Tuesday 14 Aug 2018 | 18:54 | SYDNEY
Tuesday 14 Aug 2018 | 18:54 | SYDNEY

In the court of Henry VIII


Sam Roggeveen


3 March 2010 09:51

Several colleagues and one ex-colleague recommended Hilary Mantel's novel Wolf Hall to me last year. I was put off because I'm embarrassingly unfamiliar with the historical period depicted in the book. But I relented recently and although I have some grumbles about the book, I am quite engrossed in the story, in the history, and in some brilliant writing. Take this description of the political atmosphere around Henry VIII's court:

There's a feeling of power in reserve, a power that drives right through the bone, like the shiver you sense in the shaft of an ax when you take it into your hand. You can strike, or you can not strike, and if you choose to hold back the blow, you can still feel inside you the resonance of the omitted thing.

'The resonance of the omitted thing'. Sometimes you just have to stand back and applaud.

Photo by Flickr user John Kroll, used under a Creative Commons license.