In the ruthless arena of King Henry VIII's court, only one man dares to gamble his life to win the king's favor and ascend to the heights of political powerEngland 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... Full description
In the ruthless arena of King Henry VIII's court, only one man dares to gamble his life to win the king's favor and ascend to the heights of political powerEngland 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 opposes him. The quest for the king's freedom destroys his adviser, the brilliant Cardinal Wolsey, and leaves a power vacuum. Into this impasse steps Thomas Cromwell. Cromwell is a wholly original man, a charmer and a bully, both idealist and opportunist, astute in reading people and a demon of energy: he is also a consummate politician, hardened by his personal losses, implacable in his ambition. But Henry is volatile: one day tender, one day murderous. Cromwell helps him break the opposition, but what will be the price of his triumph? In inimitable style, Hilary Mantel presents a picture of a half-made society on the cusp of change, where individuals fight or embrace their fate with passion and courage. With a vast array of characters, overflowing with incident, the novel re-creates an era when the personal and political are separated by a hairbreadth, where success brings unlimited power but a single failure means death.
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Text Difficulty 4
UG/Upper grades (9th-12)
Hilary Mantel was born in Glossop, Derbyshire, England on July 6, 1952. She studied law at the London School of Economics and Sheffield University. She worked as a social worker in Botswana for five years, followed by four years in Saudi Arabia. She returned to Britain in the mid-1980s. In 1987 she was awarded the Shiva Naipaul Memorial Prize for an article about Jeddah. She worked as a film critic for The Spectator from 1987 to 1991.
She has written numerous books including Eight Months on Ghazzah Street, A Place of Greater Safety, A Change of Climate, The Giant, O'Brien, Giving up the Ghost: A Memoir, and Beyond Black. She has won several awards for her work including the Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize, the Cheltenham Prize and the Southern Arts Literature Prize for Fludd; the 1996 Hawthornden Prize for An Experiment in Love, the 2009 Man Booker Prize for Wolf Hall, and the 2012 Man Booker Prize for Bring up the Bodies. She made The New York Times Best Seller List with her title The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher.