the Library: Wolf Hall

Reading Time: 2 minutes

by Hilary Mantel

The world of the English Tudors, particularly that of Henry VIII, is well-known to most of us. We studied about it in school; we have read novels, seen plays and countless films that cover the era. But Hilary Mantel offers a perspective on the period that is fresh and intriguing. The book is Wolf Hall, and it is the story of Thomas Cromwell, the king’s minister and most trusted advisor (at least for a time).

The son of a blacksmith who was a cruel and unsavory man, Thomas fought and scraped his way out of a hopeless childhood, traveled, studied, and learned. With resolute determination plus not a little political genius, he rose to a position of power greater than anyone in England at the time, other than the king himself. This was not a small accomplishment for a man with such humble beginnings.

During his illustrious career, Cromwell served the master power broker, Cardinal Wolsey. He was a faithful and shrewd assistant to that enigmatic man, and learned from him lessons that would help him in his later rise to the top. Even when the political winds shifted and Wolsey fell out of favor with