And the winner is…

Before Christmas, I posted a link to a new poll launched by the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction to find the UK’s favourite historical novel of all time. Today the result has been announced and in first place is…

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel. I’m not at all surprised to see that this book got the most votes, given all the other accolades it has already won – from the Booker Prize to the Walter Scott Prize itself (in 2010) – and its popularity even with readers who don’t usually choose to read historical fiction.

In second and third place are The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff and The Game of Kings by Dorothy Dunnett. I still haven’t read The Eagle of the Ninth, although I’ve enjoyed other books by Rosemary Sutcliff. The Game of Kings, though, I can highly recommend and would personally have ranked above Wolf Hall. Anyway, you can read more about the poll and the results at the Walter Scott Prize website here.

Have you read any of these? Do you agree with the winner?

19 thoughts on “And the winner is…

  1. Kathy says:

    I live in the U.S. but heve to agree that Wolf Hall is a great choice. As a reader of many historical
    novels over many years I think British authors in general do it best.

  2. Lory says:

    I’ve read Wolf Hall. It’s very well done but not my personal favorite. I think Rosemary Sutcliff is a brilliant writer though I have not yet read Eagle either. And as you know, I intend to read Dorothy Dunnett ASAP. These are solid choices – and all women writers, interestingly.

  3. Judy Krueger says:

    I agree it would be a hard choice for first between The Game of Kings and Wolf Hall. I wonder if Hilary has read Dorothy. I have now also read The Queen’s Play and am planning to reread Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies before the final book of that trilogy comes out. I think after reading Dorothy Dunnett I will get even more out of Mantel’s books.

    • Helen says:

      I hope you enjoy your rereads of Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies. I’m not planning to read them again myself before the third book comes out, but it sounds like a good idea!

    • Helen says:

      I think I actually preferred Bring Up the Bodies to Wolf Hall, although I enjoyed both. I’m looking forward to the third one – it’s been a long wait!

    • Helen says:

      I personally think The Game of Kings is better than Wolf Hall, although it’s a very different sort of book so not really fair to compare them. I did love Wolf Hall too, so I agree that it’s a deserving winner!

  4. Jennifer says:

    I’ve read all of them, and while I love all of Dorothy Dunnett’s work, and also enjoyed ‘The Eagle of the Ninth’, I am happy that ‘Wolf Hall’ won. I suspect that the excellent series made it more accessible to many.

    • Helen says:

      I would rather Dorothy Dunnett had won, but if she had to be beaten by anybody I’m glad it was Hilary Mantel and Rosemary Sutcliff, as they are both excellent writers too! And yes, I’m sure the wonderful TV series has played a part in Wolf Hall’s success.

  5. elainethomp says:

    I’m not surprised that Mantel’s work won, it’s more recent, and has gotten a lot of attention. I personally stopped reading midway through the first one, but that’s not a remark on the quality. I wasn’t connecting and didn’t care. Life’s too short to spend hours with characters I don’t care about. Dunnett has been going strong for decades, now, and I’m quite fond of her work. i wonder how Mantel will age?

    • Helen says:

      I voted for The Game of Kings myself, but predicted that Wolf Hall would win, for the reasons you’ve mentioned. I enjoyed Wolf Hall overall, but didn’t connect with the characters in the same way I do with Dunnett’s, so I can understand why you gave up on it.

  6. piningforthewest says:

    I’ve read all of them and I would put The Game of Kings before The Eagle of the Ninth, they’re all great reads though.

    • Helen says:

      I obviously need to move The Eagle of the Ninth a bit higher up the TBR! I’ve read and enjoyed some of Rosemary Sutcliff’s lesser known books, so I’m not sure why I still haven’t read that one!

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