✪✪✪ Why Did Thomas Cromwell Come To Power

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Why Did Thomas Cromwell Come To Power

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The Life And Death Of Thomas Cromwell

The ideology was embodied in New France through the establishment under Royal Charter of a number of corporate trading monopolies including La Compagnie des Marchands, which operated from to , and the Compagnie de Montmorency, from that date until These were the first corporations to operate in what is now Canada. In England, mercantilism reached its peak during the Long Parliament government — Mercantilist policies were also embraced throughout much of the Tudor and Stuart periods, with Robert Walpole being another major proponent. In Britain, government control over the domestic economy was far less extensive than on the Continent , limited by common law and the steadily increasing power of Parliament.

With respect to its colonies, British mercantilism meant that the government and the merchants became partners with the goal of increasing political power and private wealth, to the exclusion of other European powers. The government protected its merchants—and kept foreign ones out—through trade barriers, regulations, and subsidies to domestic industries in order to maximize exports from and minimize imports to the realm.

The government had to fight smuggling, which became a favourite American technique in the 18th century to circumvent the restrictions on trading with the French, Spanish, or Dutch. The goal of mercantilism was to run trade surpluses to benefit the government. The government took its share through duties and taxes, with the remainder going to merchants in Britain.

The government spent much of its revenue on the Royal Navy , which both protected the colonies of Britain but was vital in capturing the colonies of other European powers. British mercantilist writers were themselves divided on whether domestic controls were necessary. British mercantilism thus mainly took the form of efforts to control trade. A wide array of regulations were put in place to encourage exports and discourage imports. Tariffs were placed on imports and bounties given for exports, and the export of some raw materials was banned completely.

The Navigation Acts removed foreign merchants from being involved England's domestic trade. British policies in their American colonies led to friction with the inhabitants of the Thirteen Colonies , and mercantilist policies such as forbidding trade with other European powers and enforcing bans on smuggling were a major irritant leading to the American Revolution. Mercantilism taught that trade was a zero-sum game, with one country's gain equivalent to a loss sustained by the trading partner. Overall, however, mercantilist policies had a positive impact on Britain, helping to transform the nation into the world's dominant trading power and a global hegemon.

Mercantilists believed that to maximize a nation's power, all land and resources had to be used to their highest and best use , and this era thus saw projects like the draining of The Fens. The other nations of Europe also embraced mercantilism to varying degrees. The Netherlands, which had become the financial centre of Europe by being its most efficient trader, had little interest in seeing trade restricted and adopted few mercantilist policies. The Habsburg Holy Roman Emperors had long been interested in mercantilist policies, but the vast and decentralized nature of their empire made implementing such notions difficult. Some constituent states of the empire did embrace Mercantilism, most notably Prussia, which under Frederick the Great had perhaps the most rigidly controlled economy in Europe.

Spain benefited from mercantilism early on as it brought a large amount of precious metals such as gold and silver into their treasury by way of the new world. In the long run, Spain's economy collapsed as it was unable to adjust to the inflation that came with the large influx of bullion. Heavy intervention from the crown put crippling laws for the protection of Spanish goods and services.

Mercantilist protectionist policy in Spain caused the long-run failure of the Castilian textile industry as the efficiency severely dropped off with each passing year due to the production being held at a specific level. Spain's heavily protected industries led to famines as much of its agricultural land was required to be used for sheep instead of grain. Much of their grain was imported from the Baltic region of Europe which caused a shortage of food in the inner regions of Spain. Spain limiting the trade of their colonies is one of the causes that lead to the separation of the Dutch from the Spanish Empire.

The culmination of all of these policies lead to Spain defaulting in , , and During the economic collapse of the 17th century, Spain had little coherent economic policy, but French mercantilist policies were imported by Philip V with some success. Russia under Peter I Peter the Great attempted to pursue mercantilism, but had little success because of Russia's lack of a large merchant class or an industrial base.

Mercantilism was the economic version of warfare using economics as a tool for warfare by other means backed up by the state apparatus and was well suited to an era of military warfare. A number of wars, most notably the Anglo-Dutch Wars and the Franco-Dutch Wars , can be linked directly to mercantilist theories. Most wars had other causes but they reinforced mercantilism by clearly defining the enemy, and justified damage to the enemy's economy.

Mercantilism fueled the imperialism of this era, as many nations expended significant effort to conquer new colonies that would be sources of gold as in Mexico or sugar as in the West Indies , as well as becoming exclusive markets. European power spread around the globe, often under the aegis of companies with government-guaranteed monopolies in certain defined geographical regions, such as the Dutch East India Company or the Hudson's Bay Company operating in present-day Canada. With the establishment of overseas colonies by European powers early in the 17th century, mercantile theory gained a new and wider significance, in which its aim and ideal became both national and imperialistic.

The connection between imperialism and mercantilism has been explored by Marxist economist and sociologist Giovanni Arrighi , who analyzed mercantilism as having three components: "settler colonialism, capitalist slavery, and economic nationalism," and further noted that slavery was "partly a condition and partly a result of the success of settler colonialism. In France, the triangular trade method was integral in the continuation of mercantilism throughout the 17th and 18th centuries. Mercantilism as a weapon has continued to be used by nations through the 21st century by way of modern tariffs as it puts smaller economies in a position to conform to the larger economies goals or risk economic ruin due to an imbalance in trade.

Trade wars are often dependent on such tariffs and restrictions hurting the opposing economy. The term "mercantile system" was used by its foremost critic, Adam Smith , [41] but Mirabeau — had used "mercantilism" earlier. Mercantilism functioned as the economic counterpart of the older version of political power : divine right of kings and absolute monarchy. Scholars debate over why mercantilism dominated economic ideology for years. The second school, supported by scholars such as Robert B. Ekelund , portrays mercantilism not as a mistake, but rather as the best possible system for those who developed it.

This school argues that rent-seeking merchants and governments developed and enforced mercantilist policies. Merchants benefited greatly from the enforced monopolies, bans on foreign competition, and poverty of the workers. Governments benefited from the high tariffs and payments from the merchants. Whereas later economic ideas were often developed by academics and philosophers, almost all mercantilist writers were merchants or government officials. Monetarism offers a third explanation for mercantilism. European trade exported bullion to pay for goods from Asia, thus reducing the money supply and putting downward pressure on prices and economic activity.

The evidence for this hypothesis is the lack of inflation in the British economy until the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, when paper money came into vogue. A fourth explanation lies in the increasing professionalisation and technification of the wars of the era, which turned the maintenance of adequate reserve funds in the prospect of war into a more and more expensive and eventually competitive business. Mercantilism developed at a time of transition for the European economy.

Isolated feudal estates were being replaced by centralized nation-states as the focus of power. Technological changes in shipping and the growth of urban centers led to a rapid increase in international trade. Another important change was the introduction of double-entry bookkeeping and modern accounting. This accounting made extremely clear the inflow and outflow of trade, contributing to the close scrutiny given to the balance of trade. Prior to mercantilism, the most important economic work done in Europe was by the medieval scholastic theorists.

The goal of these thinkers was to find an economic system compatible with Christian doctrines of piety and justice. They focused mainly on microeconomics and on local exchanges between individuals. Mercantilism was closely aligned with the other theories and ideas that began to replace the medieval worldview. The mercantilist idea of all trade as a zero-sum game, in which each side was trying to best the other in a ruthless competition, was integrated into the works of Thomas Hobbes. This dark view of human nature also fit well with the Puritan view of the world, and some of the most stridently mercantilist legislation, such as the Navigation Ordinance of , was enacted by the government of Oliver Cromwell.

Jean-Baptiste Colbert 's work in 17th-century France came to exemplify classical mercantilism. In the English-speaking world, its ideas were criticized by Adam Smith with the publication of The Wealth of Nations in and later by David Ricardo with his explanation of comparative advantage. Mercantilism was rejected by Britain and France by the midth century. The British Empire embraced free trade and used its power as the financial center of the world to promote the same. The Guyanese historian Walter Rodney describes mercantilism as the period of the worldwide development of European commerce, which began in the 15th century with the voyages of Portuguese and Spanish explorers to Africa, Asia, and the New World.

A number of scholars found important flaws with mercantilism long before Smith developed an ideology that could fully replace it. Critics like Hume, Dudley North and John Locke undermined much of mercantilism and it steadily lost favor during the 18th century. In , Locke argued that prices vary in proportion to the quantity of money. Locke's Second Treatise also points towards the heart of the anti-mercantilist critique: that the wealth of the world is not fixed, but is created by human labor represented embryonically by Locke's labor theory of value.

Mercantilists failed to understand the notions of absolute advantage and comparative advantage although this idea was only fully fleshed out in by David Ricardo and the benefits of trade. Hume famously noted the impossibility of the mercantilists' goal of a constant positive balance of trade. Conversely, in the state exporting bullion, its value would slowly rise.

Eventually, it would no longer be cost-effective to export goods from the high-price country to the low-price country, and the balance of trade would reverse. Mercantilists fundamentally misunderstood this, long arguing that an increase in the money supply simply meant that everyone gets richer. The importance placed on bullion was also a central target, even if many mercantilists had themselves begun to de-emphasize the importance of gold and silver. Adam Smith noted that at the core of the mercantile system was the "popular folly of confusing wealth with money", that bullion was just the same as any other commodity, and that there was no reason to give it special treatment.

They believe Mun and Misselden were not making this mistake in the s, and point to their followers Josiah Child and Charles Davenant , who in wrote, "Gold and Silver are indeed the Measures of Trade, but that the Spring and Original of it, in all nations is the Natural or Artificial Product of the Country; that is to say, what this Land or what this Labour and Industry Produces. The first school to completely reject mercantilism was the physiocrats, who developed their theories in France. Their theories also had several important problems, and the replacement of mercantilism did not come until Adam Smith published The Wealth of Nations in This book outlines the basics of what is today known as classical economics.

Smith spent a considerable portion of the book rebutting the arguments of the mercantilists, though often these are simplified or exaggerated versions of mercantilist thought. Scholars are also divided over the cause of mercantilism's end. Those who believe the theory was simply an error hold that its replacement was inevitable as soon as Smith's more accurate ideas were unveiled. Those who feel that mercantilism amounted to rent-seeking hold that it ended only when major power shifts occurred. In Britain, mercantilism faded as the Parliament gained the monarch's power to grant monopolies. While the wealthy capitalists who controlled the House of Commons benefited from these monopolies, Parliament found it difficult to implement them because of the high cost of group decision making.

Mercantilist regulations were steadily removed over the course of the 18th century in Britain, and during the 19th century, the British government fully embraced free trade and Smith's laissez-faire economics. On the continent, the process was somewhat different. In France, economic control remained in the hands of the royal family, and mercantilism continued until the French Revolution. In Germany, mercantilism remained an important ideology in the 19th and early 20th centuries, when the historical school of economics was paramount. Adam Smith rejected the mercantilist focus on production, arguing that consumption was paramount to production. He added that mercantilism was popular among merchants because it was what is now called rent seeking.

Keynes also noted that in the early modern period the focus on the bullion supplies was reasonable. In an era before paper money , an increase in bullion was one of the few ways to increase the money supply. Keynes said mercantilist policies generally improved both domestic and foreign investment—domestic because the policies lowered the domestic rate of interest, and investment by foreigners by tending to create a favorable balance of trade.

Keynes also supported government intervention in the economy as necessity, as did mercantilism. As of [update] , the word "mercantilism" remains a pejorative term, often used to attack various forms of protectionism. Paul Samuelson , writing within a Keynesian framework, wrote of mercantilism, "With employment less than full and Net National Product suboptimal, all the debunked mercantilist arguments turn out to be valid. Some other systems that copy several mercantilist policies, such as Japan's economic system , are also sometimes called neo-mercantilist. Samuelson wrote that China was pursuing an essentially neo-mercantilist trade policy that threatened to undermine the post— World War II international economic structure.

Murray Rothbard , representing the Austrian School of economics, describes it this way:. Mercantilism, which reached its height in the Europe of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, was a system of statism which employed economic fallacy to build up a structure of imperial state power, as well as special subsidy and monopolistic privilege to individuals or groups favored by the state. Thus, mercantilism held exports should be encouraged by the government and imports discouraged. In specific instances, protectionist mercantilist policies also had an important and positive impact on the state that enacted them. Adam Smith, for instance, praised the Navigation Acts , as they greatly expanded the British merchant fleet and played a central role in turning Britain into the world's naval and economic superpower from the 18th century onward.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Economic policy emphasizing exports. Branches and classifications. Concepts, theory and techniques. Critique of political economy Economic systems Economic growth Market National accounting Experimental economics Computational economics Game theory Operations research Middle income trap Industrial complex. By application. Notable economists. Glossary Economists Publications journals.

Economic systems. Economic theories. Related topics and criticism. Anti-capitalism Capitalist state Consumerism Crisis theory Criticism of capitalism Critique of political economy Cronyism Culture of capitalism Evergreening Exploitation of labour Globalization History History of theory Market economy Periodizations of capitalism Perspectives on capitalism Post-capitalism Speculation Spontaneous order Venture philanthropy Wage slavery. Capitalism Socialism. By ideology. By coordination. By regional model. Common ownership Private Public Voluntary. Property types. Other types. Main article: Pochteca. Main article: Colbertism. Main article: Economic history of Canada. Thus if Portugal specialized in wine and England in cloth, both states would end up better off if they traded.

An example running throughout the book is of a nun on the continent who makes prophecies against the king. She is referred to variously as "the Maid" or "the nun. I have to assume that this was an attempt to reflect her diminishing status. When she may have been making what people believed to be legitimate holy prophecies, she had titles such as "the nun" , and when she was discredited she was given back her simple lawful name. But it is the author who has done this!

It is too obscure a point, if indeed it is deliberate, for a reader to easily pick up, especially when there are a plethora of other characters to sort out. Add into the formula a Thomas, Tom or "he" - or instances where the character is simply called by their title, "Duke" , and the reader is lost in clouds of deception. Indeed it is almost as if Mantel has used obfuscation as a deliberate way to misinform and disguise who is talking, who the action is about, much as the Tudor times were about misinformation, deception and disingenuousness.

Hans Holbein - the painter - I was inordinately pleased to work that one out for myself without referring to "the list"! Statues, not statues. It is the body of God, it is not the body of God, it is sort of the body of God. It is his blood, it is not his blood. Priests may marry, they may not…. The crucifix we creep to on our knees and reverence with our lips or the crucifix we chop it up and burn it in the public square…. Luther refers to "His Disgrace, the king of England. Most of it is conversation, and in a reasonably modern style at that - not a "forsooth" in sight. But Mantel's use of punctuation leaves a lot to be desired.

Her overuse of the colon and semi-colon is frankly irritating. Why not start a new sentence occasionally? Plus the inverted commas or speech marks seem to be used in a very ad hoc fashion. The convention is that if inverted commas are not used when a character speaks, then this is to convey internal dialogue - the character is thinking. There are many instances in Wolf Hall where this is not so. The use of inverted commas seems completely random, which slows down the pace of reading and only serves to confuse the reader even more.

The novel would have benefited from rigorous editing. The first half drags. Dozens of character are thrown into the mix and we get no sense of definition, or attempt at characterisation. Minor characters could easily be substituted for one another - they are so sketchily drawn. Women feature hardly at all, except in Cromwell's immediate family, and the many men drift in and out of the narrative in their wooden fashion as the reader desperately looks back to try and sort out who they all are.

It does not help that the events are not chronological. Cromwell's memories frequently take on a life of their own and divert the "action". There are indications of an editor's hand however. The "cast list" is an obvious example. An editor probably informed the author that nobody except a Tudor scholar would make head or tail of the characters without one. If it was not Mantel's idea, then that goes some way to explaining why it is not fully comprehensive.

Maybe a glossary would have helped further. Another anomaly which reeks to me of editorial suggestion, is the way the novel starts. The violence of Cromwell's father towards him is described in a gratuitously detailed and graphic way. Welcome to the novel. Is this what it will be like all the way through? Well no, actually. The only other instance of such an unpleasant descriptive account is the burning of a woman a "Loller" accused of being a heretic. This is put in presumably to show the influence on a young Cromwell as presumably the opening section was - part of what made him the man he was.

But this is an extremely long novel, and it is inappropriate to start a dry, lifeless tome with such an atypical style of writing. Unless, of course, the author has been told to "Start with something exciting. Get the reader interested! The reader should be swept up in the events, not have to plod through dull prose and linguistic contrivances. I do wonder what other authors would have made of such promising material. Tracey Chevalier would have made you care about each and every one of the characters, however despicable or duplicitous they may have been.

The "cast list" would have been considerably pruned. Maybe Peter Ackroyd would have included more characters, but he would not have obscured who he was actually talking about! Neither would Simon Winchester, who would play up the consciences and feelings of the main players. Hilary Mantel has not decided how to focus her novel, or to give it any sense of purpose. She merely chronicles events from The early years, when Cromwell was a youngster, are sketchily drawn. Most of the narrative is concentrated on the last 3 or 4 years leading up to the "Act of Supremacy" in , whereby Henry was stated to be the Supreme Head of the Church of England. It was a carefully worded document not granting him the title but acknowledging an established fact.

It thereby gave him the power - and enabled him him to justify the action to himself - to divorce Katherine of Aragon in order to marry Anne Boleyn, in the hope that she would produce a male heir. These were momentous times, set against a backdrop of similar riots and Reformations across Europe. These latter stages of the novel are more gripping, but as a whole it does not really succeed on any level except to present facts, and that would be better done in a textbook. Thomas Cromwell was evidently a "soldier of fortune" who was able to succeed in his life by variously using his skills of diplomacy to turn to any tide. Henry calls him "as cunning as a bag of serpents" to his face.

And as Cromwell himself says to his son at one point, "It's all very well planning what you will do in six months what you will do in a year, but it's no good at all if you don't have a plan for tomorrow. An heir to the throne could at the king's whim be redesignated a bastard. It should have been a rollicking read. And Thomas Cromwell - or should I term him, "He, Thomas" - should have come across as a mesmeric figure, not the ambiguous shadow the reader is left with. This is an ambitious novel about the era, which disappointingly turns out to be a bit of a damp squib. View all 91 comments. View all 67 comments. Aug 22, Ahmad Sharabiani rated it really liked it Shelves: 21th-century , fiction , literature , historical , british.

In , The Observer named it as one of "The 10 best historical novels". View all 5 comments. Oct 02, Adina rated it liked it Shelves: booker , british , historical-fiction. You already know everything there is to know about the life and deeds of the 2 men and are interested in a beautiful, literary take on the subject? During this period, Henry the VIII becomes obsessed with having a male heir and wants to annul his 20 year marriage in order to have Anne Boleyn as his 2nd wife.

As a result, I had difficulties following the plot and entering the atmosphere of the time. The use of 3rd person and the extremely confusing use of pronoun He tip: it almost always refers to Cromwell did not help to create more intimacy. The 3 stars are due to this mix of feelings. I both felt enticed and annoyed, excited and bored, sometimes all in the same time. I strongly believe that I would have benefited a lot more from this story if I had read other books about this period beforehand.

I researched a lot while reading but that took away from the flow of the reading experience and left me feeling frustrated and dumb. View all 32 comments. I admit to approaching Wolf Hall with a embarrassing lack of knowledge about Thomas Cromwell and the dysfunctional marriages of Henry Vlll, so, with some time on my hands I thought it a good project to finally read this long novel and gain a little historical insight. The novel principally follows the life of Thomas Cromwell, from his rough and ready youth living with his sisters and abusive blacksmith father, to his eventually becoming, arguably, the most powerful man in England.

Thomas Cromwell I admit to approaching Wolf Hall with a embarrassing lack of knowledge about Thomas Cromwell and the dysfunctional marriages of Henry Vlll, so, with some time on my hands I thought it a good project to finally read this long novel and gain a little historical insight. Thomas Cromwell was the ultimate jack of all trades - sometime merchant, lawyer, money market speculator, statesman and chief advisor to the king.

Much of the political intrigue in Wolf Hall concerns the attempts to annul the marriage of Henry to Katherine of Aragon, his first wife, leaving the way open for him to marry Anne Boleyn and in turn facilitating the hope of a male heir. This complicated manoeuvring, in which Thomas Cromwell is central, is set against the background of the theological battle between Catholicism and Protestantism very real and very violent and the tension between the overriding authority of the Roman Catholic Church in Europe and the growing desire of Henry, for Britain to go its own way i. I found Wolf Hall to be beautifully written with some lovely flashes of lyricism, a quiet, wry humour and surprisingly, to have a strong emotion punch.

The descriptions of 16th Century England are colourful and persuasive but the biggest achievement of the novel is the character studies - famous names come to life: The shambling, irritating and obstinate Thomas More - made sadistic by his religion. The fickle, vain and unstable ways of King Henry as he becomes ever more unpredictable. Anne Boleyn with her calculating and cruel ambition. The comedic but nasty bluster of the Duke of Norfolk. Cardinal Wolsey - wise, caring and pompous. Quiet, calm, persuasive, tactical, manipulative, likeable, reasonable and inscrutable. A man relied upon to make things happen but also a details man, a logistical and accounting expert.

I found I was constantly looking up historical detail, kindle in one hand iPad in the other must admit I enjoyed this. He wonders, he thinks, he says etc. This, Mantel argues, makes you feel closer to Cromwell, seeing with his eyes, like a camera on his shoulder. Oh well - I tried! Unfortunately I gave up on this book at page I'm really disappointed that I was unable to get into this book as so many have raved about it. I just found the prose exceptionally dense and confusing. At times I was confused as to who was 'speaking' and couldn't follow it. Oh well View all 35 comments. Shelves: for-the-desert-island. First off, I find the whole notion of the monarchy - any monarchy - absurd. And also, despite being a citizen of a Commonwealth nation with Her Royal Majesty's mug plastered all over my bills and coins, the Union Jack incorporated into my provincial flag, and a mom who dragged me out of bed at 4 a.

I honestly don't remember what kind of history I was taught in school, but the Roy First off, I find the whole notion of the monarchy - any monarchy - absurd. I honestly don't remember what kind of history I was taught in school, but the Royal Lineage aren't you supposed to capitalize everything to do with Them? So - entering this book - tea-soaked brain and lover of the superfluous 'u' in labour, favour, rigour, honour aside - I was a blank slate.

All I know of Henry VIII is that he had and had killed a lot of wives and you need a big ole' turkey leg as a prop if you're planning a Hallowe'en costume. I loved Wolf Hall. And, I'm going to talk about why, but let me start with the caveat that Simon E's review which convinced me to read this and also Clif H's and David G's will give you more and better insights into a lot of what makes this book so fabulous, i. Thomas Cromwell mattered matters to me. So I'm going to talk about character - and specifically Thomas Cromwell - and that's pretty much all I'm going to talk about because for me: he was the book; the book was him.

It's as though Mantel had to wrestle him onto the page, he's so big. I totally understand - as pointed out in The Atlantic's recent blurb about Bring Up The Bodies - why she decided to extend this book into a series - and ended up needing three books to get through his life. She can't leave the guy. And I didn't want to, either. Now - here's where my lack of English history comes in: I have no idea who he is, who he really is does anyone? Although I was provoked to learn more about him at about the point where Mantel started to hint around at him getting remarried and I wondered, to whom?

Cromwell, even though he "looks like a murderer. Cromwell can judge the quality of a Turkish rug, spatchcock a songbird, and kill a man with a single knife twist all before cocktail hour and without breaking a sweat. In terms of seeking more in the way of biography with some need to reconcile Mantel's portrayal with reality - but, I now think, why? I only went as far as wikipedia. There, I learned with some sadness what eventually became of him. Ceridwen said somewhere about reading books about The Plague that it's always so horrible because you know how it's going to end, that everyone is going to die, but it still hits you like a ton of bricks when they do. With the single exception, perhaps, of Cromwell who sticks out like a sore thumb; he's somehow different than the rest of these people; more 'modern' , it doesn't matter who you are, how hard you work, or what natural abilities you possess.

None of these bears a direct correlation to fame, fortunes or outcome. It only matters who you are born to, whose favour you curry or attract, and what role the powerful want you to play in their chess game. What Mantel is showing us is the rise and fall from power of each of the most significant characters during this volatile time. The opportunities seized, alliances forged, compromises made on the way up — and how they unravel on the way down.

Whether power is obtained by divine right or democracy, the humans at the heart of it — across time — are the same creatures, with lusts, greed, principles and passions for money, for sex, for respect, for domination. This is politics and history lifting off the page through the most extraordinary characterization — humanization, really. This is absolutely the best that historical fiction can be. Let me also talk about dialogue just a bit: it, too, is almost anachronistically modern. It's modern in the sense that it is dry, ironic, sarcastic, humorous and most of all egalitarian. When Thomas has a conversation with someone — but especially his wife and children — he is listening.

That is if not the key, certainly a key to understanding his personality. This dual- tri, quadri-? He made me nervous. I had my sociopath-sniffer on full alert. All charm and manipulation and laser-like, greed-headed, power-seeking opportunism. They manage up and abuse down. But Cromwell — largely by virtue of the brain-busting non-specific third person POV that Mantel uses to bring us inside his head — is not a sociopath.

He does not use his extrasensory perception about people without compassion or kindness. Mantel shows us a Cromwell trying to get everyone what they need, help them position themselves appropriately - but some can't be saved. Some are going to be casualties of the bigger shift he sees coming. Also: he loves - really loves - children and animals showing him with all those little dogs named Bella is not accidental. As Cromwell envisions. His own vision, while expansive, while prescient, may not have been that progressive. He wanted to wrest the wealth away from the Church so the King could have it — but he ALSO realized that transferring the full weight of power previously held by the Church onto the King would be like cutting off your nose to spite your face.

Instead, he wanted the power of the King to be supported by the will of the people. He foresaw not only the religious reformation that had to occur, but the political one: that together, these were the seeds of a constitutional monarchy that would rule only through the political will of the people. It is as though Mantel reverse-engineered the guy. So she built him — layer by layer, scene by scene. Starting on the first page, where the first paragraph shows him being beaten viciously by his father.

We start with Thomas Cromwell as an abused child. I cannot emphasize this enough. He is an abused child who grows up to have deep compassion and exhibit remarkable kindness in a world that is, to our modern eyes, inconceivably cruel. The psychology of that can play out in any number of ways, but the horrific abuse and abandonment that Cromwell experienced is the crucible out of which his personality and all his later acts were forged. He is a man deeply in love with his first and only? He is a tradesman, a businessman and a believer that, like him, all men have within them the same abilities.

And so he is also a mentor and a teacher to them. There is an extraordinary scene of him with a young boy that Thomas More had horrifically abused, breaking down with Cromwell. It is brilliant. It is Cromwell's connection with him that matters. How many young men, pseudo-sons, does he take under his wing - orphans, ruffians, of low birth just like him? He follows the money, he makes the laws and he outreasons the priests and bishops with superior knowledge not only of scripture, but of how to use it to galvanize the masses.

What he is not: a liar, a bully, a thief, or a sociopath. Loyalty, maybe; but not at the cost of his own skin or fortunes. He was absolutely tortured by the downfall of his mentor Cardinal Wolsley, but he also cold-bloodedly extricated himself from going down with him despite the personal trauma it caused him. I have Bring Up The Bodies sitting right in front of me. View all 21 comments. Shelves: library , doorstops , audio , historical-fiction , reviewed , I chalk this up partly to a morbid fascination, and partly to a genuine desire to understand the circumstances leading up to the Golden Age of Elizabeth I.

Cromwell has not been particularly well-favored by history; he is most often seen as a shadowy, grasping commoner who rightly sealed his own fate by reaching too high above his station. Not so in Wolf Hall, thankfully. At the height of his prominence at court, Cromwell was painted by the famous portraitist Hans Holbein the same painter that allegedly painted the ill-fated Anne Boleyn , and in his portrait, Cromwell appears fat, shifty-eyed and unappealing. This image is not the one I maintained while reading Wolf Hall. Thankfully, things look up from there; Thomas is nothing if not resourceful, and he is soon on his feet and making his way through the world. When Wolsey meets his end, Cromwell sticks faithfully by him, but fortunately does not share his fate. Tudor England is not a time or place famous for marital fidelity Henry VIII did have six wives, after all , but Cromwell is a faithful, loving family man.

I was afraid at the start of this novel, seeing that it is so long, that Mantel would carry us all the way from the bloody stones of Putney to The even bloodier Tower. Cromwell is a historical figure, after all, and anyone familiar with the rule of Henry VIII knows that Thomas Cromwell does not outlive his king. Fortunately for me, anyway the novel runs its course through the fall, not of Cromwell, but view spoiler [ the earlier demise of yet another Thomas, Thomas More.

Was he the pure-hearted, conscience-driven martyr that many have asserted? Or, as Mantel portrays him, a vain, calculating religious fanatic with his eyes turned to heaven but his hands lighting the heretic pyre? No one can say for sure, but the relationship between Cromwell and More was notoriously difficult, with one aiding the rise of Anne Boleyn and the other refusing to acknowledge her, so Mantel had much to work with. In my limited experience, many writers of historical fiction seem concerned only with extremes; characters are either cardboard cutouts made from the remnants of third-rate high school textbooks, or anachronistic insertions that feel, at best out of place, and at worst positively irreconcilable to the times into which they have been unceremoniously thrust.

Her characters are fully realized, from queens to back alley mercenaries-turned errand boys and everyone in between. Thomas Cromwell is, of course, both the star of the show and her masterpiece-- the Cromwell she gave me was not the man I was expecting and I am so glad to be surprised. I never expected to find so much humor in a novel concerned with what was an increasingly terrifying time in history. One of the most frequent complaints I have encountered in other reviews is the narrative choice of present tense. History has proven to be unreliable in his case, so why should fiction be any different? The use of the past tense would make the story seem more solid, which is not so conducive to understanding as people would like to believe.

On format: highly recommended as an audio book. The narrator of this edition was fantastic. View all 20 comments. Shelves: women-s-prize-nominee , audie-awards , audio-book , read-in , historical-fiction , series , favorite-authors , favorite-books , european , costa-book-award-nominee. This Tutor era piece is exceptional. The dialogue is so outstanding. Seen from the eyes of Thomas Cromwell, this novel brings to light such a different perspective than your typical Tutor piece. Everything I have read previously has shown Cromwell as a total villain. This shows the man as a husband, loving father, and shrewd businessman. Anne Boleyn is spectacularly presented. I am late to the show with the book series. Reading the book was so satisfying.

With all going virtual lately, we were given the opportunity of joining the Boston e Library recently if you are a Massachusetts resident. How lovely to be able to choose from other sites for ebooks and audiobooks. So wonderful View all 56 comments. Feb 15, A. One of the most interesting things about history is thinking about perspective. Very few people lived their lives with an intention of being known as a villain of history. Yet I think all of us fall into the trap of thinking of the past in moralistic terms sometimes. This is a function of generations of storytelling and cultural indoctrination. There are facts that we don't ever necessarily learn, or at least can remember learning, that we don't pause to consider. My favorite thing about Wolf Hal One of the most interesting things about history is thinking about perspective.

My favorite thing about Wolf Hall is how it turns previous conception of a much discussed period of history on its head, while maintaining complete plausibility. Maybe it was my Catholic upbringing, but I always thought of Thomas More as a great man of learning and advocate of free speech, while Thomas Cromwell was a ruthless, unprincipled yes-man. Mantel effectively exploits facts to make you completely reverse your feelings about the two characters. In truth, More was a religious fundamentalist, the man tortured and executed people who strayed from the Church's dogmatic beliefs, hardly a free speech advocate. Cromwell's rise to power would be inspiring if it occurred today, all the more so that he did it almost years ago.

Mantel almost does too good of a job of making Cromwell likable, but you are completely ready to buy it. I think this is Mantel's greatest accomplishment, she reverses years of preconceived notions. The book isn't a necessarily easy read. Mantel throws you into the world and she doesn't give you a ton of exposition or remind you who characters are and how they relate to each other. I frequently had to consult the character list and the genealogical charts at the beginning of the book for a reminder.

One night, I stayed up until 4 reading the wikipedia entry on the War of the Roses to refresh myself on that subject. I actually highly recommend potential readers doing this. Mantel frequently references the events and it also gives you good context of why the production of a legitimate male heir was deemed such an immediate necessity. The title Wolf Hall is taken from the estate of the Seymour family, minor characters in the novel. But the title accentuates what I would consider the theme of the novel, which Cromwell repeats to himself several times over the course.

Homono homini lupus, man is wolf to man. Mantel's Cromwell is presented as a precursor to the modern politician. This is a hazardous occupation in a time where political missteps had much graver consequences than potential resignation accompanied by a lobbying gig as a fall back plan. In this way Wolf Hall could be labelled a political thriller. One of the thrills in the novel is how Cromwell manges to, excuse the bad joke, keep his head on his shoulders. Watch Cromwell survive the political crushing of his patron and political mentor.

See him hazard the stormy rapids that was the Boleyn family. Marvel as he clashes wits with the great Thomas More. What makes this even more effective is the novel is very well written. Mantel does a great job inhabiting familiar characters and making them come to life. Unlike other fictional works that have dealt with the same period, none of the characters are cliched or one dimensional. Here, he is temperamental and often child-like, but also as intelligent and goodhearted. And as a rule, any confrontation with the Boleyn sisters will likely be very entertaining. As it was for Henry, though in a rather different way.

The plot tends to revolve heavily around such such confrontations. There will be plot movement, but most of the time it sets the scene for another meeting between Thomas and Anne, or Cardinal Wolsey, or Thomas More, or the Earl of Norfolk. Nevertheless, my favorite chapter of the book was one of the first, "An Occult History of England. I enjoyed Wolf Hall much more than I expected to. Although I know how the story ends for all the characters, the novel kept me entertained until the end. Now that I think about it, the novel really reminds me of Robert Caro's first two LBJ biographies which detailed Johnson's rise to power. While they don't retell the traditional hero's journey, a non-mythical path to power can be more worthwhile and just as entertaining epic.

View all 10 comments. It was the first 5-star rating of the year And it was nothing short of amazing! Not from castle walls, but from countinghouses, not by the call of the bugle but by the click of abacus, not by the grate and click of th It was the first 5-star rating of the year I don't want to get away from the world Mantel created and the persons she populated it with. I was a bit worried first, because the reviews were all over the place for this novel: either they were all love or hate. But I am firmly in the former camp. I did not really form any solid views of him before. I also remember reading and liking A man for all seasons : a play of Sir Thomas More by Robert Bolt which hailed Thomas More as a morally righteous hero, setting him against Thomas Cromwell as a calculating villain.

So I was surprised, but totally admired how adroitly Mantel turned the tables on them without actually vilifying More or venerating Cromwell. The way Cromwell is fleshed out, the whole process is astounding. He is being created in front of our eyes, more and more intriguing details and layers are added like Mantel was using a computer progamme, updating him from 2-dimensional to 3D. It's not a linear process and appears to be random sometimes, like stringing beads of different colour and size, but it just makes him all the more interesting. Mantel also endows him with wit and a dry sense of humour which is very appealing. He is a very interesting filter that allows you to form your own judgement and keep your distance from them as well as from Cromwell himself or you can identify yourself with him I can understand those readers who were frustrated with the writing style, but the audiobook really helped getting over that and it took me some 30 minutes to get into the rhythm of it.

On the other hand, the use of the present tense and indirect speech somehow enhanced the atmosphere for me - like it was more of a novel of magical realism than historical fiction. View all 8 comments. Dec 07, Emily rated it it was amazing Shelves: , literary-fiction-i-actually-like , desert-island-books. Wolf Hall is the kind of book that gets better the more you think about it. Its protagonist is Thomas Cromwell: a villain in A Man for All Seasons but here a man with a family, a career, and a sharp way of thinking.

He doesn't want to be a saint; he wants to apply his shrewdness and hard-won experience to make the best of a bad world. His feelings towards his family, as portrayed here, make him sympathetic, even likeable. The book introduces all the figures familiar to readers of other Tudor stor Wolf Hall is the kind of book that gets better the more you think about it. The book introduces all the figures familiar to readers of other Tudor stories, and Mantel is most successful at putting her own stamp on Cromwell, Wolsey, and Henry VIII. At times, Cromwell and his burgeoning business-cum-household seem so modern they could have come out of today's London. The author does not play it as a costume drama, though there are touches of historical detail that are revealing and convincing, especially in his domestic life.

One linguistic tic mars the book. Mantel apparently refuses to refer to Cromwell by name, only by pronouns. Often, this confusingly violates the rules of English or any language I know. The slightly breathless effect is not worth the confusion, especially in a novel whose style is otherwise uncontrived. The majority of these pages cover Cromwell's career as he advances from being Cardinal Wolsey's aide to Henry VIII's trusted advisor, engineering the divorce from Katherine of Aragon--a process that dragged over years while Anne Boleyn occupied a peculiar position as almost-queen.

The book has similarly open-ended and ambiguous structure. The contours of what is included and what marks its end are strange. I would like to discover what this book is ultimately about and why it is called Wolf Hall, and I think that will require a rereading. Thus five stars, because I enjoy rereading even more than reading. Edited after a second reading. View all 11 comments.

May 22, Roman Clodia rated it it was amazing Shelves: anne-boleyn. He thinks, I remember you, Thomas More, but you didn't remember me. You never even saw me coming. My third reading actually this time I listened to the wonderful audiobook and finally this has turned into a 5-star book for me. Perhaps because this time I really got behind Cromwell's voice surely that 'he' that so many complain about is representing Cromwell's inner voice, not a 3rd person narrator talking of Cromwell? The final battles of wits between More and Cromwell are masterly and drip with tension, and Mantel's superb imagination comes to the fore when we see More's physical response to imagining his execution and Cromwell's own struggle, an assertion of his better nature, to prevent it.

For me, the highlight of the writing is how fine and restrained it is, refusing exposition and replacing it with performative scenes of intricate dialogue and Cromwell's inner commentary - for this is Cromwell's view of such well-known, even over-represented, events at and around the Henrician court in the early s. The humour is sly, often insinuating, and the characterisation intricate, perhaps gaining both depth and surprising nuances the more you already know about these personages. More intriguing are Cromwell's own relationships with women, not least his dead wife's sister and Helen to whom he gives refuge.

Overall, then, a dense, rich read that manages to both offer up a sumptuous though never romanticised view of Tudor politics in an around the early Henrician court, and keep one eye firmly on our present where political expediency, the subtle but undoubted wielding of power, is the order of the day. The long bones are tumbled from their shrouds, and words like stones thrust into their rattling mouths: we edit their writings, we rewrite their lives , p. I certainly enjoyed it far more this second time around, perhaps because I now know what to expect from Mantel.

I like the wry, sly humour 'he waits to see if the king will draw a heart. But the frivolities of courtship are over. Marriage is a serious business' , even while recognising it as being Mantel's own slightly arch sense of fun and it's noticeable that far too many characters than is likely share this tongue-in-cheek way of speaking from Cromwell himself to mousy Jane Seymour. And I like the detailed attention to the sources - even if that does make the story eminently predictable. I don't share Mantel's reading of Cromwell's character at all, and giggled to myself at places where her enthusiasm leads to fangirl writing: '"I meant only,' Hans says soothingly, 'there is the matter of all the other women who want to marry you.

The wives of England, they all keep secret books of whom they are going to have next when they have poisoned their husbands. And you are the top of everyone's list. But that's ok, it's Mantel's book, she can do what she likes. More believable is Cromwell's dark harbouring of grudges 'he thinks, I remembered you, Thomas More, but you didn't remember me. You never even saw me coming' , something that will come to the fore in the second volume. I can accept him playing a long vengeful game. So I enjoyed this for its cleverness, for its reconstruction of a Tudor world that is deeply inflected by our world, and for the tight literary control that Mantel exerts.

All the same, I still find this a cold book: all the pleasures were in my mind, I didn't feel anything for the characters. I will go on to read the next book but need a break first from Mantel's erudite, self-conscious, historically-aware but rather chilly universe. One of the rare Booker Prize Winners that was an absolute win for me. That being said having finished this book I got into the biggest reading slump that lasted a month. Something about this book is dark, bleak and wearying. Mantel exhibits astonishing virtuosity in creating an atmosphere of the world of Thomas Cromwell, a poor boy from Putney and that rose to be a counselor of the king and most important figure of Reformation by his own wits and exertions.

The prose of this book builds him before your eyes. Mantel's superb writing places you in the cold greyness of Tudor England, which is not necessarily a pleasant thing and can be stressful and draining at times, and I would say it a not an easy book to read but once you find the book's rhythm you become gripped. The story is made up of scenes, almost fragmented, often set in dark, small rooms with bold and clever dialogue, a private conversation where machinations of power occur and the fate of the world is being decided.

Death is a prominent theme of the book in my opinion, as life in Tudor Englads is fragile, at the mercy of the king, that does not tolerate disagreement. Not one is safe, not even the noble, powerful and influential figures such as Thomas More. In these fast-changing, tumultuous times, you are always one sentence, one action, one thought away from being sentenced to torture and death which makes the atmosphere agonizing. And if death does not come from another man's hand, there is always a sweating plague waiting somewhere around the corner to sweep the life of your loved ones in just a few hours.

There are more than one realistic scenes of execution and torture written in detail that add up to the bleakness of the book, as the prevalent feeling of reading it is almost as waiting for own death, there is almost always present anticipation of suffering. We are always dying — I while I write, you while you read, and others while they listen or block their ears; they are all dying. At times it seems he wants to make a best out of convoluted circumstances, with signs of caring and empathic heart, and at times he is a hard and manipulative man in the quest for more power, not a stranger to machiavellian principles. His life philosophy is not clear, nor flashed out, and he remains a morally grey character, almost more prone to exhibit his faults over virtues. I hug them close; they're mine.

Besides, when I come to judgment I mean to come with a memorandum in my hand: I shall say to my Maker, I have fifty items here, possibly more. View all 9 comments. Hard to read and yet hard to put down. A successful marriage of elegant, sophisticated although, at times, incredibly dense writing and salacious historical details. I admit my brain skimmed over most of the religious stuff, but the old timey goss kept me glued to this story throughout. Love the show too. After all, it is a hugely popular, elegantly written, Man Booker Prize winning novel. Far be it from me to criticize it. The saga is vaguely familiar, even to an ignoramus such as myself. At least, I remembered that Henry married Anne and eventually chopped her head off. Generally, he has been portrayed as a man of integrity and principal, who stuck faith even when it was no longer expedient to do so.

The Catholic Church even canonized him after his execution. However, as portrayed by Mantel, More is far less likeable. To be sure, he still has courage on his lonely path to the chopping block. But he is also a bit of a jerk to his family, an extremist in his beliefs, and a torturer in his own right, putting heretics on the rack. Heretics being people who read translated versions of the Bible.

One of the joys of Wolf Hall is this historical tweaking. Mantel does not tear up the historical record and make things out of whole cloth. She just interprets the record differently, with a keenly perceptive eye. It is studied revisionism. I probably would have enjoyed the book a lot more if I had a better grasp of history. The difficulty with Wolf Hall is its density. It is a pointillist history, made up of a thousand tiny moments. Being so close to the story as it unfolds makes it difficult to follow the broader sweep of things.

The plot moves forward by inches, through the dialogue of the characters. There is so much talking, so little doing, this could have been presented as a play. The density is compounded by the fact that merry old England apparently had only four names to choose from. The book abounds with a number of people all named Thomas or Anne or Mary. Usually, I prefer nonfiction: biographies and histories and the like.

From time to time, I try to keep trendy by reading popular fiction. Typically, I like to read novels before I go to bed. Big mistake in this case. This is fiction that requires all of your attention. I soon switched my routine, so that I was reading about World War I and Gettysburg in the evening, and focusing my wits on Wolf Hall during daylight hours. As a special bonus, I soon began having horrific dreams. I could have given a better effort to Wolf Hall.

It is talk, talk, talk. All dialogue all the time. There is not a single scene of action, sweep, or movement. There is paucity of dirty details regarding life in the s with the exception of the yearly fevers that culled the herd. It is sharp, evocative, understandable, and yet never anachronistic. The result is an artifact that I respected but could not love. We all know where the story is going. Mantel shows us how we got there, step by step.

She never bothers to wonder how it felt. Reading this novel was unlike many of my previous reading experiences. For the first 50 pages or so I was irritated at the vague pronoun usages mentioned in nearly every review I have read on Amazon and the dizzying cast of characters. And then something happened; I got use to Ms. Mantel's writing style, and my knowledge of history kicked in and I was swept up in the story. In that sense, "Wolf Hall" is a lot like reading Shakespeare. It takes a minute to get use to the style and language, and Reading this novel was unlike many of my previous reading experiences.

It takes a minute to get use to the style and language, and previous knowledge of the characters and their relationships is a plus, and then it is a very enjoyable experience. I would not read this novel if It is not a novel you can put down and come back to a week later. It is too intricately plotted and populated for that. If the above does not describe you I would encourage your picking up this page tome. Despite its length, it is a quick and engaging read and I found myself immersed in it for a long time at each sitting. Another pleasure of the novel was in how Mantel slowly unravels the intricacies of the history of the period for the close reader.

About pages in I suddenly had a eureka moment and understood the title. Such little pleasures make the text even more enjoyable. There are many such moments in the book, where the reader suddenly sees what later event Mantel is setting up in the plot. A clever and subtle genius, that adds greatly to her novel. Often I found myself going to the web to read further about some topic Mantel brings up the text. A great site for such info is tudorhistory. Checking those references made the immersion in the novel all the more fuller for me. The novel's protagonist is the much maligned in history Thomas Cromwell, who was one of the most influential men in English history.

But historically Cromwell was the center of the storm that these folks swirled around. Most of the novel is told from his perspective and we often find ourselves inside his head, privy to his observations and thoughts. As has been mentioned numerous times, this is the source of confusion for some readers, as Mantel is vague with pronoun usage, but it is deliberate on her part. She is recreating the speech patterns and writing style of the period.

Another bonus of the text is that surprisingly, the novel is often very funny, as Mantel endows Cromwell with a very dry and bitter wit. This is an episodic novel, and not an easy read. But if you enjoy the pleasures of a unique style and a close read, then pick this one up. There is already a sequel in the works, and I for one will be reading it. Indeed, I consulted several of those reviews while reading this lengthy tome, especially at the beginning, just to help orient myself and see if I was the only one having a tough time with the names, characters and historical allusions.

Talk about revisionism; boy does this book ever turn the tables on the two figures. Mantel and her thoroughly researched, beautifully written yet near-exhausting novel eventually won me over. My favourite passages are ones like this: One tradesman the same as the next? Not in the real world. Any man with a steady hand and a cleaver can call himself a butcher: but without the smith, where does he get that cleaver? Without the man who works in metal, where are your hammers, your scythes, your sickles, scissors and planes? Your arms and armour, your arrowheads, your pikes and your guns?

Where are your ships at sea and their anchors? Where are your grappling hooks, your nails, latches, hinges, pokers and tongs? Where are your spits, kettles, trivets, your harness rings, buckles and bits? Where are your knives? What superb prose! The rhythm alone is hypnotic, persuasive. But those nouns are alive, anchored in the real world. Mantel paints an entire society here.

Not from his border fortresses, not even from the Whitehall. Not from castle walls, but from counting houses, not by the call of the bugle but by the click of the abacus, not by the grate and click of the mechanism of the gun but by the scrape of the pen on the page of the promissory note that pays for the gun and the gunsmith and the powder and shot. Again: what a brilliant sense of the way this society works. Why do we read historical fiction, anyway? You can wiki that. Mantel does that. Little Jane Seymour. Mark the musician. I am a reader who thinks British history is fascinating, and I've long had a soft spot for the Tudors. And that wacky Protestant Reformation that changed the world!

What an amazing time! Sure, this period has been much-written about, but I love the fresh approach that Hilary Mantel takes in her Wolf Hall novels, which is to tell the story of Anne Boleyn's rise and fall from the perspective of Thomas Cromwell, a low-born lawyer who eventually became a I am a reader who thinks British history is fascinating, and I've long had a soft spot for the Tudors. Sure, this period has been much-written about, but I love the fresh approach that Hilary Mantel takes in her Wolf Hall novels, which is to tell the story of Anne Boleyn's rise and fall from the perspective of Thomas Cromwell, a low-born lawyer who eventually became a trusted advisor to the king.

Cromwell is clever, scrappy, and calculating, and someone you really don't want as an enemy. He also has a good sense of humor, and some of his witticisms made me laugh out loud. Cromwell is a captivating character, and the farther I got into this novel, the more absorbed I was. I remember all the hype around Wolf Hall when it was first published, and then even more hype when it won the Booker Prize. I tried to read the novel back in , but at the time I couldn't get past the first fifty pages. The prose just seemed too dense, and I felt impatient.

I decided to give the book another try after watching the excellent miniseries, which stars Mark Rylance as Cromwell and Damian Lewis as King Henry. Rylance was mesmerizing, and by the end of the first episode I had already downloaded the audiobook. There is some beautiful writing in Wolf Hall , and while the timeline is occasionally confusing because it jumps around a bit, overall the novel is well-plotted. It is on the longer side my paperback had more than pages , but hey, it takes a while to overthrow a queen, break with the pope, torture and behead some traitors, and then install a new queen. London wasn't built in a day! I think the author would be pleased to know that as soon as I finished reading Wolf Hall , I started reading its sequel, Bring Up the Bodies.

And I was pleased to learn that Mantel is reportedly working on a third novel. I've become a convert to this Cromwellian way of thinking. Highly recommended for fans of historical fiction. Favorite Quotes "Suppose within each book there is another book, and within every letter on every page another volume constantly unfolding; but these volumes take no space on the desk. Why are we so proud of having endured our fathers and our mothers, the fireless days and the meatless days, the cold winters and the sharp tongues? It's not as if we had a choice. We shall have to develop a hand signal for 'Back off, our prince is fucking this man's daughter. Me and my banker friends. The world is not run from where he thinks. Not from border fortresses, not even from Whitehall.

Not from the castle walls, but from counting houses, not be the call of the bugle, but by the click of the abacus, not by the grate and click of the mechanism of the gun but by the scrape of the pen on the page of the promissory note that pays for the gun and the gunsmith and the powder and shot. They're not affordable things. No prince ever says, 'This is my budget, so this is the kind of war I can have. It means fixity of purpose. It means endurance. It means having the strength to live with what constrains you. Wolf Hall was a profound disappointment for me, and quite frankly, I'm glad this torturous journey is over.

I'm fully aware that people rave about Wolf Hall, and claim it is the best historical fiction series ever, but for me, I just don't understand the hype, and I'm positively baffled, as to how this won the Man Booker Prize! Initially, it was my beloved parents that encouraged me to read this, constantly telling me Wolf Hall was a profound disappointment for me, and quite frankly, I'm glad this torturous journey is over.

Initially, it was my beloved parents that encouraged me to read this, constantly telling me how marvellous it is, usually every other time I visited them. I'm sure they've read the series two or three times now, so one can imagine it was pretty painful to inform my Mum yesterday, that this book just didn't do it for me. It actually didn't even touch the sides. I feel I must state, that I consider myself a lover of historical fiction, and with this era being of a particular interest of mine, I assumed that I just couldn't go wrong, but unfortunately, it became boldly apparent around fifteen pages in, that I knew me and Mantel were not going to gel.

The writing style was confusing, and somewhat irritating. I mean, where were the quotation marks for a start? It was difficult to establish who was saying what. I disliked that there were so many "he's" in one scene, as I struggled to clarify which "he" Mantel was referring to. Seriously, the fun was entirely drained out of the book, and a migraine did prevail. I just found the majority of this book mind-numbingly boring.

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