Costa Book of the Year, 2012
UK Author of the Year - Specsavers National Book Awards, 2012
Man Booker Prize, Fiction, 2012
By 1535 Thomas Cromwell, the blacksmith's son, is far from his humble origins. Chief Minister to Henry VIII, his fortunes have risen with those of Anne Boleyn, Henry’s second wife, for whose sake Henry has broken with Rome and created his own church.
In Bring Up the Bodies, Hilary Mantel explores one of the most mystifying and frightening episodes in English history: the destruction of Anne Boleyn. This new novel is an audacious vision of Tudor England that sheds its light on the modern world.
©2012 Tertius Enterprises (P)2012 Macmillan Audio
Having absolutely loved the 'Wolf Hall', I have expected this book with a mix of excitement and trepidation, and must say that it is absolutely fantastic. I love the way the story is told as perceived by Cromwell and I also loved some original twists in what has now become a very familiar tale (thanks to Philippa Gregory and 'The Tudors').
The narrator is perfect. I've enjoyed every minute of listening to this book!
As in its predecessor (Wolf Hall), Mantel uses Thomas Cromwell to view the unfolding of critical history - the unravelling of the second marriage of Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn. In Cromwell, Mantel re-creates the most fascinating of characters - a consummate man of the world who skilfully negotiates narrow and dangerous paths along the corrupt and unsteady cliffs of the English court. A certain weariness and cynicism can be detected in Cromwell's armour in this second volume of the trilogy-to-be as the compromises of principle heap up. One can only applaud this repeat achievement of massive research presented apparently effortlessly.
The narrator was perfect for the book.
Brilliant. Just an excellent story and what's more, it actually happened.
Read the other one too - just as good.
The accents, the intonation and the style were excellent.
Henry of course!
A must read for anyone who loves a good story.
Removed me from the 21st century and dumped me in the 16th using brilliant characterisation and imagery.
Enthralling all the way through
Insightful exploration all the way though.
Major and minor characters are both fascinating.
Loved "Wolf Hall" but this sequel is even more enthralling. Dreaded ending the experience. Once finished, I played it all over again. Hilary Mantel's talent is frightening. The narrator, Simon Vance, absolutely nails it. His Henry VIII makes me feel I know him ........which is a worry.
Eclectic mixer of books of my youth and ones I always meant to read, but didn't.
After I finished reading Wolf Hall I had to deliberately stop myself from simply reading this sequel. Perhaps that was a bit indulgent, but it did mean that I was looking forward to this with great anticipation - all positive. I guess I was a bit disappointed when I began to listen.
In part it was because Simon Vance was different in his reading of Cromwell. Henry's voice too had changed. Queen Anne's accent had changed. What was going on? Vance is better than that, I thought. I can be a bit slow sometimes. Then it dawned on me! Of course the voices were different. The characters were different, so why wouldn't the voices be different.
This is a different Cromwell from the one of humble beginnings as a blacksmith's son and then climbing the greasy power pole. Here, he is almost atop of the pole; at the height of his persuasive powers. Mocking Machiavelli as an amateur, avenging his patron and mentor's tormentors; reaping the ultimate revenge on each of the "four paws"and repaying the Queen's jealous dismissal of him in cold,calculating steel. Here is a man, a lawyer, a statesman to be reckoned with. And with that reckoning comes a new surety. He is starting to sound a bit more like Thomas More. He is behaving a bit more like a king. The stage is set now for the ultimate confrontation - king against king-maker. I really can't wait for the final chapter.
I loved the subtlety of this book. Maybe I'm reading too much into it and the change of voice. Maybe it is just a good yarn. But I don't think so. It's much, much better than that. In my opinion, a deserved second time winner of the Man-Booker. Readers of great books should not be disappointed.
Yes, factually interesting - want to keep reading, sorry it ended. Will read more Mantel books.
Very well written, great story. The characters are well developed and believable.
The story picks up from where wolf hall ends, so it is worth reading both in sequence to enjoy the context.
However, by the end of the book I was ready for something lighter.
I would have liked the book to end with a final note on how life ended for Thomas Cromwell and his family but I guess that will likely be the next book.
Rich in detail and imagery, a good historical hit.
A beautifully written evocation of life, politics and intrigue in the court of King Henry VIII as Anne Boleyn falls out of royal favour. A worthy Booker prize winner.
A more in-depth look at a particular passage of time from Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall.
The slow build-up to Anne's execution as she waits in the tower will live in my memory
Thomas Cromwell, consummate politician
I enjoyed this 2nd book about Thomas Cromwell more than the first book as the author's writing of dialogue was clearer. Hilary Mantel deserved the Booker Prize for this one. She is able to transport you into the court of Henry the 8th and she knows how to flesh out her characters. The reader was fine. Highly recommended. I am looking forward to the final book in this trilogy.
Accurate Fascinating Exciting
Execution of Anne Bolyn
First meeting with the jester who plays an old beggar and tricks Cromwell to employ him.
Buy it is a great read, particularly as there will be a further book in the trilogy.
"Oh this is good"
The way it is written, the way it was read, absolutely superb.
I have read other reviews that mention the use of "he, Cromwell". I found that it highlighted the intensity of Cromwell's character and enhanced his presence at the heart of the politics. So for me it was no problem at all.
"Transport Yourself to Tudor Times"
As time travel is not yet available this novel has to be the next best thing. Hilary Mantel evokes Tudor England in such a clear and sensual way that you can feel the delicate touch of the blue and green peacock feather wings in Cromwell's Christmas cupboard and see the sparkle and shine of the jewels Henry sends to woo Jane Seymour. Then there is the insight into Cromwell's mind as his cunning political brain works out ways to manipulate and control everyone around him. Watch in awe as he spins and tightens his inescapable webs. Add to this a masterful narrator who rings the changes with the speaking voices of the characters in an effective but subtle way. Tudor England alive and kicking. Superb!!
"Better than Woolf"
Even though I enjoyed Woolf Hall I have to say that I found this book even more enjoyable. A real page turner. I can't wait for the 3 installment. From what I have read about the main characters in serious history texts I would say that this is exactly how I would imagine them. Hilary Mantel certainly has a soft spot for Thomas Cromwell. It is difficult not to take his side even when perhaps we should not.
This took a little while for me to get into really, mostly because I was worried about the time it would take to complete the book. But actually I think this is the most time effective and enjoyable way I could have experienced this book. As ever, the character of Thomas Cromwell is utterly believable and the details of history are flawlessly interwoven with Mantel's vivid fiction. It's a great buy and cost effective if you use points.
"Bring on the applause"
This excellent sequel to Wolf Hall further demonstrates Hilary Mantel's careful research enlivened by a fertile imagination. The world of the Tudor court under the increasingly tyrannical Henry V111 comes to life on the page. Thomas Cromwell is slowly changing and becoming increasingly ruthless as the book progresses. All of this is enhanced by excellent narration by Simon Vance. A real treat!
"Bring up the Bodies."
The follow up to Wolf Hall - if you thought Wolf Hall was good - this is better !! Set in a period of about a year, it charts Thomas Cromwells life during the 'fall' of Anne Boyeyn. Hilary Mantel makes Cromwell a real and likable character and Simon Vance's voice is perfect for the book. While the book stands on its own - it is better if you have listened to Wolf Hall
An amazing book, absolutely riveting, and beautifully read. I couldn't believe the follow up to Wolf Hall could be anywhere near as good - but it is. Mantel has produced another masterpiece. Her descriptive skills are breathtaking and I found myself totally absorbed in the reading. Even though we all know what happened at this well-documented time in our history Mantel still had me on the edge of my seat as the doomed queen is skilfully outmaneuvered. I can't wait for the third instalment...!
Excellent recount of a very special time. I have listened to this book several times to absorb all the details.
I was concerned that this would be a challenging listen, so I bought Wolf Hall first and was immediately hooked and then dived into Bring up the Bodies.
Wonderful descriptive style that allows the listener to become an active spectator of the time. A great delivery and style, bringing history alive.
"An incredible treat!"
Rarely have I enjoyed an audiobook as much as this one. It is narrated with perfection by Simon Vance (I'm going to check out more by him) and I think in this one, more than in Wolf Hall, Hilary Mantel really hits her stride. The language is so rich it's like sitting down to a feast. I usually buy the hard copy as well, since I like reading in the evenings, without my earphones on, but this time I have to say Vance's narration beats my own inner voice and I find I am willing to listen again to passages I have already read just to hear his voice narrate them. He brings this extraordinary novel to life. I cannot wait for the next volume in the trilogy.
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