories about the Tudors, but this one left me wanting more.

    First of all, unless you are fully familiar with all the key players in that part of history, then you are out of luck in terms of really understanding and visualizing the characters. I thought the character development was lacking - in most cases you didn't know what anyone looked like, what they sounded like, etc.

    I also felt like both the story and narration didn't have a good flow. There weren't a lot of highs and lows; just a steady, monotonous description of the political dealings inside the Tudor household from the prospective of Cranmer. There were many times throughout the listening that I couldn't tell when one chapter had ended and the other one started - even at the end I felt like "wait, that was it?... okay..."

    Don't get me wrong, this author is obviously talented and people smarter than me have given her awards for this piece of work, so there's obviously something to it. I'll just say that if you are looking for a good story to entertain you in your free time, this probably isn't what you're looking for. If you are a huge fan of the Tudors, know the era inside and out, and just want some further insight from the prospective of Cranmer - by all means, dig in.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jaime AUSTIN, TX, United States 12-24-12
    Jaime AUSTIN, TX, United States 12-24-12 Member Since 2017
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    "Amazing performance"
    What did you like best about this story?

    Even though it is a story familiar to most, the perspective of Cromwell gives Henry VIII and his break from Rome a new twist. Cromwell is so clever, ambitious and flawed that he reminds me of one of my favorite fictional characters - Tyrion Lannister.


    What about Simon Slater’s performance did you like?

    One of the best performances. With so many characters to keep track of, Simon Slater does a wonderful job of making each voice distinct and genuine.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Sure -but way too long. Despite it's length, I was sad when it was over.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scott 12-20-12
    Scott 12-20-12
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    "Had to bail out"

    Maybe if I had unlimited time and patience I could have stuck it out, but after over an hour of listening it was too frustrating. I couldn't understand what was going on, who was talking or even when it was conversation. The narrator was annoying because he over-acted.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer Morrison, CO, United States 12-18-12
    Jennifer Morrison, CO, United States 12-18-12 Member Since 2007
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    "Not my Cup of Tea"

    Without a clear understanding of all the intrigues of Henry VIII, I found this book very hard to follow and understand.

    I gave it several hours, but it just did not hold my attention.

    Although the narrator gets good reviews, I found many of his voices to be so similar that I wasn't sure who was talking.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Connie Okemos, MI, United States 12-11-12
    Connie Okemos, MI, United States 12-11-12 Member Since 2010
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    "Maybe a great book, hard to follow the narrative"
    What did you love best about Wolf Hall?

    I always love to read about the intrigue of the British monarchy but this is too hard to follow.


    Would you recommend Wolf Hall to your friends? Why or why not?

    My husband is reading this book on his IPad and I am listening to it on my IPad. We both find it hard to follow because the different characters are not easily identified when they are speaking - more the style of writing than the fault of the reader.


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

    No


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Teresa Okemos, MI, United States 12-09-12
    Teresa Okemos, MI, United States 12-09-12 Member Since 2007
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    "Everything I didn't know about the Boleyn story"

    There's been a great deal in recent media about Henry VIII and Ann Boleyn, and I thought I'd heard and read enough to last me a lifetime. But I heard Hilary Mantel interviewed on Fresh Air and she sounded so intelligent and spoke in such an interesting way about the women in her books, that I thought I'd given them a try. Lucky me! I learned more than I could have imagined about the people who played their large and tragic parts in the drama of Henry and Ann. But this is a book about Thomas Cromwell in particular--only a name to me until now. Fascinating and wonderful read/listen! You won't be disappointed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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