Man Booker books and I have love/hate relationship (short-listed and winners), so I was little leery about picking this one up. But, it's European (English) history, and I love these old tales. And in any event, I had a lot of credits to burn at Audible.
I know more about the reign of Henry VIII and surrounding monarchs than I should, more than enough to get annoyed at most movies and TV shows. But what I really enjoyed about this one was that it looks at the whole thing through the eyes of Cromwell.
He's an extraordinary man living in extraordinary times, and yet this book still brings out the ordinary-ness of his life. His anger/bitterness about his father, his loss and devastation at the losses of his wife and daughters, his confusion and love for his son, and his general /le sigh/ of Henry, et als, shenanigans. At no point do I feel like this book is sensationalizing anything, or adding drama to make it more titillating, instead, some of the mundane, interesting, and difficult tasks are all mixed in, and it makes things seem bolder, stronger without having to get crazy.
He's dry and hilarious and brilliant and boring all together in one, and his voice, his life feels very real in this book. I really enjoyed it.
I read other reviews that didn't like the way it was written. Since it is all about Cromwell, and written in the third person, it references "he" a lot instead of naming him, even after referring to another "he" male. Maybe I babble too much or have friends that do, because I didn't have difficulties at all following the use of pronouns.
I dove immediately into the sequel and I'm looking forward to the last in the trilogy (probably).