It was a good retelling of the Henry VIII/Ann Boleyn story.
The plot developed at a good pace and the characterization was engrossing.
I was a little surprised by the overwhelmingly depiction in Wolf Hall of Cardinal Wolsey and Thomas Cromwell. In this book, the same laudatory tone continues. If there is any way to view a positive version of the politics of the time, Hilary Mantel will. The characterizations are well done, but I have a hard time accepting the wildly favorable view taken of the Protestant movement in England. I don't have any strong feelings on the matter, but I feel pretty sure that the reality is not as one-sided as it is in this novel. On the other hand, it is a very interesting version of a well-known story
Narrator brings you into cold, dark settings of castle chambers, into open fields and dark forests and into loud, festive banquet halls.. But at times it became monotonous. Great read for people interested in Henry VII during Anne Bolen's court.
This audiobook is unlike most of the books I order. For whatever reason, I started this book before Hilary Mantel's first one, Wolf Hall. Still, I found it fascinating. You learn a good bit of history, and the story is entertaining. Highly recommend it to others.
I could only by audio and and the story was great
Several memorable parts alot to list
Yes, I am a big fan of Mr. Vance enjoy his work
I liked the title and not sure what I would call it
I enjoyed both books and am informed about the history of the English church
I've just started listening to BUTB -- and I immediately feel something is missing. It is Simon Slater's ability not only to play up Cromwell's tenderness and regrets (as another reviewer mentions), but also (just by his tone of voice?) to underline Cromwell's modern-seeming, stepped-back distance from the events around him. As I read Wolf Hall, I felt that Mantel was portraying Cromwell as an early incarnation of a 20th century man, which gave me a truly new perspective on the much-told story of Henry VIII. Perhaps Slater was not available to read BUTB, or perhaps the choice of Vance was intentional. Maybe More's death has aged Cromwell and hardened him. In the early pages of BUTB, Cromwell no longer can summon his feelings of attraction to Jane Seymour, and his dead wife and daughters have become blood-soaked falcons intent only on prey. Perhaps the chill of Vance's narration better suits this book. I'll find out.
Beautifully and evocatively written, this is the story of the rise and fall of Anne Boleyn and her family. It is told through the eyes of Henry VIII's chief minister, Thomas Cromwell. King Henry appears to be a narcissistic psychopath, a problem if not caused by, certainly exacerbated by his lofty all-powerful political position.
Cromwell, on the other hand, is perfectly aware that what he is doing on the King's behalf is morally and legally wrong. He is simply doing his best to avoid being executed himself. If he takes a deadly revenge for verbal slights along the way he pretends not to enjoy it. At the beginning of this novel, Thomas Moore and Cardinal Wolsey, intimate advisers to the King, have already been publicly humiliated and executed. There is no benefit that would allow a shrewd person to get close to this monarch. He is dangerously paranoid and kills everyone he loves.
I'd particularly recommend this book to people who think capital punishment is a valid legal exercise and that public shaming serves some useful purpose. At one point Cromwell is asked by his son if he believes the queen and her "lovers" are guilty. He says, "They're guilty but not as charged." I have to wonder if, even in our own day, people are wrongfully convicted of crimes and even executed just to get them out of the way.
This is a book teeming with great characters. Nonetheless I became most interested in Thomas Cromwell the protagonist. His thinking is obtuse. His decisions as sly at Machiavelli's. His ability to see three moves ahead in this dangerous and hypocritical court lifestyle raised him from a blacksmith's abused son to The Earle of Essex.
I have and Simon Vance is one of the finest readers of audio books we have currently. His work is consistently engaging and well-researched. His pronunciation is nearly flawless.
Honestly I'd be apprehensive about getting close to anyone in this scenario. I don't think my life would be worth the price of the dinner. That said I'd probably enjoy a conversation with the Princess Elizabeth even at her young age in this story. She was the one who survived and to some extent lifted England out of the depression of these dark days. She did not survive because she had so many supporters. She survived because she knew when to hold back and when to push forward.
Beautifully written, suspenseful, loaded with both physical and mental action. Historical fiction doesn't get better than this.
It's hard to overstate just how good this novel is. Mantel breathes life into characters we have vague notions of from our history books. A rumination on power, survival, and human folly, "Bring Up the Bodies" is flat-out terrific. It works as a stand alone book, but for the complete experience, precede it by reading Wolf Hall.
I can't wait for volume three.
Hilary Mantel and Simon Vance deliver a historical account of the execution of Ann Boleyn with all the fears and powers inherent of living and working for a troubled king. Again we are viewing things through the eyes of Thomas Cromwell, the King's personal Secretary and lawyer. He cleverly entraps Thomas Moore to his doom, and works his magic to save or sacrifice others in the court. Not an easy position to be in. Challenging listening but historically accurate and interesting. But even as we know the outcomes, we continue to hope for certain characters, particularly Cromwell.
Maybe - to refresh when the 3rd book comes out.
Obviously Mantel's characters and their development are fabulous. Besides Thomas Cromwell (our hero), Jane and Henry are the stars. But Anne is wonderfully wicked as well.
I really loved Simon Slater's interpretation - it was incredibly nuanced, funny and intuitive. Simon Vance, while good, is second best in my opinion. I listened several times to Wolf Hall, just to recapture and hear more depths than I might have missed the first go around. The musical intros are dumb - sorry!
Not really - I'm familiar with the history and realize not all here is necessarily based in historic fact, but I love Mantel's ideas of "how it might have been'. Great book!
Bring back Simon Slater!!
Thomas Cromwell, a renaissance man? If you are in any way interested in this period of history (Henry Tudor, his wives and his political advisors) you MUST listen to Simon Vance bring Master Secretary Cromwell to life....along with Henry himself, Anne Bolyen, Thomas Moore and all the other major characters in this amazing, real life saga.
The way Mr. Vance was able to make me see Thomas Cromwell as a human being, not the self-serving politician he has always been presented as through history and fiction. Every moment he spoke as Cromwell I felt even more sympahty for him.
pretty much everything, even his portrayals of women
I would give anything for Master Secretary Cromwell to invite me over for a glass of wine and a chat about intrigue.