Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Wolf Hall

Hilary Mantel
I was delighted to read this morning that Hilary Mantel had won the Booker Prize for her historical novel, Wolf Hall. This is a fascinating book, imaginative, thoughtful, very well-researched, beautifully written and utterly compelling. It is the story of Thomas Cromwell and his rise to favour at the court of Henry VIII, whose Chief Minister he became from 1532 - 1540.
Hilary Mantel takes an unusual view of Cromwell, who is generally depicted as being cold and ruthless. In her book he becomes very much the "hero", a just and humane man, while Thomas More, later regarded as a saint, is the cruel and unreasonable one. It is a challenging book, 700 pages long, and needs concentration, but even for those who are not usually readers of historical fiction, it is a great book by a fine writer.

Thomas Cromwell 1485 - 1540 , by Hans Holbein the Younger

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