Having praised Wolf Hall to the skies here - for its writing, its takes on court politics and fake news, its take-down of Bolt's Thomas More - now, after an impatient decade, I've devoured all 800+ pages of Book 3, The Mirror and the Light. In truth, Mantel was by any standards an unconscionable time completing the trilogy; but it could fairly be argued she used the time well because there's evidence of a lot more research having been done (if not, errr, nine years worth) and I could just about say it was worth the wait.
We always knew how it would end, of course; and in various learned articles (and interviews with Mantel herself) we'd been given hints as to how she was going to settle her account. The very precise beginning and end of the story-arc (so now get up!) had already been explained by her; and the suggestion had been made that Henry VIII would end up treating Cromwell and everyone else essentially the same as he treated his wives. I'm not sure that latter interpretation / prediction got it right: the dynamic of who's up and who's down in no-holds-barred court politics is unsavoury, but probably quite enough to account for our hero's temporary, but in the circumstances fatal, fall from favour. But Mantel's fabulous extended illustration is taken full-cycle, of how poor a grasp we have on "facts", publicly and privately - even for a man with a memory and a grip on reality as strong as Comwell's.
Wolf Hall has set me back to Foxe's Protestant Martyrs, clearly one of Mantel's main sources. What an amazing text that is: and what a bastard Stephen Gardiner was. Mantel agrees. Or perhaps we now need an author to do for him, contra Mantel, what she's done for Cromwell contra Bolt.
All the book prizes Christendom has to offer surely cannot be far behind. Oh, and the TV version: bring it on (up)!