This book is a tome. It needs a lot of commitment to get through it, but in my opinion it was very much worth it. I started reading this book in English but it was extremely hard to follow for me (not just because nearly every other character's name is Thomas) and thus I got a German copy from my library. It still was a lot of work but at least I knew what was going on.
Hilary Mantel is a breathtaking, witty and sophisticated writer. I loved reading about the distribution of power, intrigue and manipulation at the British royal court in the 1620s. King Henry VIII is in need for a male heir, that's why he wants to get a divorce from Queen Katherine, but the pope wouldn't let him have one. So Henry needs to become not only head of state but head of church in Britain to marry Anne Boleyn. The man helping him to get what he wants is Thomas Cromwell, an eloquent and persuasive man, who does not only represent the King's interests but his own, too. Though Cromwell is a manipulator I got the impression of him as an amiable character. Being the son of a blacksmith, he worked his way up to court, gaining more and more influence, enemies and friends.
The writing was also very amusing and entertaining. I often found myself laughing or wanting to read passages to my partner to share the fun or to discuss things that were going on. We enjoyed talking about the book and some times (evenings, weekends) he asked me to read out loud for us.
I think Mantel found a bold but all new sight on British history. Wolf Hall is not a piece of historical fiction from the rack but a work of epic force, sharing new ideas, which very well deserved a prestigious award like the Booker prize.
My favorite quote:
“It is all very well planning what you will do in six months, what you will do in a year, but it's no good at all if you don't have a plan for tomorrow.”