Thomas Cromwell was a selfmade lawyer who served first Cardinal Wolsey and then Henry VIII. His time with Wolsey was an apprenticeship which served him well in his work for the king after the cardinal s fall from power in 1529. Cromwell s time in office from 1530 until his execution in 1540 was one of the most crucial periods in English history. This biography explores how he tried to manage his relationship with Henry VIII and why he failed. It also shows how he manipulated the politics of the court that eventually destroyed him. The rise and fall of the Boleyns, the dominance of the Dukes of Norfolk and Suffolk, and the executions of Thomas More and John Fisher all play their part in Thomas Cromwell s life. Eventually he overreached himself in his patronage of evangelical preachers and in arranging Henry s marriage to Anne of Cleves, which played a crucial part in his fall and death in July 1540.