Wolf Hall (Hilary Mantel) - Fourth Estate - 2009 - 651 pages

I am in awe of Ms. Mantel.  I am just stunned by her ability to fill in conversational gaps from 500 years ago.  I would not know how to start.  This historical novel covers only eight years of English history during the reign of Henry VIII as seen through the eyes of his trusted lawyer, Thomas Cromwell.  Cromwell was instrumental in Henry's transition from his first to second spouse.  Not being a Tom Cromwell expert, this was a reading adventure for me since I did not know where the author was going with the subject.  Regarding the difficulty of such a fictional subject, Ms. Mantel had the following comment in the interview that follows the novel: "I knew when I took on this project that it was going to be a very difficult thing to do.  But, ha!  Who's interested in what's easy?"  This is a well-researched and well-executed piece of fiction but I do not recommend it unless you have at least a passing interest in 16th century Europe. [JAM 10/25/2011]