'Wolf Hall' by Hilary Mantel.
England in 1500, Walter Cromwell a blacksmith and brewer was a cruel and impatient man. His son Thomas; a boy who felt the violence of his father's temper.
'Wolf Hall' is a novel of Thomas'life, how he clawed his way from the gutters of the capital to become King Henry VIII's 'Master Secretary'. Leaving his home in Putney, I use the word 'home' in a very loose way as there were no comforts and no love. His mother was dead and the task of his survival was left to his married sister, Kat. She and her husband , Morgan Williams encouraged the young Thomas to leave home and set sail to France.
The years pass and eventually , with much adventures he is back on English soil and in a prominant position in the court of the King.
His rise to the role of Secretary begins as an assistant to Cardinal Wolsey. This man of the cloth plays a prominent role in the court, but cannot agree to the King's divorce with Queen Katherine(of Aragon).The Cardinal dies before a decision is resolved and thereby Cromwell propels himself to the most important position.His path to fame is paved with bribes and bullying.He confronts the parliament and the establishment in general and all seem to fall at his feet.His meddlings even reach the head of the church in Rome.
''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.' '
Pleasing the King is parallel to pleasing Anne Boleyn and so Cromwell needs all his 'skills' to continue his journey in a court where 'man is wolf to man'.However one man who stands firm against the King is Thomas More. Cromwell is not successful in his dealings with More who remains resolute,
'Against Henry's kingdom, I have all the kingdoms of Christendom. Against each one of your bishops, I have a hundred saints. Against your one parliament, I have all the general councils of the church, stretching back for a thousand years.'
As the years pass and Queen Anne's position becomes precarious. King Henry seeks solace in Wolf Hall, the family home of Jane Seymour.
This is the finale of the book. I felt a little apprehension before reading this book; 650 pages ,can anyone weave a Tudor novel and hold my attention for so many pages? I'm pleased to say Hilary Mantel wrote a wonderful book, it was a page turner for me.The attention to detail of the court and the social aspects of Tudor England were enlightening.
Spies and lies,
Traitors and courtiers
Are strands woven into
This Terrifying Tudor Tapestry.
This book was read as part of the Chunkster Challenge.