Here we have the long anticipated culmination of Hilary Mantel’s Tudor trilogy and it was certainly worth the extended wait. Most will probably be aware of the novel’s subject matter, picking up Thomas Cromwell’s story from the end of Bring Up The Bodies, which concluded with the execution of Anne Boleyn. This new work follows the final years of his life from 1536-40, chronicling his gradual fall from grace from arguably the second most powerful man in England to his untimely demise, ultimately suffering the same fate he had bestowed on enemies and rivals over the years. The skill of the author is to make this inevitable outcome to the story suspenseful, even though the ending is of course well known. Indeed, Cromwell’s fate seems to come almost as a surprise to himself, perhaps blinded by hubris, or maybe complacency eventually encouraged him to take just too many risks. Mantel manages to give us an insight into the inner man behind the public persona as the king’s right hand man, exposing his own self doubts and increasing loneliness as the years pass by. At the end of his story, we are left with the enigma and ambiguities of » Continue Reading.