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
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!
Exquisite Historical Novel
Cromwell is a deep, rich and complex character, beautifully scripted by Mantle
I read Wolf Hall but listened to Bring up the bodies. Much to my surprise, I preferred the listening ! The 'voices' attached to the characters seemed more colourful than those I had created in my own head, and the delightful use of the .......pause.....to give weight to Cromwell's real meaning was a great touch. Was totally caught up in the intrigue of Henry VIII court.
Haven't read the print version, but Simon Vance's delivery surely makes the words come alive.
Apart from Cromwell, the development of Jane Seymour and the decline of Anne Boleyn made them both flesh and blood characters rather than historical personages.
I would most definitely listen to this book again. It was clearly written to be read silently, but both this, the 2nd in the trilogy about Thomas Cromwell, and 'Wolf Hall', the 1st book of the trilogy, are excellent when read aloud.A good narrator, and in this instance I refer to Simon Vance, brings the characters alive in your ears. I expect to listen to this book many times again.The prose is magnificent. Written mainly in the present tense, it is vivid and living. I found myself understanding the choices and foibles of Thomas Cromwell, sympathising with Anne Boleyn who is far from a sympathetic character, and wishing Bluff King Hal had more balls!!Mantel's gift for bringing her characters to life, especially given that there has been much written on the main characters in 'Bring Up the Bodies', is very, very good.
I liked the immediacy of the narrative. I was swept along in the events of the era and the decisions made and the atrocities committed, just as if I were a member of the Royal Court surrounding Henry VIII. Hilary Mantel has chosen to use dialogue a great deal of the time. Long descriptive passages are kept to a minimum and as a reader I was right there, watching and listening.These events of Tudor history are so well known that it is easy to forget the drama and anxiety that Henry would have felt knowing that he was aging and had no son to inherit his throne. Henry could not know that the greatest of his children would be his younger daughter. Indeed he could not imagine a woman reigning in her own right. He HAD to find a legal wife who would bear him at least ONE living son.I guess Henry was also driven by his own carnal needs and lusts. Anne Boleyn certainly had it all over him for years.So it is the way in which Mantel has been able to show me, her reader, how desperate Henry felt about the circumstances in which he found himself without legitimate male issue, that has drawn me to this trilogy of books.
As the book closes, Anne is beheaded and Thomas Cromwell realises that he must move on to befriend Jane Seymour. He realises that Henry will want to visit Wolf Hall, the seat of the Seymours sooner rather than later.The last Queen is dead. Let her lie. Forget her, forget she ever was. Move swiftly to the new Queen and get ready for a new marriage, for new possibilities, for a son, please God. Clear the way for His Majesty, make it easy and discreet for him to find his new love and to wed her.The pragmatism of Thomas Cromwell is so well demonstrated.
The moment when Anne Boleyn realises that there is no option but her death for Henry and thus the Tudor line. She will not be allowed to live out her life discreetly in a convent. The only way that Henry can be certain that his next marriage is legal in the eyes of God and men - is for his current wife to be dead.Anne has no power left.
So who am I to criticise the 2012 Man Booker prize winner? A delighted reader who has enjoyed every one of the many minutes it took to read the story to me. Whenever I look at my freshly painted bathroom walls, I think of Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, Catharine of Aragon (more so in 'Wolf Hall') and the other sundry players in this wonderful book!
Only 4 stars, which feels a bit mean, but it's not Wolf Hall (which must be read first for this book to make any sense at all). Wolf Hall was truly exceptional, and any book would be hard pressed to stand up to comparison. The same comment goes for the narrators - which isn't to say that Simon Vance wasn't excellent. I really enjoyed Bring Up the Bodies. Not a lot happens but the cut and thrust of court politics and interpersonal conflicts are utterly intriguing. It is refreshing to read something so intelligent, original and really well written. I hope the final book in the trilogy will be as good as Bring Up the Bodies and don't mind waiting.
Yes, so beautifully written and exquisitely narrated. A very hard act to follow.
Anne at the tower
The scenes in which Cromwell gathers "evidence" of Anne's betrayals.
I will listen to this again and again. Simon Vance truly does Hilary Mantel justice. It took my breath away.
The content is historically fascinating and the author's writing very evocative. The reader was also excellent. Couldn't take off my earphones!!
No - I nearly always prefer the print version but there are many occasions when audio works best for me for one reason or another. Actually, well read audiobooks can have an edge because of the accents etc used by the reader. So, both are excellent!
If it were easier to understand which characters were speaking.
Robert Galbraith Silkworm
I just didn't get on with him
I tried twice but found I drifted and had to rewind so many times I just gave up. That's not happened before, and I listen to lots of audio books.
I've read and listened to many books about historical figures but this was painfully dull. I haven't even listened to it all as it make me feel sleepy so I can't focus on it.
"Bring up the YAWWNN"
A long winded and ponderous novel about the well known and much reviewed life and times of Henry 8th and his wives. Boring, boring, and more boring.even the narrator got on my nerves as his voice sounded the same for all the characters so that I found it hard to differentiate between them. The squeaky voice he attributed to the "King" was nothing like that which was historically recorded as "booming and commanding".
Sorry Ms.Mantell, I dont think I will bother reading anything of your works again
"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.
"Sorry - can't understand the hype about it"
I appreciate that my opinion about this book is contrary to all these raving reviews. However I found it boring, confusing and tedious to listen to. Maybe it was the monotone voice of the narrator but I had problems following the story line and had to rewind several times. For me it was an ordeal to finish the book and I only did it because it had won the Booker Prize (hence I feel guilty for not liking it..)
"Brilliant follow on to Wolf Hall"
Thoroughly enjoyed this book and can't wait for the final installment. We all know what will happen to Cromwell but with these two Hilary Mantel books you can't help but like him and empathise and sympathise with him and the difficulties he had being the chancellor of the Exchequer at the court of Henry V111.
"Captivating - but not as much as Wolf Hall"
I loved Wolf Hall, and, although I really enjoyed this sequel, I missed the complexity of tension without the flux of Cromwell's fortune intertwined with that of the royal house.
Having read Wolf Hall in paperback I decided to listen to this one, and am glad I did. I became completely immersed in Cromwell's world, with all the twists, turns and intrigues, and didn't want it to end. I know it's fiction, but it has sent me back to the history books!
This was my first book narrated by Simon Vance but I thought he read remarkably well - he seemed believable, and no annoying accents. I am just listening to another book where the reader seems to find it necessary to use a very wide range of regional accents to differentiate voices and goes very high-pitched for children's voices, making a 14 year old sound like a 6 year old, which is very distracting and annoying - Simon Vance doesn't do that! He manages the rare feat of having an actively enjoyable voice that doesn't distract.
Great author, great reader, great book - helps that the 'plot' is real! I'd highly recommend it (obviously after reading/hearing Wolf Hall first).
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