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Shelf life: Looking at secular books

I guess we all know the story: Henry’s frustration and infatuation, the break with the Pope, Anne’s rise and fall. Wham, bam, England has turned Protestant in a rather inglorious way. Hilary Mantel has entered this tired territory and triumphed. Her 650-page novel relays the story from the perspective of Thomas Cromwell, highlighting the detail of the period and offering a very sympathetic portrait of arguably the key figure in the break from Rome.

Secular Shelf Life Sarah Allen

By Hilary Mantel
Fourth Estate. 650 pages. £18.99
ISBN 978-0-00723-018-1