Wolf Hall
by Hilary Mantel and Simon Slater

Overview -

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 power

England in the 1520s is a heartbeat from disaster. If the king dies without a male heir, the country could be destroyed by civil war.  Read more...

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More About Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel; Simon Slater

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 power

England 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.

  • ISBN-13: 9781427210166
  • ISBN-10: 1427210160
  • Publisher: MacMillan Audio
  • Publish Date: November 2009
  • Page Count: 18
  • Dimensions: 6.16 x 6.36 x 1.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.09 pounds

Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Historical - General
Books > Fiction > Literary

Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 113.
  • Review Date: 2010-01-25
  • Reviewer: Staff

Set aside a full day to savor Simon Slater’s delightful reading of the Booker Prize–winning tale of Henry VIII’s court, seen through the eyes of his adviser Thomas Cromwell. Mantel’s revisionist take turns Cromwell—so frequently vilified as in A Man for All Seasons—into a modern sort of hero, shrewd and adaptable. Slater’s narration is nuanced and precise; he breathes feeling and subtle shades of emotion into every exchange of dialogue. His is a heroic undertaking, and he does admirable justice to Mantel’s lucid prose and juicy plot. A Holt hardcover (Reviews, Aug. 17). (Dec.)

BookPage Reviews

Pat Tillman's sad story

It would be hard to find a newspaper-reading/TV-watching American who didn’t know that Pat Tillman walked away from a promising, highly paid career in the NFL to join the Army in 2002 and that, as an elite Army Ranger, he was killed in Afghanistan in April 2004. The details of his death—that he was killed by “friendly fire” and that the Army and the Bush administration went to great lengths to cover it up, using Tillman as a poster boy and keeping the truth from his family—came out only after years of his mother’s tireless crusade. Soberly narrated by Scott Brick, Jon Krakauer’s Where Men Win Glory  sets the story in the complex context of our post-9/11 entry into two wars and offers a compelling portrait of Tillman, fleshed out by interviews with his family, the wife he so adored, his friends and his comrades, as well as his diaries. The young man who emerges is a strong-willed, natural leader: curious, constantly reading, a true patriot who lived by his own set of rules. In his almost minute-by-minute description of Tillman’s sad, pointless death, Krakauer makes the “fog of war” intensely real, intensely affecting. An American tragedy, eloquently told.

Laugh therapy

If doctors could prescribe laugh therapy, David Sedaris “pills” might prove more popular than Lipitor or an unmentionable beginning with V. In lieu of Sedaris-in-tablet-form and much more fun, we have the real thing, a new, audio-only, previously unreleased recording of the divine David reading his own laugh-out-loud essays. I’d heard some of Live for Your Listening Pleasure on NPR, but that only made it better, like finding a treasured possession that’s been misplaced. Sedaris can tease out the humor in almost any situation and make it more amusing with his unique timing and delivery. And here he lets his fabulous talent for mimicry shine. I recommend keeping a Sedaris CD close at hand for those all-too-common bleak moments when you need a pick-me-up guaranteed to make you smile and see the funnier side of life.

A call to action

In An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore put global warming in the global spotlight. In the next phase, Gore held a series of “Solution Summits” with cutting-edge scientists, policy makers and others to find real solutions to this staggering problem. Those potential solutions are gathered in Our Choice, his new clarion call to all of us, everywhere, to heed the warning and find the moral courage to do what needs to be done.

Audio of the month

Hilary Mantel, author of this year’s Man Booker Prize-winning novel, Wolf Hall, conjures up Henry VIII and his vast embattled court—including Anne Boleyn and, most especially, Thomas Cromwell—so brilliantly, so effectively that, had she been living then, she would probably have been accused of witchcraft. Her ability to get inside the characters in this extraordinary, wonderfully paced saga, to capture their essences, their language, their thoughts and cadences is amazing. And Simon Slater’s reading is equal to Mantel’s masterpiece, his voice shifting to match each speaker, with touches of rough British dialect, German and French accents expertly handled. Cromwell, a man who can “draft a contract, train a falcon, draw a map, stop a street fight, furnish a house and fix a jury,” stars in this pageant of the upheaval caused by Henry’s unrelenting desire to divorce Katherine of Aragon to marry Anne and his unyielding need for a male heir. In tracing Cromwell’s rise from a lowly blacksmith’s son to Henry’s most powerful and trusted aide, Mantel has set a new standard for historical fiction.

BAM Customer Reviews