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Bring Up the Bodies Audiobook

Bring Up the Bodies: A Novel

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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

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  •  
    Patrick King Exeter, NH 12-10-13
    Patrick King Exeter, NH 12-10-13 Member Since 2009
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    "Makes one appreciate The Bill of Rights"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    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.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    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.


    Have you listened to any of Simon Vance’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    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.


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

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    Beautifully written, suspenseful, loaded with both physical and mental action. Historical fiction doesn't get better than this.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bernard 10-08-13
    Bernard 10-08-13
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    "Power corrupts......"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matthew 09-28-13
    Matthew 09-28-13 Member Since 2016
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    "Can't wait for Book 3!!"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jessica United States 08-07-13
    Jessica United States 08-07-13 Member Since 2007
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    "I really miss Simon Slater"
    Would you listen to Bring Up the Bodies again? Why?

    Maybe - to refresh when the 3rd book comes out.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    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.


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    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!


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    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!


    Any additional comments?

    Bring back Simon Slater!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elizabeth J. Tarry-crowe Ann Arbor MI 07-09-13
    Elizabeth J. Tarry-crowe Ann Arbor MI 07-09-13 Member Since 2017

    Beer WenchA2

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    "I never thought I'd say it..."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    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.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Bring Up the Bodies?

    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.


    What about Simon Vance’s performance did you like?

    pretty much everything, even his portrayals of women


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

    I would give anything for Master Secretary Cromwell to invite me over for a glass of wine and a chat about intrigue.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David THOMASVILLE, GA, United States 07-02-13
    David THOMASVILLE, GA, United States 07-02-13 Member Since 2014
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    "Better than Wolf Hall"

    Simon Vance did a wonderful job of bringing the characters to life. Thomas Cromwell is a very fascinating character in historical works and even more so here in fiction. Henry VIII comes off as a bit distracted and befuddled. I have read many non-fiction works on the Tudor period and Mantel does a pretty good job of staying within the historical context while weaving an intersting tale.
    Very enjoyable listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brit in Asheville ASHEVILLE, NC, United States 06-23-13
    Brit in Asheville ASHEVILLE, NC, United States 06-23-13 Member Since 2016
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    "disappointing"
    Any additional comments?

    I read reviews of this and with great anticipation bought the book - couldn't wait to delve into these pages - Mantel is lauded as a wonderful writer and this period of history has always been fascinating to me. I admit, it was disappointing. Extra stars to Vance who told the story masterfully and has a wonderful voice. But Mantel's style wasn't music to my ears. I found some of the descriptions of court politics tedious and the numerous characters - apart from the key players - hard to keep separate. Especially irritating was this use of the pronoun 'he' followed by the name 'Cromwell'. What an awkward construction! Why not use simply 'Cromwell', unless the use of 'he' is clear who it refers to?

    I am a great fan of historical fiction and was hoping to discover a new favourite author - but it's back to Ken Follett for me!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer minneapolis, MN, United States 06-20-13
    Jennifer minneapolis, MN, United States 06-20-13 Member Since 2011

    audio book junkie

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    "Against the grain"

    OK this book has amazing reviews. I love period pieces and I love history but I don't know what went wrong here, in my three years of being a member of audible this is the first book I couldn't finish. I just could not get into this book. I tried three times. Starting over each time, the third time I made it 6 hours in and I was bored and just didn't care about it. Maybe it's because I didn't read the first book "Wolf Hall" I'm not sure. Maybe it was the writing, maybe it was the reading, maybe it was the story... something was a miss for me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jose EAST ORANGE, NEW JERSEY, United States 05-27-13
    Jose EAST ORANGE, NEW JERSEY, United States 05-27-13 Member Since 2013
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    "The reason I became a member of Audible"
    If you could sum up Bring Up the Bodies in three words, what would they be?

    This was the type of experience that I had expected or hoped would be among the best audible could provide. The reading allowed me to passively become part of another world. It was a brilliant read that made me feel as though the people were all real, and that I could know their thoughts, motivations and hopes. A brilliant creation of a lost world.


    What about Simon Vance’s performance did you like?

    Was hooked as soon as I heard his voice, with all its cunning and caution. He captured the presumed weary character of Cromwell. A pragmatic, devious, yet mindfully pious and thoughtful man, that was wise enough to know he was playing a deadly game in a jungle where all the animals were predators yet foolish enough to think that he alone would not be devoured in the end.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    At the end of the book, when Cromwell becomes introspective and thinks about the effect that a death had on himself, and knowing that even though he was wiser, more intelligent and thoughtful than his adversaries, he never the less would succumb to the awful fruition of historical forces, forces which he himself would unleash. Some of it was intentioned by the protagonist but other forces unpredictable and unknowable until revealed, until the bitter end, thereby like the others Cromwell outsmarted, becoming his own executioner.


    Any additional comments?

    Took a lot of purchases at audible to get to the one that made all the other duds worth it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    KP Oakland, CA 04-13-13
    KP Oakland, CA 04-13-13 Member Since 2016

    There is no Frigate like a Book To take us Lands away Nor any Coursers like a Page Of prancing Poetry – Emily Dickinson

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Problematic"

    Generally I enjoy historical fiction, however, I didn't really like this book much. For one thing, I felt like names and details were too overwhelming. After a while, I pretty much gave up on TRYING to figure out the characters, and I just let the story wash over me and the characters either stuck with me - or not. Yes, there were interesting parts, learning occurred, and parts were even humorous, but overall I just didn't care much.

    Also, I found her writing to be problematic. Here is the best description of it that I could come up with:

    From Googreads review by Isis, June 2012:
    "Mantel still prefers to overuse her third person pronouns rather than use her main character’s name, which in the previous book could get considerably confusing, however, towards the end of Wolf Hall she begins using “he, Cromwell…” a lot more, and it’s that form that she utilises in Bring Up the Bodies. It admittedly clears up a lot of potential confusion, but I stick by what I said in my review of Wolf Hall, that it renders the “he” altogether redundant and it’s a clumsy solution compared to the simplicity and clarity of just using a character’s name where appropriate!"

    I agree!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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