The sequel to Hilary Mantel's 2009 Man Booker Prize winner and New York Times bestseller Wolf Hall delves into the heart of Tudor history with the downfall of Anne Boleyn. Though he battled for seven years to marry her, Henry is disenchanted with Anne Boleyn. She has failed to give him a son...
“Anne Boleyn is now thirty-four years old, an elegant woman, with a refinement that makes mere prettiness seem redundant. Once sinuous, she has become angular. She retains her dark glitter, now rubbed a little, flaking in places. Her prominent dark eyes she uses to good effect, and in this fashion: she glances at a man's face, then her regard flits away, as if unconcerned, indifferent. There is a pause: as it might be, a breath. Then slowly, as if compelled, she turns her gaze back to him. Her eyes rest on his face. She examines this man. She examines him as if she is seeing him for the first time, and considering all sorts of uses for him, all sorts of possibilities, which he has not even thought of himself. To her victim the moment seems to last an age, during which shivers run up his spine.”
“What is the nature of the border between truth and lies? It is permeable and blurred because it is planted thick with rumour, confabulation, misunderstandings and twisted tales. Truth can break the gates down, truth can howl in the street; unless truth is pleasing, personable and easy to like, she is condemned to stay whimpering at the back door.”
“For now, Anne seems oblivious to the wings that hover over her...She chatters about her child Elizabeth, holding up on her fingers a tiny cap, a pretty ribboned cap, just come from the embroiderer.Henry looks at her flatly as if to say, why are you showing me this, what is it to me?Anne strokes the scrap of silk. He feels a needle point of pity, an instant of compunction. He studies the fine silk braid that edges the queen's sleeve. Some woman with the skills of his dead wife made that braid. He is looking very closely at the queen, he feels he know her as a mother knows her child, or a child its mother. He knows every stitch in her bodice. He notes the rise and fall of her every breath. What is in your heart, madam? That is the last door to be opened. Now he stands on the threshold and the key is in his hand and he is almost afraid to fit it into the lock. Because what if it doesn't, what if it doesn't fit and he has to fumble there, with Henry's eyes on him....”
“At home, he takes from his chest the Book of Hours that belonged to his wife....Now that he can handle, at his whim, the finest texts in the king's library, the prayer book seems a poor thing; where is the gold leaf? Yet the essence of Elizabeth is in this book, his poor wife with her white cap, her blunt manner, her sideways smile and busy craftswoman's fingers. Once he had watched Liz making a silk braid. One end was pinned to the wall and on each finger of her raised hands she was spinning loops of thread, her fingers flying so fast he couldn't see how it worked. 'Slow down,' he said, 'so I can see how you do it,' but she'd laughed and said 'I can't slow down, if I stopped to think how I was doing it I couldn't do it at all.'”
“The things you think are the disasters in your life are not the disasters really. Almost anything can be turned around: out of every ditch, a path, if you can only see it.”
“He once thought it himself, that he might die of grief: for his wife, his daughters, his sisters, his father and his master the cardinal. But the pulse, obdurate, keeps its rhythm. You think you cannot keep breathing, but your ribcage has other ideas, rising and falling, emitting sighs. You must thrive in spite of yourself; and so that you may do it, God takes out your heart of flesh, and gives you a heart of stone.”
Part One 1. Falcons September 1535 2. Crows Autumn 1535 3. Angels Christmas 1535 - New Year 1536 Part Two 1. The Black Book January - April 1536 2. Master of Phantoms April - May 1536 3. Spoils Summer 1536
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