British writer Hilary Mantel was named one of six finalists for the prestigious Booker literary prize on Tuesday for "Bring up the Bodies," a tale of politics and passion at the court of King Henry VIII.
The novel is a sequel to "Wolf Hall," which won the 50,000 pound ($82,000) prize in 2009. The books follow the king's right-hand man, Thomas Cromwell, as he tries to keep his influence -- and his head -- in treacherous Tudor power circles.
Bookmakers immediately made Ms. Mantel one of the favorites to win the prize. Betting firm William Hill ranked her at 2/1, behind "Umbrella," a century-spanning stream of consciousness book by Britain's Will Self.
The prize, to be awarded Oct. 16, is open to writers from Britain, Ireland and the Commonwealth of former British colonies.
The finalists include a novel set in post-World War II Asia -- "The Garden of Evening Mists" by Malaysia's Tan Twan Eng -- and a novel about Mumbai opium dens -- "Narcopolis" by India's Jeet Thayil.
Books by British writers round out the list: Mr. Self's 'Umbrella"; "Swimming Home," a portrait of the devastation wreaked by depression written by South Africa-born Deborah Levy; and Alison Moore's "The Lighthouse," about a British man's life-changing holiday in Germany.
Founded in 1969, the award is officially known as the Man Booker Prize after its sponsor, financial services firm Man Group PLC. The winner will be announced Oct. 16.