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Another astonishing tour de force from Hilary Mantel. A superb portrayal of a 'modern' politician in Tudor England - a brilliant, complex man both humane and brutal, subtle and blunt, ambitious and patient. Beautifully written, deceptively simple in style with flowing narrative, startling, vivid images and perceptive comments on life and people delivered with searing clarity and it all seems so effortless.
Not as well read as by the reader of Wolf Hall (who is superb) - the voices for the different characters are not well defined and the accents poor - but the narrative is well read and it doesn't detract from the excellence of the book.
31 of 31 people found this review helpful
Mantel has produced another masterpiece. I didn't find it quite as satisfactory as Wolf Hall but even so I cannot give it less than 5 stars.
Her command of the period and the ability to make the reader feel they are in the room and know the characters are in my view matchless. This book is more tightly written than Wolf Hall, it is less shadowy and more focused on plot. I must admit I rather missed the dream-like quality and the flights of fancy from Wolf Hall but it is nevertheless a great listen.
One small thing rather bothered me though. Mantel, perhaps stung by some of the criticism of Wolf Hall from readers who didn't know which "he" was being referred to has peppered this book with "He, Cromwell..." etc. I found it a little intrusive, perhaps because I didn't find the references in Wolf Hall caused me any problems.
Simon Vance is an excellent reader but his characterisation was not, for me, quite as sure as Simon Slater's superb voicing of Wolf Hall. I found myself missing Slater's Cromwell a lot.
Despite all of this, I still rate this reading highly.
16 of 16 people found this review helpful
Having absolutely loved the 'Wolf Hall', I have expected this book with a mix of excitement and trepidation, and must say that it is absolutely fantastic. I love the way the story is told as perceived by Cromwell and I also loved some original twists in what has now become a very familiar tale (thanks to Philippa Gregory and 'The Tudors').
The narrator is perfect. I've enjoyed every minute of listening to this book!
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
As in its predecessor (Wolf Hall), Mantel uses Thomas Cromwell to view the unfolding of critical history - the unravelling of the second marriage of Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn. In Cromwell, Mantel re-creates the most fascinating of characters - a consummate man of the world who skilfully negotiates narrow and dangerous paths along the corrupt and unsteady cliffs of the English court. A certain weariness and cynicism can be detected in Cromwell's armour in this second volume of the trilogy-to-be as the compromises of principle heap up. One can only applaud this repeat achievement of massive research presented apparently effortlessly.
The narrator was perfect for the book.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful