What is the true story behind the blockbuster Wolf Hall trilogy—and of Thomas Cromwell, its principal protagonist? This companion guide concisely illuminates both Cromwell’s life and Tudor history, covering the books’ key court and political characters. It looks at everyone from Cromwell to Anne Boleyn, Thomas Cranmer to Jane Seymour, Henry VIII to Thomas Howard, and Cardinal Wolsey to Richard Fox, as well as the most significant sites, including Hampton Court, Cromwell's home Austin Friars, and of course Wolf Hall. Along with the full history of these people and places, there’s insight into Hilary Mantel's individual interpretation. Family trees, plans of Tower of London, and beautiful woodcut portraits accompany the text, along with incisive features on various aspects of Tudor society, from the structure of government and royal hunting to the rules of courtly love and Tudor executions. This beautiful and insightful book enriches the reading of Mantel’s work.