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
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.
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.
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!
audio book junkie
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.
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.
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.
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.
Took a lot of purchases at audible to get to the one that made all the other duds worth it.
There is no Frigate like a Book To take us Lands away Nor any Coursers like a Page Of prancing Poetry – Emily Dickinson
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 haven't read the print version.
Setting Ann up for her fall.
The title character.
The title character because of his insight and his point of view of the events.
I will listen to it again. Like watching a movie again to see what you've missed the first time.
Cromwell is fascinating, and I loved how Mantel created such a full and complex character.
Cromwell was, no doubt, my favorite, but it was fascinating to witness the ruthless rise and eventual decline of Ann Boleyn.
I don't have a favorite scene in this book, but there are many enjoyable images: the falcons in the opening; the repeated imagery of the Cardinal's ring; Cromwell's flashbacks to his upbringing and his growing nostalgia toward his father. Of course,the final scene is indelible.
I can't wait until the third novel! I am looking forward to reading more of Mantel's work.
Mantel has an interesting take on this period in English history- she tells the story through Thomas Cromwell's eyes.
the continuing conversations between Cromwell and the Emperor's ambassador.
good, overly dramatic
I enjoy listening to books while working out.
The final scene when Queen Anne is led to her beheading.
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