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
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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.
"Incredible. Step back in time to 1530."
I genuinely cannot think of a listen that I have enjoyed more. The Tudors are tangible. Cromwell is plausible and even likeable. The machinations of politics are mirrored today. It is all too familiar! I fear for him and yet should I? I cannot wait for the last in the trilogy.
"Excellent - as usual"
What more can I say. Really good stuff, well told and narrated. Extremely enjoyable.
"Mantel sets new benchmark"
Historical fiction is difficult to get right, and with this work Mantel creates a new standard of excellence. Writing in the New Yorker James Woods provides the most balanced view of this great achievement. He correctly points out that Mantel's strength is that she does not dwell on historical detail but weaves it seamlessly into the plot so as never to slacken its pace. She is a literary craftsman - every sumptuous sentence drips with character and context. She paints a masterpiece of Thomas Cromwell - his deeds, thoughts, motives and desires. It is a balanced portrait which shows his cunning; his ruthlessness as well as his kindness towards those who have walked the same path but have not shared his good fortune. The narrator is superb - light, incisive, precise and calculated. I cannot recommend this book enough and truly hope it wins the Booker in two weeks time. It is certainly of the same quality as Wolf Hall.
A truly wonderful narration of a gripping, intriguing, part fact/part fiction novel of epic proportions. Hilary Mantel's characters are vividly brought to life in this thrilling novel of Tudor England, its King, Queens, court and courtesans. Never crude nor gratuitous, but vivid and heart-stopping in its depiction of the time. Simon Vance breathes life into the many characters hovering around the main protagonist, Thomas Cromwell, whose consciousness narrates events . Everything is a visual treat, every dank and dark corner odorous. Mantel is an excellent writer, and Simon Vance an excellent narrator - I hope he gets a share of the royalties. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.
"Times change people don't"
I think this old adage is the reason this book, and Wolf Hall works so well. I genuinely felt as though I had spent a couple of weeks in the 16th century by the end of this book. The execution scene was one of the most poignant I had ever read.
"Compelling from start to finish"
A superb listen - the spirit of the age is once again thrillingly evoked in this superb sequal. The narration is equally to the standard of Wolf Hall and I'm surprised that other listeners don't find it so. "He, Cromwell" is an added flourish and didn't put me off at all. The delivery of the final sentence is a little disappointing - but maybe that's because I didn't want this one to finish. 5 stars well deserved.
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