Mantel understood that her More, like her Cromwell and her Anne, reflects cultural projections and agendas no less than Bolt's. "All historical fiction is really contemporary fiction," she told me, "We always write from our own time."
That was over three years ago, and during that time the descent into the mental and physical decline that finished Wolsey has felt very familiar. Indeed, I am just a few years younger than Wolsey was at the time of his removal from office.
The stage adaptation of Wolf Hall is extraordinary. It's dark, absorbing, full of intrigue and historical detail. Yet it is also pacey, at times even funny. And incredibly it even feels modern and fresh.
Now, historian Lauren Mackay has looked afresh at Chapuys' letters, returning to his actual words, to decipher exactly what he did have to say. And what he didn't. What emerges in this new book about the Tudor court is a complex diplomatic picture of a lively and clever man who defies the stereotypes perpetuated in some history books to shine as he takes centre stage.