This one was less challenging than Wolf Hall, perhaps because I’m practiced now in Mantel’s particular Cromwellian style, or perhaps simply because it’s a shorter book. Mantel keeps masterful track of the dozens of players jousting for position throughout the years around Henry the Eighth, and she manages to be fresh about it in a sea of Tudors pop culture. Not only fresh, but powerfully literary. Mantel won the Booker Prize AGAIN for this second book.

The hunting and death of Queen Anne (that’s hardly a spoiler) seemed a little rushed. I only hope that Cromwell’s death at the end of the trilogy isn’t the same. I assume he dies in the upcoming book, anyway. It has been quite a treat to read a book with Cromwell in it where he is still alive at the end.

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