It's About: Henry VIII and his first two wives, Katherine and Anne. The story is told in the third person from the POV of Thomas Cromwell, Henry's lawyer and accountant (I think). Basically, we have the Catholics against the Reformers and the abuse of those religions for the whims and purposes of the King. Henry tries to annul his first marriage with Katherine after twenty years. He removes her from his kingdom and pursues Anne. Anne is a wild child (well according to what is written), and never really stays faithful to Henry. She tries in vain to give Henry a son, but cannot carry a son to full term. In her lifetime, she is only able to give birth to Elizabeth. Henry is a big man and not the healthiest of men. There is some talk about his low libido. I think Anne was a very healthy young woman. I think she needed more than Henry was able to give and pursued that attention with vigor. Henry was not down with this. He begins to become jealous and decides that his marriage to Anne needs to be annulled and if that's not enough, he will not be happy until she is executed along with all of her boy toys. Enter Thomas Cromwell to take the Queen down for Henry. There it is in a nutshell.
My Thoughts: Whoof! I was partly intrigued and partly never so happy to finish a book in my life. First, this book should not be attempted without first reading Wolf Hall. Apparently Mantel is writing a trilogy (one more book to follow this one). I, so liking the idea of this book, made a wrong choice to start with this one. There are about 1 million characters. I read it on my Kindle. This means that the character list in the front of the book was not super handy. Big Mistake. I could not attach to the story because I was never absolutely certain which duke or earl was being referenced and never sure who each was related to or which side they were on. It turned out to be my main book joy killer. So, nope, it didn't do it for me.
Do I Recommend It? Yep. Just be sure to start with Wolf Hall because the first part of Thomas Cromwell's story is of utmost importance to understanding his choices and decisions that he makes in this story.