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Wolf Hall  : Winner of the Man Booker Prize 2009 - Hilary Mantel

Wolf Hall

Winner of the Man Booker Prize 2009

Paperback Published: 4th March 2010
ISBN: 9780007230204
Number Of Pages: 400

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Winner of the 2009 Man Booker Prize.

Go backstage during the most dramatic period in English history: the reign of Henry VIII.

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, suffering and courage.

Industry Reviews

'This is a beautiful and profoundly human book, a dark mirror held up to our own world. And the fact that its conclusion takes place after the curtain has fallen only proves that Hilary Mantel is one of our bravest as well as our most brilliant writers.' Olivia Laing, Observer 'As soon as I opened the book I was gripped. I read it almost non-stop. When I did have to put it down, I was full of regret that the story was over, a regret I still feel. This is a wonderful and intelligently imagined retelling of a familiar tale from an unfamiliar angle.' The Times 'Mantel is a writer who sees the skull beneath the skin, the worm in the bud, the child abuse in the suburbs and the rat in the mattress...Turning her attention to Tudor England, she makes that world at once so concrete you can smell the rain-drenched wool cloaks...This is a splendidly ambitious book...I wait greedily for the sequel, but "Wolf Hall" is already a feast.' Daily Telegraph 'A compelling and humane investigation of the cost of ambition.' Guardian 'Mantel's ability to pick out vivid scenes from sources and give them life within her fiction is quite exceptional...Vividly alive.' London Review of Books 'A stunning book. It breaks free of what the novel has become nowadays. I can't think of anything since "Middlemarch" which so convincingly builds a world.' Diana Athill

the story flows more like a conversation.


Every night before going to bed, having short travel to the Tudor times



Know about the Tudors? A new perspective


Want a new perspective on Tudor history? This account is written in the 'voice' of Henry VIII's Chancellor and hatchet man Thomas Cromell, a man who rose from nothing to a position of power in the kingdom. It presents a new perspective on the Tudor monarchy and one of western history's most-married monarchs. I initially found the first few pages confusing, but persevered and it is worth it. Worth reading again and again - there are many layers to this story. A fascinating and beautifully-written book.

Melbourne, AU




Just loved these books

Emerald Aus


The novel I enjoyed the most in 2013


I loved enjoyed this novel, on multiple levels. Historically detailed and insightful; wonderful characters (I'm now a T Cromwell fan); and clever use of language. I can't normally read in a moving vehicle, but that was not going to stop me from consuming this page turner. Have given as a gift three times, & recipients have loved it too. My favourite Hilary Mantel yet. If you love language, buy & read this book!

Brisbane, AU


The terrible times of the Tudors!


I had read this before and found the second reading equally enthralling. Tudor England can be compared to Stalinist Russia in its spy forces and fear of informers and reprisals.

South Australia


Enjoying this read


I'm about halfway through this book and am enjoying it - well-written and with just enough detail on surroundings and costume to allow the reader's imagination to furnish the rest. However - I wouldn't recommend the book to anyone who isn't already reasonably familiar with accurate Tudor history, as there isn't much explanation of events leading to the time when the book is set.

Hobart, AU


Irritating use of the narrative present


It was full of interesting insights into the period and the real-life historical characters. As previously noted, the use of the present-tense narrative made it heavy going, and I had to constantly refer to previous paragraphs to understand just which character was speaking.

Adelaide Australia


Very disappointed with this book


The above comments said it all



Difficult to follow


I found Wolf Hall difficult as I couldn't follow who was talking, or to whom the content related a great deal of the time. Hence I gave up as there are so many other wonderful books to get through. As a consequence I haven't yet read "Bringing up the Bodies". I am also a fan of Phillipa Gregory who writes in a more fluid way.



Wolf Hall

3.8 9


ISBN: 9780007230204
ISBN-10: 0007230206
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 400
Published: 4th March 2010
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 19.6 x 11.9  x 4.9
Weight (kg): 0.47

Hilary Mantel

About the Author

A Man Booker Prize Winner

Hilary Mantel was born in Glossop, Derbyshire, England on 6 July 1952. She studied Law at the London School of Economics and Sheffield University. She was employed as a social worker, and lived in Botswana for five years, followed by four years in Saudi Arabia, before returning to Britain in the mid-1980s. In 1987 she was awarded the Shiva Naipaul Memorial Prize for an article about Jeddah, and she was film critic for The Spectator from 1987 to 1991.

Her novels include Eight Months on Ghazzah Street (1988), set in Jeddah; Fludd (1989), set in a mill village in the north of England and winner of the Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize, the Cheltenham Prize and the Southern Arts Literature Prize; A Place of Greater Safety (1992), an epic account of the events of the French revolution that won the Sunday Express Book of the Year award; A Change of Climate (1994), the story of a missionary couple whose lives are torn apart by the loss of their child; and An Experiment in Love (1995), about the events in the lives of three schoolfriends from the north of England who arrive at London University in 1970, winner of the 1996 Hawthornden Prize.

Her recent novel The Giant, O'Brien (1998) tells the story of Charles O'Brien who leaves his home in Ireland to make his fortune as a sideshow attraction in London. Her latest books are Giving Up the Ghost: A Memoir (2003), an autobiography in fiction and non-fiction, taking the reader from early childhood through to the discoveries in adulthood that led her to writing; and Learning to Talk: Short Stories (2003).

Hilary Mantel's novel Beyond Black (2005) tells the story of Alison, a Home Counties psychic, and her assistant, Colette. It was shortlisted for a 2006 Commonwealth Writers Prize and for the 2006 Orange Prize for Fiction. Her latest novel Wolf Hall (2009) won the 2009 Man Booker Prize for Fiction.

Visit Hilary Mantel's Booktopia Author Page