(Mantel’s article appeared in The New York Times, 5/28; via Pam Green.)
Ten years ago, I started to build a theater inside my head. I wanted to tell — or rather, to show — a story about Henry VIII, the second Tudor king. It would be about his court, his country and three of his six wives: one sad, one serpentine, one sneaky. I would create — or unleash, for they were real people — a heaving mob of courtiers, who listened at doors, who opened each other’s letters. I would turn out their pockets and count their cash. I would look into their houses and their hearts. My focus would be the king’s fixer, the ferociously ambitious Thomas Cromwell.