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Mantel, Hilary

Entry updated 13 March 2023. Tagged: Author.

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(1952-2022) UK author, best known for the nonfantastic Wolf Hall sequence of historical novels beginning with Wolf Hall (2009), which deals with the career of Thomas Cromwell (1485-1540) (see Sir Thomas More). Some of her work is of more direct interest. The Mysterious Stranger who gives his name to Fludd (1989), which is set in a small town in the England of 1956, may be the Devil, though he is far more likely to be an "Rosicrucian" manifestation of the historial Robert Fludd (1574-1637), and though the supernatural occurrences which attend his visit lead not only to distress but, for some, a cautious but clearly sexual (see Sex) liberation from social and religious trammels. The eponymous giant (see Great and Small) featured in The Giant, O'Brien (1998), whose life is based on the historical giant Charles Byrne (1761-1783), grows with unnatural speed and channels chthonic depths as he attempts to fight off the fierce surgeon and taxidermist John Hunter (1728-1793), who wants to display his bones after he dies young (the Hunterian Museum still retains them). The professional medium who features in Beyond Black (2005) possesses genuine extrasensory powers (see ESP), communicating with genuine ghosts and gaining irrefutable evidence that the Christian Afterlife is a horrorshow (see Horror in SF). "The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher – August 6th 1983" (19 September 2014 The Guardian) is a wish-fulfilment exercise in Alternate History. Hilary Mantel was made OBE in 2006, and ennobled as a dame in 2014. [JC]

Dame Hilary Mary Mantel

born Glossop, Derbyshire: 6 July 1952

died Exeter, Devon: 22 September 2022

works (highly selected)

  • Fludd (London: Viking, 1989) [hb/Russell Ayto]
  • The Giant, O'Brien (London: Fourth Estate, 1998) [hb/Tracey Winwood]
  • Beyond Black (London: Fourth Estate, 2005) [hb/Carl Warner]

collections and stories


previous versions of this entry

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