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HBO, BBC and Wolf Hall. Oh my!

This is exciting! It looks like HBO and BBC are going to adapt the historical fiction novel Wolf Hall as a mini-series. Tinker Tailer Soldier Spy co-writer, Peter Straughan is going to adapt Hilary Mantel's Man Booker prize-winning work into a four piece television show for both HBO and BBC2. The writer of the films, The Debt and The Men Who Stare at Goats; Wolf Hall is Straughan's television debut.  The fictionalized biography is set in the 1520's world of King Henry VIII's court in medieval England. The story has been told time and time again, of course, of Cromwell, helping Henry VIII get an annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon in order to marry Anne Bolyn. The Other Bolyn Girl, The Tudors are just two recent examples that come to mind. The thing is, Henry VIII is one of the world's most intriguing historical figures. Talk about a man who did all his thinking with his dick! (Forgive me) And the abuse of power! Absolutely unbelievable but of course we eat it up. It's high drama at its best, better than any tale the best novelist could concoct.

Here's how the publisher describes the book:

England in the 1520s is a heartbeat from disaster. If the king dies without a male heir, the country could be destroyed by civil war. Henry VIII wants to annul his marriage of twenty years, and marry Anne Boleyn. The pope and most of Europe opposes him. The quest for the king’s freedom destroys his adviser, the brilliant Cardinal Wolsey, and leaves a power vacuum.

Into this impasse steps Thomas Cromwell. Cromwell is a wholly original man, a charmer and a bully, both idealist and opportunist, astute in reading people and a demon of energy: he is also a consummate politician, hardened by his personal losses, implacable in his ambition. But Henry is volatile: one day tender, one day murderous. Cromwell helps him break the opposition, but what will be the price of his triumph?
In inimitable style, Hilary Mantel presents a picture of a half-made society on the cusp of change, where individuals fight or embrace their fate with passion and courage. With a vast array of characters, overflowing with incident, the novel re-creates an era when the personal and political are separated by a hairbreadth, where success brings unlimited power but a single failure means death. Sounces: amazon.com, deadline.com