Matthew Battles is the author of Widener: Biography of a Library and Library: An Unquiet History.
Hilary Mantel, one of Britain’s most revered novelists, died last year at the age of 70. She is beloved for her sweeping Wolf Hall trilogy, for which she won two Booker Prizes. But long before rehabilitating Thomas Cromwell’s reputation, Mantel was unparalleled in her crystalline dissections of power, whether between girls at the University of London or Dantonists in the French Revolution. In honor of Mantel’s enormous contributions to literature, dive back into her Tudor world with Penelope Rowlands’s essay about one of the key power dynamics Mantel explored: that between Cromwell and Sir Thomas More.