I loved the book. I have had a strange fascination for Henry VIII. Perhaps it was the Herman’s Hermits song fifty years ago, ‘I’m Henry VIII, I am,’ or the movie ‘Anne of the Thousand Days,’ with Richard Burton as the king. Perhaps it is the tit-bit that a cannon ball used in Shakespeare’s play Henry VIII burned down to ashes the famous Globe Theatre. Most probably it was an interest in the Tudors as a whole in English history.
The book is really a biography of Thomas Cromwell. It is a fictional biography filled with exciting details about the blood steeped throbbing heart of the butcher’s son who rose to be the King’s right hand man.
The book brings to life the family drama of Henry VIII, his first wife Catherine of Aragon and his second in Anne Boleyn. Dark and poignant. Thomas More and Cardinal Wolsey come alive through a new verbal lens handled superbly by Ms Mantel. The book is a magic portal into the early sixteenth century. It is a time machine in the guise of a book. A must read for historical fiction lovers. Hilary Mantel is a deserving winner of the Booker Prize twice over.