The second book in a planned three-book series, Hillary Mantel's Bring Up the Bodies continues the story of Thomas Cromwell, advisor to Henry VIII. This audio version fully captures the drama and beauty of Mantell's prose with an excellent reading by Simon Vance.
One of the best!
The book had so many outstanding and memorable moments that I could not possibly single out one.
Vance has the ability to bring life to a variety of men and women with believable sh*ts in accents, intonations, and emotions.
As a student of the Tudor dynasty, I crave historically accurate and compelling interpretations. Until now, my attention has centered on the royals with barely a nod to the supporting cast. Mantel has done an outstanding job fleshing out Cromwell's character and bringing him out from behind the door. My only quarrel with this second book is that Henry VIII is portrayed as a buffoon, driven by his single minded desire for a male heir. Although Cromwell held considerable power, he did not match Henry in intelligence and ability to bring peace to a nation ripped apart by its devastingv civil war that brought the
Tudors to the throne.
This was a great way to experience a great book. I read Wolf Hall in the print edition and enjoyed it, but this was a much more engrossing experience.
Simon Vance's reading was excellent. It was always intelligible; there was differentiation between characters in his reading voice, but not in an annoying artifical way.
The story is told from the point of view of Thomas Cromwell, and a very complex and complicated man emerges from the story.
Well worth the time spent, whether in print or via audio book. I used the voice sync feature for the first time on this book; listening to audio 80% of the time, but occasionally switching to the e-book. That is a very nice and useful technology if you want to pay the extra cost (I was trying a free demo.)
Unlike any version of history I've read. At first it seemed odd, since I had not read Wolf House (first of the trilogy). Soon the storyline and narration fell into place and I could hardly stop listening to it. Compelling, dramatic, illustrative of life in the court and country of King Henry the VIII. I am no history buff, but this book made me eager to learn more about Old England, its monarchy and politics.
His intriguing voice and intonation. His ability to portray the characters distinctly.
Henry and his romances are interesting... but an entire book?lots of characters for a narrator. Good job
Gerard depardieu for henry laura linney and nicole kidman and ann hathaway for the wives.
You have got to be a histiry buff to love this detailed book.
If you love the intrigue from this era then, as I stated in my review of Wolf Hall, you're better off watching "The Tudors" on Showtime.
Simon Vance did better on the narration than Simon Slater, who made Henry sound like a woman trying to sound like a man.
I would not listen to any more from this author.
This is a sequel that delivers on the promise of the first in the series, is even richer in the depth of its characterizations, and leaves the reader hoping for more. Though ostensibly a story of Henry VIII and the reverberations throughout his reign and all subsequent history of his cataclysmic second marriage, the book brings to the forefront the fascinating architect of many of Henry's legacies, both good and bad, the brilliant Thomas Cromwell. Though fictional, the portrait of Cromwell is detailed and highly plausible, and affords the listener a new viewpoint from which to view and judge the action of an otherwise too oft told tale.
Simon Vance never disappoints. In this narration his finest achievement is to maintain throughout the listener's intimacy with Cromwell's inner thoughts, yet at all times preserving the clarity of the narrative. The novel deserves the accolades it has received, and Vance's partnership with the author and superb translation of her intent has resulted in a literary listening experience of the first rank.
The story moved along rapidly
Mantel tells a story relatively well known - the marriages of Henry the VIII - but through the eyes of a secondary (although important) character - Thomas Cromwell.
The man behind the throne?
Among my very best audio experiences. Prose at it's most powerful. As with all historical fiction, we read to inhabit the characters as the events unfold. Mantel brings us inside Cromwell's consciousness and lets us see his life as he may have experienced it. Not just credible, but delicious with the woven texture of detail and dreams. She has created a world of lethal royal politics I love to visit from the safety of my pillows and comforter. I stop listening and awaken to the safety of my contemporary reality, but anticipate pressing the play button and returning to the all too believable world of terror awaiting Mantel's characters.
The King is knocked immobile on the tournament grounds and assumed dead, revealing the fragility of the entire kingdom potentially on the cusp of another civil war. We inhabit Cromwell as he watches the lords drop their courtly masks and betray their true treacherous ambitions. The kingdom is in such a delicate balance we can sympathize with him as he struggles to hold the entire country together and ultimately kill a queen.
Mark, the queen's musician, is invited to Cromwell's table and in a flash of provoked vanity brings down himself, the queen and the lords. The scene amimates how an innocent moment can turn into the deepest of inescapable nightmares made real.
Mantel masterfully brings Cromwell to life for us as she helps us answer the question:"How could an abused blacksmith's son rise above all lords to the pinnacle of power as Henry's most trusted agent?" Runaway child, soldier, merchant, banker, linguist, diplomat, theologian, legislator, facilitator, tactician, confidant, husband, kind father and lethal adversary. No other character moves through so many worlds with confidence and stealth. Aren't we all intrigued by gentleness and deadliness in the same vessel?
As I first started to listen I thought Mantel was venturing into language between prose and poetry. But as I immersed myself deeper into the story I experienced it as a more elevated prose, a form made more powerful by a masterful author.Although Cromwell is the central character, Mantel animates all the characters with distinctive dialogue, revealing details and layers of personality.Henry is drawn as a powerful king as capable of dominating on the tournament field as creating verse for his lovers. Both queens are made human as they stake out their territory and battle for control of Henry and the kingdom. But it is the dialogue of the minor characters and expertly painted detail that fleshes out the entire story as a most memorable experience.
Yes, I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys history, biography, and of course, Wolf Hall. This second book in the series is very well written and superbly performed. The period of history starting with Henry VIII and through Elizabeth I is always interesting, and this series is the first I've read which focuses on Thomas Cromwell.
I can't wait for the third book, even though I already know how it ends.