Concerned that the Tudors were saturated in the literary field, I was pleasantly surprised to find that there is a place for more. The story of Henry VIII's desire for an heir is told through the eyes of Thomas Cromwell. His hard and violent past held my interest straight away and by the end of the book I was desperate to continue his journey - even though I know what his fate is.
Cromwell has always been portrayed as an ambitious and ruthless man, but through this story we see his heart and suffer his losses with him. Mantel uses great detail and intricate research so that we feel the characters come alive in front of us. Her use of the present tense contributes to this.
There are some passages that are so well crafted, original in style and thought that may well secure Hilary Mantel as one of the greatest English writers of all time. A very worthy winner of The Booker Prize plus many other literary awards.
Also in this trilogy Bring Up the Bodies and The Mirror and the Light.
First published by Fourth Estate on 30 April 2009.