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.
English author, Dame Hilary Mary Mantel, was born in Glossop, Derbyshire in 1952. She attended St. Charles Roman Catholic primary school in the mill village of Hadfield. Her parents were actually Irish descent, but were born in England. Mantel's father divorced her mother and left when she was eleven years old. She never saw him again. Her mother did not marry, but spent her life with Jack Mantel, from whom Hilary took his name as her surname. Her schooling ended with a bachelor's degree in Jurisprudence in 1973. She then worked in social work in a geriatric hospital.
Her books include historical fiction, including a trilogy about Thomas Cromwell's rise to power under King Henry VIII. They were Wolf Hall, Bring Up the Bodies, and The Mirror and the Light (which was just released in the UK in March of 2020). She twice won the Booker Award.
In keeping with her unconventional life, Hilary married Gerald McEwen, a geologist in 1972, and they lived in exotic places such as Botswana and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. They were divorced after he gave up geology to be her business manager, but then remarried.
Enjoyed Mantel's Bring up the Bodies and Wolf Hall, so expected to like this as well. Problem is, the reader has one simpering high voice for all female characters, a French accent for Eustace Chapuys that reminds the reader of comic book French characters (think Peppy LePeau), and other oddities. So, I cannot give a high rating to an otherwise enjoyable book.
Get 5% off your total order by adding 3 or more audiobooks from Wolf Hall Trilogy