This is an extraordinarily moving novel based on and around the Dissolution of the Monasteries and the Pilgrimage of Grace, with a cast including a few fictional characters, but more historical ones, e.g. Henry VII, Wolsey, Cromwell, Lord Darcy, Robert Aske and more. It centres on a small nunnery in Swaledale, Yorkshire, but goes much further afield. Most of the characters are ambivalent, whether conservative, reformer, timeserver,or whatever - except for Henry VIII, who is unambiguously the villain. Very accurate historical detail, and beautiful storytelling. Some grim and graphic violence - hanging, drawing, quatering, hanging in chains, etc. And of course, no happy ending, except in the hope of a life to come.
Only those who believe Henry VIII's Reformation to have been unalloyed good can fail to be moved by this.