Book Review 

Thomas Cromwell: The untold story of Henry VIII's most faithful servant, by Tracy Borman 

In this book, Tracy Borman delves into Cromwell’s life with more detail than many other biographers, including a fantastic insight into his childhood, which is a time we know little about. 

The book portrays both the unimpeachable integrity that Cromwell displayed towards his closest friends and the astute and ruthless self-taught lawyer that Parliament became increasingly dependent upon. Cromwell formed the ‘act of attainder’ making it permissible to convict and execute enemies without their right to a fair trial. Thomas Cromwell was brutal in many ways, from torture to false conviction, however, in the case of his friend Thomas Wyatt, Cromwell is portrayed by Borman as a much more considerate man. This kind nature is described in-depth with the tale of how Cromwell extended the boundaries of his land by twenty-two feet to engulf his neighbours land, thus protecting their families, due to his level of authority, no one dared challenge him. It is this softer side of Cromwell that Tracy Borman explores, changing perceptions of this 'hard' man.

This is a scintillating biography of Thomas Cromwell, and it is clear that Tracy Borman has thoroughly researched all areas of Cromwell’s life. His abilities and character are intricately described from a shadowy early life to Henry VIII’s chief minister. Cromwell’s fall and the elements that conspired against him are written in such an engaging manner, the book truly gets to grips with the fascinating period of history that saw so many significant events unfold; from the break with Rome to the Dissolution of the Monasteries, Borman’s extensive research is apparent.

This is Borman at her best, her portrayal of a complex Renaissance figure who for many years has only been seen on a singular level, will change the perception of Cromwell for many readers. Well worth a read for history enthusiasts. 

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