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
England 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.
Simon Slater is the narrator of Hilary Mantel’s bestselling book Wolf Hall, which won an AudioFile Earphones Award. Slater’s film credits include Dealers, Iron Lady, Hornblower and Entrapment. His work as a theatrical actor includes a five-year run in the musical Mamma Mia! as Sam Charmichael, as well as Forbidden Broadway (Fortune), Waiting for Godot, and Wind in the Willows (Nuffield Southampton). Slater has made guest appearances in many TV series, including Heartbeat, Birds of a Feather, Doctor Who, Inspector Morse, Lovejoy, Monarch of the Glen and Where the Heart Is. Slater has also appeared in the Theatre Royal In Winchester playing Captain Hook in a performance of Peter Pan during the Christmas season of 2010/2011.