We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access.
 >   > 
Bring Up the Bodies: A Novel | [Hilary Mantel]

Bring Up the Bodies: A Novel

Though he battled for seven years to marry her, Henry is disenchanted with Anne Boleyn. She has failed to give him a son and her sharp intelligence and audacious will alienate his old friends and the noble families of England. When the discarded Katherine dies in exile from the court, Anne stands starkly exposed, the focus of gossip and malice. At a word from Henry, Thomas Cromwell is ready to bring her down.
Regular Price:$27.99
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Your Likes make Audible better!

'Likes' are shared on Facebook and Audible.com. We use your 'likes' to improve Audible.com for all our listeners.

You can turn off Audible.com sharing from your Account Details page.

OK

Publisher's Summary

Man Booker Prize, Fiction, 2012

The sequel to Hilary Mantel's 2009 Man Booker Prize winner and New York Times best seller, Wolf Hall delves into the heart of Tudor history with the downfall of Anne Boleyn. Though he battled for seven years to marry her, Henry is disenchanted with Anne Boleyn. She has failed to give him a son and her sharp intelligence and audacious will alienate his old friends and the noble families of England. When the discarded Katherine dies in exile from the court, Anne stands starkly exposed, the focus of gossip and malice. At a word from Henry, Thomas Cromwell is ready to bring her down. Over three terrifying weeks, Anne is ensnared in a web of conspiracy, while the demure Jane Seymour stands waiting her turn for the poisoned wedding ring. But Anne and her powerful family will not yield without a ferocious struggle. Hilary Mantel's Bring Up the Bodies follows the dramatic trial of the queen and her suitors for adultery and treason. To defeat the Boleyns, Cromwell must ally with his natural enemies, the papist aristocracy. What price will he pay for Anne's head?

©2012 Hilary Mantel (P)2012 Macmillan Audio

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (1614 )
5 star
 (946)
4 star
 (432)
3 star
 (154)
2 star
 (47)
1 star
 (35)
Overall
4.4 (1394 )
5 star
 (860)
4 star
 (347)
3 star
 (123)
2 star
 (37)
1 star
 (27)
Story
4.5 (1381 )
5 star
 (900)
4 star
 (332)
3 star
 (106)
2 star
 (23)
1 star
 (20)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Doggy Bird Glen Ridge, NJ USA 07-05-12
    Doggy Bird Glen Ridge, NJ USA 07-05-12 Member Since 2015

    Avid reader of classics and fiction, history and well-written genre novels. Music lover and huge audiobook fan.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    617
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    142
    102
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    82
    11
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Wonderful narration, beautifully told tale"

    Simon Vance does such a good job narrating this sequel to Wolf Hall I listened a second time just to savor it again. Very strong images and rhythmic text, dialogue enhanced by reading as the different voices and personalities are distinct and add flavor. Shorter than the first book due to a much tighter time frame, this book concerns only the fall of Anne Boleyn. Important events of Cromwell's life are revisited helping to illuminate objects and memories for readers who have not read the first volume. Fascinating view of a well known historical event as imagined by the author from the point of view of Thomas Cromwell, it is particularly of interest for those who are familiar with this period of history.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kimberly VERONA, PA, United States 06-13-12
    Kimberly VERONA, PA, United States 06-13-12 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    55
    7
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not up to Wolf Hall's standards"
    If you could sum up Bring Up the Bodies in three words, what would they be?

    condemned by infertility


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Thomas Cromwell remains my favorite character because in him we see the makings of a statesman who held his own with royalty. Indeed, Henry VIII does not understand yet just how valuable Cromwell is. Cromwell is one of the few common men of humble birth who has ever been able to ascend to the pinnacle of power without having to be born into it or win it by combat. He is an everyman, a bureaucrat and a bit of a polymath. Kind to his servants, intuitive about what motivates people and skillful at using that motivation to benefit his king and country. He behaves humbly around those who think they are his betters but his humility is just a ruse. He subtly asserts himself and no one puts Cromwell in a corner.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The scene where Henry is knocked unconscious during a jousting tourney is my favorite. Suddenly, everyone's ambitions are revealed. But Cromwell puts his state and country first by defending the body of the king and he does this because he knows how close the country still is to a civil war. This scene is particularly well written and one can only imagine what Cromwell saw in the eyes of the dukes and other high level courtiers when the chance to sieze the throne was only a breath away.
    One can only imagine what the courtiers saw in Cromwell's eyes and whether this was the moment of realization that lead to his eventual downfall. It was a moment when ancient feudal rite met modernity and for a moment, the feudalists blinked.


    Who was the most memorable character of Bring Up the Bodies and why?

    Jane Seymour comes across as a very clever girl. Maybe it wasn't always her goal to become queen, like Anne Boleyn, but Jane was someone who took advantage of opportunity and used her naturally reserved demeanor to promote her family. She's more like a cunning fox than a wolf.


    Any additional comments?

    My biggest problem with this book is that it hold up well in comparison to Wolf Hall. I realize that some listeners may have had problems with Wolf Hall because it is written in a non-linear style, part historical fiction, part biography. It tended to meander a bit with parts of Cromwell's domestic and inner life juxtaposing with current events in a not altogether easy to follow manner. But these are minor quibbles for a listener. Hilary Mantel is an author of extraordinarily lovely and powerful language. I was completely swept away by Wolf Hall because I had such a clear picture of what made Cromwell tick.
    But Bring Up The Bodies seems to have "benefitted" from a more rigorous editing step. Someone slashed the size of this book down to an more manageable size but left a lot of material on the cutting room floor. Virtually nothing is said of the histories of the men who went to the scaffold with Anne. Some information comes through in their interviews with Cromwell but this is quick and not well fleshed out. We still don't know why Henry cut Anne off after her last miscarriage. I thought miscarriages were more common back then so there had to be another reason, perhaps medical, why Henry didn't think Anne would ever produce a son. There's no insight from doctors where they are saying, "Ah, yes, we've seen this kind of thing before. The first child is healthy but no other children live. No one knows why but we have seen that some families are plagued with it."
    And then there is the motivation of Cromwell himself. It sounds like a combination of just serving the king and the desire to wreck revenge on the courtiers who continually pushed their social superiority in his face. I am unconvinced. It could be the lack of documentation but if anything, the earlier parts of Cromwell's life were more sparsely documented while this part was historic. Where Mantel allowed her mind to wander in Cromwell's in the first book, making for a coherent and consistent picture of this complex man, she pulls back in the second leaving Cromwell's personal feelings and motivations more mysterious and inscrutable. He comes across as more Iago than a Renaissance man, leaving us to continue to puzzle over the Anne Boleyn incident and his role in it. What a shame. She needn't have hurried the second book. Some things take time and need to develop at their own rate. I hope she reverts to form with the third book.

    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    CHET YARBROUGH LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, United States 10-17-14
    CHET YARBROUGH LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, United States 10-17-14 Member Since 2015

    Faced with mindless duty, when an audio book player slips into a rear pocket and mini buds pop into ears, old is made new again.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    252
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    723
    320
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    11
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "THE PLAY'S THE THING"

    “Bring Up the Bodies” fictionally recreates the history of King Henry the VIII’s schism with the Roman Catholic Church. Hilary Mantel writes the story of Anne Boleyn’s demise and Thomas Cromwell’s role as the King’s henchman in separating Boleyn’s head from her body. Mantel’s “Bring Up the Bodies” reminds one of Hamlet’s “The play’s the thing!” which will out the truth.

    Anne Boleyn is never characterized as a weak, simpering woman but as a passionate, calculating, and forceful female that refuses to be cowed by the King, Cromwell, or her lascivious and narcissistic family. She hates like a man but uses her feminine allure to seduce a King and transfix a multitude of suitors.

    Mantel shows that Henry the VIII is the dominant force in decisions made in England but the instrument of execution for the King’s decisions is the brilliant, irreligious pragmatist and tactician, Thomas Cromwell. Mantel’s first book, “Wolf Hall”, sets the stage for Thomas Cromwell’s rise to power; Mantel’s second book “Bring Up the Bodies” is the play, with Cromwell as the main actor, the Queens as supporting actresses, and noblemen as bit-players; with the King as producer and director.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Troy 04-29-13
    Troy 04-29-13

    I grew up on Golden Age Radio, I love to learn about a great many things, and I enjoy a wide variety of genres. Me, bored? Never!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1024
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    399
    282
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    105
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A Great Character Study"

    As with the first in the series, Wolf Hall, Hilary Mantel spins the Tudor story through the eyes of Thomas Cromwell and makes him realistic and relatable at the same time. This part of the story will take you through to the end of Henry VIII's marriage to Anne Boleyn. The politics and intrigue of this time are intricate to say the least, and Mantel glides through it all like a born navigator, adding that extra depth to what you read in the history books. I even learned a couple of little things that I had to look up to verify.

    Simon Vance, as always, is superior. Usually it's jarring when a new narrator steps in, but I'm convinced Vance should read pretty much anything dealing with historical England... and a great many other things besides. Just as Mantel adds depth to Cromwell, so too does Vance add that little something extra that's needed to bring the writer's ideas to life.

    For my part, I'm left wanting more and hope there's another volume on the horizon.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Desiree United States 04-28-13
    Desiree United States 04-28-13 Member Since 2009

    Researcher/oral historian and fitness enthusiast from Austin, TX, currently residing in San Diego. I love to read, but traditional books require a person to be sedentary while reading. Audio books make it possible for me to increase both my physical activity and reading quantity.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    26
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    104
    20
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    4
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Different Narrator Makes a Big Difference!"

    1. Beautiful, creative, award-worthy writing and a new perspective on a timeless historic tale.

    2. Stands alone.
    It is not necessary to get the first book in the series (Wolf Hall) as Bring Up the Bodies does fine as a stand-alone work, but I am very glad that listened to Wolf Hall prior to Bring Up the Bodies as knowing details and characters in the back story was immensely helpful.

    3. New narrator is a big improvement.
    Unlike Wolf Hall, Bring Up the Bodies does beautifully in the audio format and was very easy to follow because the narrator does such an excellent job. Though Wolf Hall is just as good if not better than Bring Up the Bodies, I gave an unfavorable review to Wolf Hall because I found it hard to follow and hard to stomach in audio format. I mentioned that the narrator might be the cause of this, but I wasn't sure. After listening to a different narrator for Bring Up the Bodies, I am100% sure that the change in narrator made all the difference in my listening experience.



    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brock DONOSTIA-SAN SEBASTIAN, Spain 04-12-13
    Brock DONOSTIA-SAN SEBASTIAN, Spain 04-12-13 Member Since 2015

    So much to learn, and so little time to sit down and read. Thanks Audible.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    449
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    107
    56
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    51
    10
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A waste of 14 hrs and 30 minutes (out of 14:35)"

    After reading all the great reviews I was eager to read this book. I really like the learning that comes with books about history, and I love a good novel. In my opinion this book was neither. It was boring to read, and seemed SO tedious. I got sick of hearing Cromwell's voice, and it felt like he was in every scene.

    Books about historical events have the disadvantage of the reader already knowing the ending, but the good ones are able to insert twists and intrigue throughout the story. With this book I felt Mantel just kept plodding toward the finish line like a race with just one turtle.

    The five worthwhile minutes mentioned in my headline are because this is a good historical story, it's just that it could be explained by a history teacher in 5 minutes. Then you'd still have time to go home and listen to a good book.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer MESA, AZ, United States 10-13-12
    Amazon Customer MESA, AZ, United States 10-13-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    24
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    88
    14
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent historical novel"

    I enjoyed Wolf Hall and wanted to listen to the sequel. What a stunning writer, Mantel is-- beautiful, lyrical, and complex. Mantel's treatment of Cromwell is much more sympathetic than that of other writers of the Tudor period in English history. The narration is also excellent. A bookclub friend and I agreed that these two books are much more "readable" in the auditory rather than print versions.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sten Vedbaek, Denmark 09-23-12
    Sten Vedbaek, Denmark 09-23-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    20
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent read"
    What did you like best about this story?

    Mantel is an excellent story teller with a rich language and a form entirely her own.
    In Bring up the Bodies she fully delivers on the expectations I had after hearing/reading Wolf Hall.


    What about Simon Vance’s performance did you like?

    Simon Vance reads the novel magnificently and help bring the characters discretely to life, so the story and characters and dialogue stands out and the narrator is almost unnoticed in the background.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    One of the best audible reads out there.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Donn C. Fullenweider 06-11-12 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    9
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "How can history be so much fun to read?"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Bring Up the Bodies to be better than the print version?

    Mantel with her wonderful dialogue and scenes touches the emotions in this story but Vances voice makes us feel the emotion each character is feeling that we could only assume in reading rather then listening. The voice and emotion that he gives each character makes the story come alive. It was perfect for me


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Cromwell


    What about Simon Vance???s performance did you like?

    It was great.


    If you could take any character from Bring Up the Bodies out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    I doubt there's any one in this story I would be comfortable with having dinner.


    Any additional comments?

    I have read several historys of this period and have takien courses in English history. No doubt the many movies of the period have influenced me but Hilary Mantel's treatment of the dialogue and understanding of the characters helps explain much that was not clear but I belive is a true version of what occurred. The plots, the betrayals and the skill of Cromwell, as a master of carrying out the wishes of his king which he treats as the only measure of morality, is written in such a way for me as if the writer was there at the time.Cant wait for the next installment of this fascinating description of this period of history even though we all know the outcome.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Margaret San Francisco, CA USA 08-27-12
    Margaret San Francisco, CA USA 08-27-12 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    958
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    106
    81
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    153
    12
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not the same T. Cromwell"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    I would've liked this book more if I hadn't just read Wolf Hall. This is a very different Thomas Cromwell.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    Remove the positive recollections of Walter Cromwell - considering Wolf Hall, they didn't make any sense.


    What does Simon Vance bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I never considered Queen Anne had a French accent.


    Could you see Bring Up the Bodies being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    No.


    6 of 9 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.