Thomas Cromwell was a self-made lawyer who served first Cardinal Wolsey and then Henry VIII. His time with Wolsey 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 Cromwell's relationship with Henry VIII and why it 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 are all here. Eventually he overreached himself in his patronage of evangelical preachers and in arranging Henry VIII's marriage to Anne of Cleves, which played a crucial part in his fall and death in July 1540.