So sad to hear of the death of author Hilary Mantel, who suffered from pain for a significant part of her life.
Her historical trilogy about 16th-century royal adviser Thomas Cromwell fired my imagination with its present-tense, almost poetic writing. It made Cromwell and the people of his time as real as someone in the room. The books made you feel like you were riding along inside Cromwell’s head.
Only the first one, “Wolf Hall,” has been turned into a miniseries starring the impeccable Mark Rylance as Cromwell.
That got me to read the books, including the two sequels, “Bring Up the Bodies” and “The Mirror and the Light,” chronicling the rest of Cromwell’s life before his head was separated from his body.
His crime? He disappointed the king he had served so well. And his political enemies poisoned the air against him. Of all the people Henry VIII had executed, Cromwell was the only one he publicly regretted. By then, Henry was suffering from constant agony, much like Hilary Mantel herself.
So, thank you to Mantel for bringing this complicated historical figure to life for me.
I wrote some pieces of music about Cromwell. One, “Austin Friars,” is named after his home in London. Another one is called “Cremuel.”