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Wolf Hall [Abridged, Audiobook, CD] [Audio CD]

Hilary Mantel , Dan Stevens
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,612 customer reviews)
RRP: 15.99
Price: 11.19 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

6 Nov 2009

Winner of the Man Booker Prize 2009 and read by Dan Stevens, star of TV’s Downton Abbey.

'Lock Cromwell in a deep dungeon in the morning,' says Thomas More, 'and when you come back that night he'll be sitting on a plush cushion eating larks' tongues, and all the gaolers will owe him money.'

England, the 1520s. Henry VIII is on the throne, but has no heir. Cardinal Wolsey is his chief advisor, charged with securing the divorce the pope refuses to grant. Into this atmosphere of distrust and need comes Thomas Cromwell, first as Wolsey's clerk, and later his successor.

Cromwell is a wholly original man: the son of a brutal blacksmith, a political genius, a briber, a charmer, a bully, a man with a delicate and deadly expertise in manipulating people and events. Ruthless in pursuit of his own interests, he is as ambitious in his wider politics as he is for himself. His reforming agenda is carried out in the grip of a self-interested parliament and a king who fluctuates between romantic passions and murderous rages.

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.


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Wolf Hall + Bring up the Bodies + The Kingmaker's Daughter
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Product details

  • Audio CD: 6 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate; Abridged edition edition (6 Nov 2009)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 0007237235
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007237234
  • Product Dimensions: 13.9 x 14.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,612 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 69,241 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Hilary Mantel is the author of thirteen books , including A Place of Greater Safety, Beyond Black, and the memoir Giving up the Ghost. Her two most recent novels, Wolf Hall and its sequel Bring up the Bodies have both been awarded The Man Booker Prize - an unprecedented achievement.

Product Description

Review

“A stunning book. It breaks free of what the novel has become nowadays. I can’t think of anything since Middlemarch which so convincingly builds a world.” Diana Athill

"A fascinating read, so good I rationed myself. It is remarkable and very learned; the texture is marvellously rich, the feel of Tudor London and the growing household of a man on the rise marvellously authentic. Characters real and imagined spring to life, from the childish and petulant King to Thomas Wolsey's jester, and it captures the extrovert, confident, violent mood of the age wonderfully." C.J. Sansom

"A magnificent achievement: the scale of its vision and the fine stitching of its detail; the teeming canvas of characters; the style with its clipped but powerful immediacy; the wit, the poetry and the nuance." Sarah Dunant

“A superb novel, beautifully constructed, and an absolutely compelling read. Mantel has created a novel of Tudor times which persuades us that we are there, at that moment, hungry to know what happens next. It is the making of our English world, and who can fail to be stirred by it?” Helen Dunmore

‘Hilary Mantel’s magnificent new novel’ Bee Wilson, Daily Telegraph

‘Magestically conjures up an England in the throes of epic change … a Great British Novel’ Hephzibah Anderson, Observer

'enthralling..the reader Simon Slater makes us feel within whispering distance' Carole Mansur on the Wolf Hall audio

About the Author

Hilary Mantel is the author of thirteen books , including A PLACE OF GREATER SAFETY, BEYOND BLACK, and the memoir GIVING UP THE GHOST. Her two most recent novels, WOLF HALL and its sequel BRING UP THE BODIES, have both been awarded The Man Booker Prize – an unprecedented achievement.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1,041 of 1,109 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Is it me, or is the grammar atrocious...? 13 July 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
My first book review, and I'm writing it because I'm annoyed. After reading much praise and noticing Mantel had won the booker prize I bought myself a Kindle version, but within a few pages I started becoming distracted by the structure of the writing.

I hesitate to challenge Mantel's grammar because I already know how well this book has been received, but from my point of view it's all over the place. I'm well aware that the rules of syntax can be broken for a number of good reasons, but if Mantel's approach is deliberate then it's completely lost on me.

The first problem is the use of the word 'he', at every opportunity, to refer to all of the three, four, or five people participating in the same scene. You're often left having to re-read every other sentence and to try and guess which person is speaking or being referred to. So determined to stick pronouns everywhere the author often puts one unnecessarily in front of a person's name "He, Cromwell, said..."

The second problem is the inconsistent format for denoting speech. Sometimes it has quotes around it, sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes you're reading something a character is thinking followed by what he's saying and then, even, what the narrator thinks about it, but without any syntactical indication of which is which.

Elsewhere there are multiple people speaking in the same paragraph, with and without quotes. Why?

Here's a good example of much of the above - all quotes and commas exactly as in the text:

'Yes, yes,' Cavendish says, 'we'll order up the barge.'
Good, he says, and the cardinal says, Putney? and he tries to laugh. He says, well, Thomas, you told Gascoigne, you did; there's something about that man I never have liked, and he says, why did you keep him them?
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398 of 425 people found the following review helpful
By James
Format:Paperback
She, the reviewer, thinks that she, Mantel, has written a novel which manages to be both stimulating and frustrating. She starts to ask herself `Why did she detract from the quality of her work by adopting such a silly writing style?' but then she remembers that she, Mantel, often doesn't put speech inside speech marks, and so she resolves not to do so for the rest of her review.

She, the reviewer, says, she has written a wonderfully plausible account of his, Cromwell's, thought processes. Which other novel does a better job of getting inside the mind of a major historical character, she asks herself. None that she can think of, she concludes. And she appreciates how wonderfully, through the medium of his thoughts, she has managed to illuminate life in Tudor London. She very much enjoys some of the rich humour in her descriptions of his dealings with people at all levels of society ranging from him, Henry, down to near-paupers. She also marvels at her wide-ranging research, which provides a wealth of historical detail and contains almost no errors. She says, almost, because she does detect a few minor mistakes, for example her description of his, Cromwell's, accusation that one of his, Norfolk's, ancestors helped to "disappear" the princes in the tower; which leads her to say, doesn't she, Mantel, realise that the use of "disappear" as a transitive verb only started in the late 20th century and was surely unknown in Tudor England? But she forgives her for such minor lapses: she says, they aren't important when set against all the good things in the book.

But then she thinks of a few things that perhaps are important blemishes.
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837 of 909 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Worthy but no need for it to be so confusing 21 Oct 2009
Format:Hardcover
Have finished this book and am sure it's very worthy of all the accolades but I really found this quite a hard slog and I'm quite a prolific reader. The story is really interesting but I am so glad to see other reviewers on here that had the same horrendous problem of trying to follow who was talking whenever there is any dialogue. Fair enough to refer to Cromwell as "he" if you're going to stick to that and use it exclusively, but when you use "he" for other people during the same conversation, it's really confusing and I found myself having to re-read paragraphs containing dialogue (as a result this took me so much longer to read than normal and I feel like I've read it 3 times). Obviously am not one to comment on such a good writer but it would have been so much more of a pleasure (rather than a chore) to read if it had been either written in first person or clearer reference used as to who is talking.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unusual 19 Dec 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A new take on a fascinating period of British history. Well written in an unusual style which takes a chapter or two to get used to, but once you are hooked you can't put it down
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning tour de force! 23 July 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I was somewhat worried with reading `historical fiction` rather liking my history neat via the likes of Antonia Fraser.
I was gob smacked by this book that gripped and retained the attention from page 1.
Clearly another coming up after the follow up ` Bring up the Bodies` and I am awaiting same eagerly.
Since finishing the book I have started to read `straight` history accounts of Cromwell`s life which confirm the obvious, Hilary Mantel kept as close as needs be to historical fact and to do that whilst producing a gripping novel of quality is amazing.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Cromwell meets Star Trek
Couldn't cope with this book at all.
I love nothing more than immersing myself in historical fiction and after adoring Sansom's Shardlake series, I couldn't wait to read this... Read more
Published 13 hours ago by Bogolino
3.0 out of 5 stars Too ploddy for me.
Far too wordy. Unnecessarily so. I'm sure there's a good story in there somewhere?
Published 20 hours ago by Mazoi
5.0 out of 5 stars A dozen or more delicious phrases.
This truly WAS amazing. Breadth of research beautifully and entertainingly and lucidly disseminated, and a dozen or more delicious phrases. Read more
Published 5 days ago by Sandra Davies
4.0 out of 5 stars Haven't finished reading this excellent book yet
Haven't finished reading this excellent book yet, but really enjoying it. Will write more when finished. Read more
Published 5 days ago by Mrs. Penelope-jane Pullen
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great item
Published 6 days ago by H. Newman
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
Hard going!
Published 7 days ago by Bryan
4.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly enjoyed the story thanks to the style of writing
Thoroughly enjoyed the story thanks to the style of writing. Made me very sympathetic towards Cromwell, though does not hold up to historical scrutiny. Read more
Published 8 days ago by M. J. Odell
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Amazing erudition
Published 8 days ago by Clive McGavin
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant. Scholarship lightly worn and used to illuminate a ...
Brilliant. Scholarship lightly worn and used to illuminate a fascinating period of history. A modern day classic.
Published 8 days ago by bbcgoogle
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent.
Published 9 days ago by rhod gilbert's granny
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