I've just realized why I find it so hard to stay interested in Wolf Hall. Mantel has been quite scrupulous in adhering to history in terms of incident. This is a period of English history with which I am quite familiar. Consequently, I know everything that's going to happen. For me, losing the element of surprise with a total lack of suspense kills any narrative momentum.
Burgess had to make up most of Nothing Like the Sun, and while I knew the outcome, I did not know the details of Marlowe's life. The court of Henry VIII, though, is like reading a novel about, say, the Bush administration. I know the main players, what unfolded, and the eventual outcome. It might be diverting, for a while, if the author made Dick Cheney the hero (and Colin Powell a villain) but the literary device would eventually grow thin.
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