Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 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!
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.
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.
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.
Beautifully scripted book.Great Listending
Most memorable is Cromwell's recall of Christmas with his daughters who have since died.
Undoubtedly Cromwell and his struggle to stay afloat in a society where betrayal and greed rules and the Kings word is absolute.
A really great classic. Hilary Mantel's second classic which surpasses the first.
Both books were excellent. I whipped through Bring Up the Bodies without listening to any of my usual podcasts (which is saying a lot!)
The human and political intrigue was gripping throughout.
I loved the dry assuredness of the narrator!
Another astonishing tour de force from Hilary Mantel. A superb portrayal of a 'modern' politician in Tudor England - a brilliant, complex man both humane and brutal, subtle and blunt, ambitious and patient. Beautifully written, deceptively simple in style with flowing narrative, startling, vivid images and perceptive comments on life and people delivered with searing clarity and it all seems so effortless.
Not as well read as by the reader of Wolf Hall (who is superb) - the voices for the different characters are not well defined and the accents poor - but the narrative is well read and it doesn't detract from the excellence of the book.
"Worthy sequel to Wolf Hall"
Mantel has produced another masterpiece. I didn't find it quite as satisfactory as Wolf Hall but even so I cannot give it less than 5 stars.
Her command of the period and the ability to make the reader feel they are in the room and know the characters are in my view matchless. This book is more tightly written than Wolf Hall, it is less shadowy and more focused on plot. I must admit I rather missed the dream-like quality and the flights of fancy from Wolf Hall but it is nevertheless a great listen.
One small thing rather bothered me though. Mantel, perhaps stung by some of the criticism of Wolf Hall from readers who didn't know which "he" was being referred to has peppered this book with "He, Cromwell..." etc. I found it a little intrusive, perhaps because I didn't find the references in Wolf Hall caused me any problems.
Simon Vance is an excellent reader but his characterisation was not, for me, quite as sure as Simon Slater's superb voicing of Wolf Hall. I found myself missing Slater's Cromwell a lot.
Despite all of this, I still rate this reading highly.
"Tudor turbulence continued"
This book takes up where Wolf Hall left off. Henry VIII has married Anne Boleyn but his enchantment with her is waning, especially after his disappointment at her delivering a daughter. He is planning to ditch her and marry Jane Seymore. This short period of history is described in minute detail combining facts with imaginative speculation as to what was said or happened. There were times when the detail and sheer number of names was confusing, but overall it was a good listen. I think Wolf Hall is marginally the better book.
As with Wolf Hall, this short period of history is seen through the eyes of Thomas Cromwell, who, in this book is a less sympathetic character as he becomes embroiled in often repellent manoeuvres to find grounds to get rid of Anne. It must have been a dangerous time to be a member of the Court as Henry is a frighteningly unpredictable, selfish and self-righteous.
I thought the reader did a good job of giving the characters different voices which helped with so many characters to keep track of.
"another stunning novel"
As with Wolf Hall I will also be reading the printed novel, but have thoroughly enjoyed this narrated edition. Simon very clearly chills down Cromwell's voice as he interrogates Anne's "lovers" and elicits ambiguous confessions. I was there in the room with them. Hilary has addressed the problem within Wolf Hall in that you didn't always know who she meant by "he", by changing it in this novel to "he, Cromwell". This is a novel, like Wolf Hall, which I shall keep on my mp3 to dip into again and again.
I read Wolf Hall in print, but, for this sequel, decided on the audiobook and am so glad I did. As it is mostly dialogue it works particularly well in this format, especially with an excellent narrator like Simon Vance. It is as if you had travelled back in time to eavesdrop on the conversations! Hilary Mantel breathes life into her long-dead characters in a quite amazing way. As with Wolf Hall, the story is gripping, entertaining and completely fascinating.
My opinions on this book seem to be in the minority and go against much of what has been said so I will accept that it is me that’s flawed and not the book.
I always listen to books whilst driving and I never have any problems following them. However this book proved a tricky number. The narrators mono-tone voice didn't help much either.
I am sure this book is a literary master piece as everyone is calling it. However it was lost on me. It seemed to keep skipping from one scene to another and I could never keep track of what was actually going on and how it was relevant to the story.
Another bugbear was the author beginning sentences with "He, Cromwell" when referring to Thomas Cromwell. I am sure it is a fancy literary thing which I don't get but it just seemed pointless to me.
I might buy the actual book and see if I have more luck reading it. But for the audio book I must say I found it extremely hard going and not enjoyable.
A book for the more literate and well read perhaps and definitely not to be listened to during a long drive.
"Story telling at its best"
The sequel to wolf hall does not disappoint although I must agree that the narrator's of the abridged and unabridged versions are nowhere near as good as Simon slater
This is a disappointment,the humour is lost and delivery monotone so much so that I am now reading the book rather than listen ending to it
"Tudors but from a different perspective."
My favorite period of history is the Tudors, but there in lies the problem because its been done to death as far as historical novels go. I tried to read Wolf Hall in book form but found it hard to focus so I downloaded it from audible and within half an hour I was lost in the story. When I heard it was going to become a trilogy I was so excited and bring up the bodies didn't disappoint. It continues where wolf hall left off and it's main character is still Thomas Cromwell. The book is well written and doesn't turn into murder mystery/bodice ripping drivel that most novels about Henry VIII and his court turn into lately.
Incredibly well researched and presented. I was hooked from the first chapter. I had not read any of this author's books before, but I am a fan now. The characters are so lifelike you feel almost as if you are there with them! A fantastic feat for someone writing about events of the 16th century. It even had my teenage son listening in and he hadn't the slightest interest in Tudor history-until now. Well done Hilary!
"Not for me!!!"
I agree with the minority on this book. It just didn't go anywhere. I have downloaded books like "The hunger games", "Name of the Wind" and many more which are amazing books. This was to be fair, boring! Sorry.
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