Wolf Hall

  • Type: Books
  • By: Hilary Mantel
  • Age Category: Adults
  • Genre: Historical Fiction
  • Recommended by: Morgan D.
  • ISBN/UPC: 9780805080681
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A Booker Prize-winning portrait of the man behind the English Reformation

Hilary Mantel’s new Booker Prize-winning novel Wolf Hall tells a familiar story: King Henry VIII is desperate for a legitimate male heir and wishes to dissolve his marriage to Katherine of Aragon in order to marry Anne Boleyn. In the process of doing this, he becomes head of the Church of England, severing his nation’s ties with the Catholic Church. These events have been retold countless times, most recently in fluffy historical dramas about interpersonal conflict within the Tudor court. Wolf Hall is another book entirely, focusing on the convoluted and brutal political machinations that resulted in the English Reformation. This political history is given to us through the eyes of Thomas Cromwell, the poor blacksmith’s son who grew up to become one of the most powerful political figures in England. As Mantel presents him to us, Cromwell was a man of the times that he helped to create: he is "at home in courtroom or waterfront, bishop's palace or inn yard. He can draft a contract, train a falcon, draw a map, stop a street fight, furnish a house and fix a jury." Wolf Hall is told in the present tense, at ground level, and the focus never wavers from Cromwell’s fascinating person, so much so that it often seems to have been written in the first person. Mantel has patched up a well-worn era in history, making it heftier and sturdier that it was before.