Dorothy Dunnett died in November 2001. She left behind this anthology, chosen by her from the hundreds of poems which she used in her world-famous series of novels known as THE LYMOND CHRONICLES.
It is a fascinating set of choices, featuring Thomas Wyatt, King James I, extracts from the Psalms, and even an anonymous poem called 'Monologue of a Drunkard' - as Dorothy herself writes, here in one volume is 'the poetry of love, of folk-humour and ballad, the songs of Persian poets and of the troubadours, translated where need be into English.'
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.