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Hilary Mantel: Queen of historical fiction

Historical fiction has been a poorer place since the death of author Hilary Mantel in 2022. Her Wolf Hall trilogy showed historical fiction novels could win literary fiction awards. Mantel won the Booker Prize twice. Wolf Hall won in 2009, and its sequel Bring Up the Bodies won in 2012. The Mirror and the Light was longlisted for the Booker Prize in 2022. The novels are set between 1500 and 1535. They describe the rise to power of Thomas Cromwell in the court of Henry VIII.

Cromwell was a real person and rose from humble origins. He became the right-hand man of Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, who was the king’s adviser. Cromwell eventually became the king’s adviser during a turbulent period in English history. Married six times, Henry led England’s break-away from the Catholic church. Mantel researched each historical figure in great detail. We recommend the Wolf Hall hardcover box set which offers the complete trilogy of Cromwell novels.

Shop for Hilary Mantel books

England in the 1520s is a heartbeat from disaster. If the king dies without a male heir, there could be civil war. Henry VIII wants to annul his marriage and marry Anne Boleyn. The Pope opposes him. Enter Thomas Cromwell.
The sequel to Wolf Hall, this novel delves into the downfall of Anne Boleyn. Over three terrifying weeks, Anne is ensnared in a web of conspiracy, while Jane Seymour waits for her turn with the wedding ring.
Despite rebellion at home, traitors plotting abroad and the threat of invasion testing Henry’s regime to breaking point, Thomas Cromwell’s robust imagination sees a bright future.
London, 1782: center of science and commerce, home to the newly rich and the desperately poor. In the midst of it all is the Giant, O'Brien, a freak of nature. He has come from Ireland to exhibit his size for money.
A memoir of childhood, ghosts (real and metaphorical), illness and family. Giving up the Ghost is Hilary Mantel's five-part autobiography where she considers how being childless influenced her writing.

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