If you set out to create a totally fictional early Renaissance monarch, you would be hard-pressed to come up with a more interesting character than the real-life Henry VIII. Mantel's research bears this out in this fascinating historical fiction from the point-of-view of Thomas Cromwell, the complicated commoner who rose to power during the King's Great Matter—his efforts to divorce his first wife Catherine of Aragon—and fell from grace after the King's fourth marriage to Protestant Anne of Cleves proved unsatisfactory to his majesty. Wolf Hall focuses on Cromwell's ascent in the Tudor court and is a complicated, fascinating read rich in historical detail. Highly recommended.
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