You are here

Wolf Hall

Wolf Hall

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 oppose him. The quest for the petulant king’s freedom destroys his advisor, the brilliant Cardinal Wolsey, and leaves a power vacuum and a deadlock.

Into this impasse steps Thomas Cromwell. Son of a brutal blacksmith, a political genius, a briber, a bully and a charmer, Cromwell has broken all the rules of a rigid society in his rise to power, and is prepared to break some more. Rising from the ashes of personal disaster - the loss of his young family and of Wolsley, his beloved patron - he picks his way deftly through a court where ‘man is wolf to man’. Pitting himself against parliament, the political establishment and the papacy, he is prepared to reshape England to his own and Henry’s desires.

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 and suffering and courage.

About the Author

Dame Hilary Mantel

Dame Hilary Mantel CBE was born in 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.
Her books include Eight Months on Ghazzah Street (1988); Fludd (1989) winner of the Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize, the Cheltenham Prize and the Southern Arts Literature Prize; A Place of Greater Safety (1992), winner of the Sunday Express Book of the Year award; A Change of Climate (1994); An Experiment in Love (1995), winner of the 1996 Hawthornden Prize; Beyond Black (2005), shortlisted for a 2006 Commonwealth Writers Prize and for the 2006 Orange Prize for Fiction and longlisted for the Man Booker Prize; and Wolf Hall (2009), winner of the Man Booker Prize.  In 2012 she released a sequel to Wolf HallBring Up The Bodies, which won the 2012 Man Booker Prize.

In 2006 she was also awarded a CBE.

Image of Hilary Mantel