I read and/or listen to a lot of Tudor fiction. Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies are surprisingly inventive, and bring new life to well-worn characters and plot lines--even for someone very familiar with them. Her Cromwell is the most complete and complex representation I've seen. The dark psychology of her works are beautiful and disturbing. It feels like an exploration of human nature and ambition, and the Tudor setting is almost incidental (though faithfully and intricately constructed).
I like books with complex characters and an in-depth examination of relationships. Memoir, mystery, historical fiction are favorites.
A good story. Not really riveting narrative, but interesting. Must needs pay attention to all the details and nuances of the various relationships. Overall, a classy production. Worth a listen.
I enjoyed this second instalment in Mantel's story of Thomas Cromwell. It feels like she's going to keep going. The detail of her writing and her vocabulary is fantastic. The characters, however, remain cold and clinical. While we find out what they think, there is virtually no emotion throughout. I found that quite disconcerting as the stories wades its way through intrigues and beheadings. Perhaps, it is the brilliance of how she depicts Cromwell, always in complete control, that creates a control over the entirety.
Dame Hilary Mantel thoroughly deserved her Man Bookers for these books. With unique styling that the reader quickly gets used to, in this volume she tells the short and tragic history of Anne Boleyn, from the perspective of King Henry VIII's right-hand man, Thomas Cromwell. A historical fiction to be sure, but as with the best of that genre, a source of the truth of that period more memorable than a dozen biographies. The performance was letter perfect. Read these before you see the TV series if you want to make sense of it.
I would listen to Simon Vance read the phone book.
The fact that he has this incredible bit of literature to narrate was only icing on the cake. Better than the print version? I don't know if many audio books are...but this one would qualify.
Wolf Hall, the first in the series. Other than that, Mantel is unique. She's incredibly intelligent and doesn't write down to her readers. Her characters are incredible and her description of settings brings them to life.
If anything, I'd read something that explored this particular era and the Tudor court specifically.
I think I've listened to just about all of Simon Vance's audiobooks. He is an incredible narrator and this is no exception. He brought Cromwell to life.
The second volume in Hilary Mantel's historical novelization of Thomas Cromwell in the court of Henry VIII suffers from one major shortcoming: there's not enough of it. It's noticeably shorter than the first which only exacerbates the misery of waiting for the third.
Mantel's mastery of language and her power to immerse us in a starkly real past almost render the 16th Century into a parallel contemporary universe. The dark intrigue is as palpable as the odors of the kitchens in Cromwell's estate. One almost feels as if one reads the book by flickering taper.
The second volume is murkier than the first - Cromwell is less sympathetic, more calculating as increased power frees and constrains him at the same time. Mantel captures the tension admirably and seasons the account, as ever, with the lofty contrivances of littler people; the "extras" on the stage are all full characters.
Bring up the next one!
1 or 2
No particular moment, not a good question in my opinion.
Yes, well done as usual
"what goes around comes around"
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.
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.