Jonathan's Reviews > Wolf Hall

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
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's review
Sep 08, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: fiction, history
Read from August 25 to September 06, 2010

Hillary Mantel's tour de force looks at Thomas Cromwell, an adviser to King Henry VIII. The antagonist to A Man for All Season's Thomas More, the story told from Cromwell's perspective is very interesting, a tale of ambition and loyalty in a complex, quickly-changing world. There is no antagonist here, More is shown as principled if not exactly ethical, and the King is mercurial but his desire for a son is presented sympathetically, a legitimate response to the War of the Roses, over the throne, which brought the king's father to power.

Mantel does an excellent job presenting very complex sensibilities, politics, and social interactions. The sheer number of characters is confusing (the list at the front of the book runs four pages), but the attention to detail, here and in other aspects of the book ranging down to the weather's effect on an execution, makes it an engrossing and very believable read.

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