Hilary Mantel's mantelpiece must be groaning under the weight of her accolades - she recently collected her second Man Booker Prize for her novel Bring up the Bodies, sequel to her critical and commercial success, Wolf Hall.
Now I have to admit that I was all over the book when it was released (I bought it and started reading it the day it came out), but I nearly fell off my chair when I heard the news. Mantel deserves every praise coming her way, but I was a little amazed that they gave her the award, only because I had assumed that the fact it was a sequel would earn the book an instant disqualification with the Judges. Looks like they proved me wrong!
Both books have drawn significant attention for the way they provide a sympathetic portrayal of Thomas Cromwell, one of Henry VIII's chief officials, supposed mastermind of the break with Rome and the dissolution of the Catholic monasteries in the mid-sixteenth century.
I recommend that if you haven't yet read them go out and grab them now (although do pay before you leave the store, folks, I'm not recommending theft!).