When traveling abroad, my wife, Nina, and I prefer to explore new terrain on foot. On a visit to the wine country in the Piedmont region of northwest Italy last summer, we left our rented car behind, strapped on light knapsacks, and set off into the vineyards.

beyondrye-thumbTime was when I enjoyed reading about Henry VIII, who really did more than bed and behead Tudor women in his long reign. But Hilary Mantel, winner of two Booker prizes for her back-to-back blockbuster novels, “Wolf Hall” and “Bring Up the Bodies,” gave me a whole new perspective.