Thomas Cromwell. Son of a blacksmith, political genius, briber, charmer, bully. A man with a deadly expertise in manipulating people and events. Mike Poulton's two-part adaptation of Hilary Mantel's acclaimed novels 'Wolf Hall' and 'Bring Up the Bodies' is a thrilling and utterly convincing portrait of a brilliant man embroiled in the lethal, high-stakes politics of the court of Henry VIII. 'Wolf Hall' begins in England in 1527. Henry has been King for almost twenty years and is desperate for a male heir, but Cardinal Wolsey is unable to deliver the divorce he craves. Into this volatile court enters the commoner Thomas Cromwell, who sets out to achieve the King's desire, whilst methodically and ruthlessly pursuing his own reforming agenda. In 'Bring Up the Bodies', Anne Boleyn is now Queen, her path to Henry's side cleared by Cromwell. When the King begins to fall in love with Jane Seymour, Cromwell must negotiate within an increasingly perilous court to satisfy Henry, keep the nation safe, and advance his own ambitions. Hilary Mantel's novels are the most formidable literary achievements of recent times. She is the first writer to win the Man Booker Prize with consecutive novels.
Adapted by Mike Poulton, the plays were premiered by the Royal Shakespeare Company at the Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, in December 2013, directed by Jeremy Herrin. This edition contains a substantial set of notes by Hilary Mantel on each of the principal characters, offering a unique insight into the world of the plays and an invaluable resource to any theatre companies wishing to stage them.