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Wolf Hall

A Novel

Hilary Mantel; Read by Simon Slater

Macmillan Audio

  • Man Booker Prize Winner

  • Buy it now
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.

BOOK EXCERPTS

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WOLF HALL (Chapter 1)

Across the Narrow Sea

PUTNEY, 1500

So now get up."

Felled, dazed, silent, he has fallen; knocked full length on the cobbles of the yard. His head turns sideways; his eyes are turned toward the gate, as if someone might arrive to help him out. One blow, properly placed, could kill him now.

Blood from the gash on his head--which was his father's first effort--is trickling across his face. Add to this, his left eye is blinded; but if he squints sideways, with his right eye he can see that the stitching of his father's boot is unraveling. The twine has sprung

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MEDIA

Watch

  • Hilary Mantel on winning the 2009 Man Booker Prize

    2009 Man Booker Prize winner Hilary Mantel talks about her novel Wolf Hall and what the accolade means to her personally.

  • Hilary Mantel and David Starkey discuss Henry VIII - Part 1

    Hilary Mantel and David Starkey discuss the shared subject of their new books - Henry VIII. Filmed in location in the Upper Bell Tower in the Tower of London: the scene of John Fishers imprisonment prior to being martyred.

  • Hilary Mantel and David Starkey discuss Henry VIII - Part 2

    Hilary Mantel and David Starkey discuss the shared subject of their new books - Henry VIII. Filmed in location in the Upper Bell Tower in the Tower of London: the scene of John Fishers imprisonment prior to being martyred.

  • Hilary Mantel and David Starkey discuss Henry VIII - Part 3

    Hilary Mantel and David Starkey discuss the shared subject of their new books - Henry VIII. Filmed in location in the Upper Bell Tower in the Tower of London: the scene of John Fishers imprisonment prior to being martyred.

  • Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel--Audiobook Excerpt

    Listen to this audiobook excerpt from Hilary Mantel's Man Booker Prize and National Book Critics Circle Award-winning novel, Wolf Hall, narrated by Simon Slater. 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 power.

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REVIEWS

Praise for Wolf Hall

2010 AUDIE AWARD FINALIST: LITERARY FICTION
iTUNES: BEST AUDIOBOOKS OF 2009
THE WASHINGTON POST: TOP AUDIOS OF 2009
AUDIOFILE MAGAZINE EARPHONES AWARD WINNER
 
Praise for the audio edition of WOLF HALL:
 
“The 2009 Man Booker Prize-winning novel about Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII’s fixer and counselor has been brilliantly served by English actor (and composer) Simon Slater. He gives an ironic, Machiavellian edge to his voice as general narrator and renders the myriad characters with exceptional virtuosity. This performance is the best of the year: an absolute triumph, further enhancing an already magnificent novel.”  – The Washington Post, Top Audio Books of ’09
 
“Set aside a full day to savor Simon Slater’s delightful reading of the Booker Prize-winning tale of Henry VIII’s court, seen through the eyes of his adviser Thomas Cromwell…Slater’s narration is nuanced and precise; he breathes feeling and subtle shades of emotion into every exchange of dialogue. His is a heroic undertaking, and he does admirable justice to Mantel’s lucid prose and juicy plot.” – Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
 
“Slater seems to inhabit Cromwell’s very soul, his voice imbued with urbane assurance, dark despair, calculating ambition, and sardonic wit. Each character rings true…Mantel’s masterpiece, winner of the Man Booker Prize for Fiction, 2009, entrances with a gripping immediacy that carries listeners to a cliff-hanger ending, leaving fans clamoring for a sequel.” –Booklist, Starred Review
 
“Simon Slater’s inspired narration of this year’s Booker Prize novel, set in the court of Henry VIII, is on every count one of this year’s outstanding audiobooks.” – AudioFile, Earphones Award Winner
 
“Read by Simon Slater in possibly the best performance of his career, Wolf Hall...never ceases to be gripping...the best audio book of the year.” – The Winston-Salem Journal
 
“Simon Slater does a masterful job of capturing Mantel’s abundant and diverse characters.” – Newsday
 
“Simon Slater’s reading is equal to Mantel’s masterpiece, his voice shifting to match each speaker, with touches of rough British dialect, German and French accents expertly handled.” – BookPage, Audio of the Month
 
"Simon Slater's performance brings Thomas Cromwell out of history and into humanity." – FictionAudiobooks
 
"If you haven't read the most absorbing, beautifully written book of 2009, wait no longer. Better yet, listen to it, for you cannot imagine the 16th century coming to life as it does in the hands of author Hilary Mantel and reader Simon Slater in Wolf Hall." - Newark Star Ledger
 
"Mantel gets the rich pageantry and conniving schemes just right in her richly detailed historical saga, and Slater gets Mantel just right as well. His reading does justice to the novel's language, slipping into character voices as deftly as Cromwell negotiated court politics." - Library Journal

“Listeners unfamiliar with British history will find Slater’s present-tense narration, as told through Cromwell’s perspective, an ideal method of storytelling, turning formidable historical figures into intriguing personalities. Slater seems to inhabit Cromwell’s very soul, his voice imbued with urbane assurance, dark despair, calculating ambition, and sardonic wit.” – Booklist, Starred Review

 

In the Press

How Hilary Mantel Revitalized Historical Fiction : The New Yorker
Historical fiction used to be a humble genre. Hilary Mantel has found a way to make it exciting and relevant.
- The New Yorker
Book Review - 'Wolf Hall,' by Hilary Mantel - Review - NYTimes.com
Tolerant, passionate and humane, Thomas Cromwell is cast as the picaresque hero of this Man Booker Prize-winning novel of Henry VIII's turbulent court.
- The New York Times
Hilary Mantel's "Wolf Hall" and Thomas Cromwell : The New Yorker
Online version of the weekly magazine, with current articles, cartoons, blogs, audio, video, slide shows, an archive of articles and abstracts back to 1925
- The New Yorker
Book Review: Booker Prize-winner 'Wolf Hall' by Hilary Mantel
Henry VIII's quest to make Anne Boleyn his queen has inspired reams of historical fiction,much of it trashy and most of it trite. Yet from this seemingly shopworn material,Hilary Mantel has created a novel both fresh and finely wrought: a brilliant portrait of a society in the throes of disorienting change,anchored by a penetrating character study of Henry's formidable advisor,Thomas Cromwell.
- The Washington Post
Book Review: Hilary Mantel's 'Wolf Hall' - WSJ.com
Martin Rubin reviews 'Wolf Hall,' a historical novel-recent winner of the Man Booker prize for fiction-that presents Henry VIII's minister Thomas Cromwell in a new light.
- The Wall Street Journal

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Hilary Mantel; Read by Simon Slater

  • Hilary Mantel is the author of Wolf Hall, winner of the 2009 Man Booker Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award, and shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction. She is also the author of A Change of Climate, A Place of Greater Safety, Eight Months on Ghazzah Street, An Experiment in Love, The Giant, O'Brien, Fludd, Every Day Is Mother's Day, Vacant Possession, and Beyond Black, which was shortlisted for the Orange Prize. She has also written a memoir, Giving Up the Ghost. Winner of the Hawthornden Prize, she reviews for The New York Times, The New York Review of Books, and the London Review of Books. She lives in England.
  • Hilary Mantel John Haynes
    Hilary Mantel
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Available Formats and Book Details

Wolf Hall

A Novel

Hilary Mantel; Read by Simon Slater

Man Booker Prize Winner, Audie Award Winner, Walter Scott Prize Winner
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FROM THE PUBLISHER

Macmillan Audio

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