Revolutionary

31 05 2014

A Place of Greater Safety by Hilary Mantel

 

51FwbT3AFpL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU02_

Georges-Jacques Danton: zealous, energetic and debt-ridden. Maximilien Robespierre: small, diligent and terrified of violence. And Camille Desmoulins: a genius of rhetoric, charming and handsome, yet also erratic and untrustworthy. As these young men, key figures of the French Revolution, taste the addictive delights of power, the darker side of the period’s political ideals is unleashed – and all must face the horror that follows.

Capturing the violence, tragedy, history, and drama of the French Revolution, this novel focuses on the families and loves of three men who led the Revolution–Danton, the orator; Robespierre, the cold rationalist; and Desmoulins, a fellow conspirator.

It’s a big book in every sense with a huge cast of characters and masses of action and detail across the terrain of revolutionary France. Impossible to justice to it in a few words but suffice to say it is a tremendous work – dramatic, fast-paced and exciting with plenty of politics and blood. Highly recommended.

 
stars-4-0._V5268001_

Advertisements




Wolfish

29 12 2011

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

‘Lock Cromwell in a deep dungeon in the morning,’ says Thomas More, ‘and when you come back that night he’ll be sitting on a plush cushion eating larks’ tongues, and all the gaolers will owe him money.’ England, the 1520s. Henry VIII is on the throne, but has no heir. Cardinal Wolsey is his chief advisor, charged with securing the divorce the pope refuses to grant. Into this atmosphere of distrust and need comes Thomas Cromwell, first as Wolsey’s clerk, and later his successor. Cromwell is a wholly original man: the son of a brutal blacksmith, a political genius, a briber, a charmer, a bully, a man with a delicate and deadly expertise in manipulating people and events. Ruthless in pursuit of his own interests, he is as ambitious in his wider politics as he is for himself. His reforming agenda is carried out in the grip of a self-interested parliament and a king who fluctuates between romantic passions and murderous rages. From one of our finest living writers, ‘Wolf Hall’ is that very rare thing: a truly great English novel, one that explores the intersection of individual psychology and wider politics. With a vast array of characters, and richly overflowing with incident, it peels back history to show us Tudor England as a half-made society, moulding itself with great passion, suffering and courage.

Terrific stuff. a hugely enjoyable historical novel and Cromwell is an outstanding portrayal. One of the best books have read this year (and OK should have got to it before now). Anyway, highly recommended.








%d bloggers like this: