I would've liked this book more if I hadn't just read Wolf Hall. This is a very different Thomas Cromwell.
Remove the positive recollections of Walter Cromwell - considering Wolf Hall, they didn't make any sense.
I never considered Queen Anne had a French accent.
I finally realized why I don't enjoy the talented and accomplished Simon Vance as a narrator: his voice strikes me as chilly, even though I realize he might in real life be the warmest-hearted person I could ever hope to meet. But what this meant for my "Bring Up the Bodies" listen is that I was left wondering if Hilary Mantel was telling the story of a man (Cromwell) corrupted by power, who had lost some of his human qualities—or if it was just that Simon Slater (for Book One of the series) was better able to express Cromwell's tenderness and regrets. I couldn't tell if Cromwell had changed, or if I was just confused by the change in narrator. Also, while "Wolf Hall" chronicles the rise of the plucky Cromwell and equally plucky Anne Boleyn, and it's the icky Thomas More who loses his head, in "BUtB" it's the demure (and less fascinating) Jane Seymour whose star is rising, and it's hard not to feel sorry for the innocent and/or naive courtiers who end up paying the ultimate price when Cromwell starts calling in accounts. Despite the excellent writing and narration, I didn't enjoy this audiobook as much as its predecessor.
I thought Simon Vance was very good. He brought a lot to the characters. He just didn't have a decent story to work with.
Not that I can think of.
Ann Boleyn? Inconceivable!
Mantel's 2009 Booker Prize winning effort "Wolf Hall", to which this novel is a sequel, suffered, I felt, from a lack of editing. "Bring Up the Bodies" is tauter and, for that reason, actually better.
Vance is always a first-rate narrator, and he doesn't disappoint here.
Anne's final days
This book didn't start getting interesting until about 150 pages in. That's a long slog.
Didn't really matter. It's the writing that didn't do it for me. Though Richard Poe is one of my favorite narrators, so he might have made it a little better.
Spoiler--I did like the scene where everyone thought Henry was dead at the joust.
I don't understand why anyone is giving this book such a high rating. Members of my book club, so it's not just me, couldn't get into this book, either. Some of them totally dumped it. I kept with it even though I didn't like it for more than at first. Finally it started getting interesting about the time they thought (SPOILER ALERT) Henry was dead in the joust, but not. From that point on it was OK. I kept thinking, maybe if I remembered English history. Maybe if I'd read the book before this, though based on this one I had no desire to do so, or maybe I should just go and watch A Man for All Seasons.
Cromwell was the last person on earth whom I could have envisioned as sympathetic in some way. A wonderful re telling of a difficult set of facts.
Been listening when listening to books was unheard of - and on tape. I've evolved along with Audible and love everything about Audible!!
I liked everything in this book. I could listen to Simon Vance 24/7! Consider we know how it all ends, yet I could not stop listening. Hilary Mantel is a master of words.
The author seems to inhabit the subtle brain of Thomas Cromwell, a master strategist and Machiavelli-like advisor to Henry the eighth. And the reader, Simon Vance, was ideal for the subject, with his British accent and thespian's vocal variety.
The execution scene for Ann Bolyn is chilling.
Cromwell himself, with his wry wit, as when he accepts a known spy into his retinue. The spy introduces himself by saying, "Call me Risley". Cromwell shortens this, fondly to a nickname: "Call Me" as if it were the character's first name.
I wouldn't dine with any of them. I would worry about a misplaced word, a subtle poison, a slim blade between the ribs.
I read Wolf Hall in the print version before this one, and I must say that listening to this sequel on Audible was a far better experience.
Great novel, filled with many interesting characters. The narrator did a fantastic job of voicing the characters. I look forward to the next book in this series.