Wolf Hall: A Novel

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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.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Henry Holt and Company
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Published on
Oct 13, 2009
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Pages
560
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ISBN
9781429943284
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Biographical
Fiction / Historical / Renaissance
Fiction / Literary
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Bestselling author and acclaimed historian Alison Weir takes on what no fiction writer has done before: creating a dramatic six-book series in which each novel covers one of King Henry VIII’s wives. In this captivating opening volume, Weir brings to life the tumultuous tale of Katherine of Aragon, Henry’s first, devoted, and “true” queen.
 
A princess of Spain, Catalina is only sixteen years old when she sets foot on the shores of England. The youngest daughter of the powerful monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella, Catalina is a coveted prize for a royal marriage—and Arthur, Prince of Wales, and heir to the English throne, has won her hand. But tragedy strikes and Catalina, now Princess Katherine, is betrothed to the future Henry VIII. She must wait for his coming-of-age, an ordeal that tests her resolve, casts doubt on her trusted confidantes, and turns her into a virtual prisoner.
 
Katherine’s patience is rewarded when she becomes Queen of England. The affection between Katherine and Henry is genuine, but forces beyond her control threaten to rend her marriage, and indeed the nation, apart. Henry has fallen under the spell of Katherine’s maid of honor, Anne Boleyn. Now Katherine must be prepared to fight, to the end if God wills it, for her faith, her legitimacy, and her heart.

Praise for Katherine of Aragon, The True Queen
 
“Alison Weir starts off her fictional series about the wives of Henry VIII with a nuanced portrayal of Katherine of Aragon.”—The Christian Science Monitor
 
“Weir is excellent on the little details that bring a world to life.”—The Guardian

“As always, Weir demonstrates a keen eye for crafting dramatic scenes of beautiful, accurate detail, instilling in the reader a vivid sense of being there. . . . If this greatly impressive inaugural installment is any indication, Tudor lovers have much to look forward to.”—Booklist (starred review)
 
“Vividly detailed . . . Weir brings considerable expertise to her fictional retelling of the life of Katherine of Aragon. . . . [The author] portrays her sympathetically as both credulous and steely.”—Kirkus Reviews
 
“An illuminating and engaging portrait of ‘the true queen.’”—Historical Novels Review
 
“[Weir’s] fresh approach to Henry’s first wife [is] a wonderful place to start for those unfamiliar with Katherine’s story. Weir’s portrayal is far from that of a weak, victimized woman, but one of a courageous, strong, devoted queen fighting for her life and rights. An easy, quick read to begin the series.”—RT Book Reviews

“In this first novel of the Six Tudor Queens series, Alison Weir dazzlingly brings Katherine of Aragon to life. Based on extensive new research, it is a portrayal that shatters the many myths about Henry VIII’s long-suffering first wife. Far from being the one-dimensional victim of history, she emerges as a charismatic, indomitable, and courageous heroine whose story never fails to enthrall.”—Tracy Borman, author of Thomas Cromwell
 
“Yet again, Alison Weir has managed to intertwine profound historical knowledge with huge emotional intelligence, to compose a work that throws light on an endlessly fascinating figure. But her real gift in all of this is making it feel so fresh and alive.”—Charles Spencer, author of Killers of the King
In this second novel of Alison Weir’s epic Six Tudor Queens series, the acclaimed author and historian weaves exciting new research into the story of Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII’s most infamous wife, a woman ahead of her time whose very life—and death—forever changed a nation.

Born into a noble English family, Anne is barely a teenager when she is sent from her family’s Hever Castle to serve at the royal court of the Netherlands. This strategic move on the part of her opportunistic father also becomes a chance for the girl to grow and discover herself. There, and later in France, Anne thrives, preferring to absorb the works of progressive writers rather than participate in courtly flirtations. She also begins to understand the inequalities and indignities suffered by her gender.

Anne isn’t completely inured to the longings of the heart, but her powerful family has ambitious plans for her future that override any wishes of her own. When the King of England himself, Henry VIII, asks Anne to be his mistress, she spurns his advances—reminding him that he is a married man who has already conducted an affair with her sister, Mary. Anne’s rejection only intensifies Henry’s pursuit, but in the absence of a male heir—and given an aging Queen Katherine—the opportunity to elevate and protect the Boleyn family, and to exact vengeance on her envious detractors, is too tempting for Anne to resist, even as it proves to be her undoing.

While history tells of how Anne Boleyn died, this compelling new novel reveals how fully she lived.

Praise for Anne Boleyn, A King’s Obession

“Superb . . . page-turning biographical fiction, hauntingly and beautifully told . . . psychologically penetrating.”—Historical Novels Review

“Immaculately researched and convincing . . . This tale of Anne’s ascent and demise cannot escape comparisons with Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall series.”—The Times

“A tragic, misrepresented figure, one of history’s original nasty women . . . Weir’s fictional Anne is ferociously smart and guilty of nothing but craving the power that's rightfully hers to claim.”—NPR

“One of historical fiction’s most compelling and exciting portraits of the enduringly fascinating and mysterious Anne Boleyn.”—Lancashire Evening Post

“As always, Weir demonstrates a keen eye for crafting dramatic scenes of beautiful, accurate detail, instilling in the reader a vivid sense of being there.”—Booklist
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