Hilary Mantel, winner of the 2009 Man Booker Prize, has been picked as the favourite to win 2012's prize, according to bookmakers William Hill.
Mantel's sequel to Wolf Hall, Bring Up the Bodies (Fourth Estate) has been allocated odds of 6/4, just ahead of Will Self's Umbrella (Bloomsbury). Both authors have been favourites during the run-up to the prize.
"First Will Self was favourite, then Hilary Mantel edged into the lead, then punters couldn't split them and now we are making Hilary a very narrow favourite," said Willaim Hill spokesperson Graham Sharpe. "I don't envy the judges having to split them, it could be the most difficult decision yet."
Alison Moore's The Lighthouse (Salt) is in third place, with odds of 5/1; Tan Twan Eng's The Garden of Evening Mists (Myrmidon) has odds of 5/1; Deborah Levy's Swimming Home (Faber) is at 6/1, while Jeet Thayil's Narcopolis (Faber) has odds of 10/1.
The winner of the Man Booker Prize is announced at a ceremony this evening (16th October).