'Wolf Hall' cover artThe newly released historical novel Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel, sounds very interesting. Winner of the Booker Prize, Wolf Hall is set during the reign of English king Henry VIII and concentrates on the fascinating political intrigue of the time and the lessons to be learned from it.


At the book’s center: Thomas Cromwell, the ruthless blacksmith’s son who rose to power under Henry VIII because of his intelligence, cunning and work ethic. . . .

Mantel’s novel is less about Henry’s sex life and more about power: how to get it, wield it, keep it, particularly if you—like the low-born Cromwell—lived in a merciless world ruled by the rich and titled.

Cromwell usually is presented as a bully utterly lacking scruples, but Mantel’s Cromwell is a sympathetic character modern readers will understand. Wolf is like a Tudor-era version of American Gangster, with Cromwell as Denzel Washington.

Read review here.

–S. T. Karnick