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.
Superb entertainment, both the narrative and the performance. It cannot be faulted! Can't wait for the next one.
Came to this straight from Wolf Hall and, although it was a little slow to begin with it rapidly gripped me, with the kind of grim horror that this story always has induced in me. Superbly written, obviously, and the feeling of the period wonderfully brought to life!
Wolf Hall, fairly obviously!
Not quite as riveting as Simon Slater was with Wolf Hall, but still easy to listen to.
"Incredible Imagination to detail"
I have to admit that this book started slowly for me as well at first. However, once engrossed in the story, it started to flow. I was amazed by Hilary Mantel's imagination to the tiniest detail, describing both environment and characters so well, that the story comes alive, and the reader can understand everyone's perspective in this very complicated political plot. At the centre of events is Master Cromwell, who is the person orchestrating on behalf of Henry VIII. Mantel's fascination with Cromwell's character is evident and she portrays him as one the most skillful politicians and diplomats in English history. Although the story is about Ann Boleyn, she is not really a character in the book, and there is actually very little of her words in the story. It shows that women had little power over their own destiny in the dark medieval times. This book is a great take on Tudor history and those of you who love historical fiction will love it.
"Wolf Hall part two"
If you have enjoyed Wolf Hall this is more of the same. It continues the story with the same style and pace and is none the worse for it.
"Great novel, shame about the audible file"
I really enjoyed the story of Bring Up The Bodies, great sequel to Wolf Hall, but I wouldn't listen to it again - the Audible file didn't work on my iPod, and even on my laptop, kept skipping words and sentences. Not enough to lose track of the story, but annoying, especially as I contacted Audible several times about this issue and never had any satisfaction from them.
"Should be reinterred"
Sorry but the story did not grab me, nor did the characters. I think this subject has been done to death. I read Wolf Hall and on the back of that i bought Bring up the Bodies but sadly very disappointed. I have only read part of this book and I wont be finishing it.
Phillipa Gregory's books about this period add a new dimension and interest to the subject.
Not if I had to pay for it
Only listened to a small part of the book so cant comment
Can you still return books that you don't enjoy???
"Wonderful, enthralling prose, read beautifully"
Had I had the time I would have devoured this in one go, However the prose is so marvellous it is worth a slow 'read'
The Tudor period is of great interest to me, and it was delightful to find a book that brought history and its protagonists to life without the obligatory bodice ripping style that often infests the work of other commentators on historical characters.
Yes brilliant author has a great way of bring history to life and gives the opportunity to live feel like what it was like in the time of Henry 8
No quite heavy going at times and again took me a while to get into it
"Okaaay I suppose!"
Probably not. I have read/listened to better books on the period and events
The end.... finally!
I'm not sure what those who praise this book so highly are praising. The general details of the story are well known, so it cannot be that. I suppose yes, you are hearing the story from a different point of view to usual, but I'm not sure how much that added to what I already knew!I listened to this because I usually enjoy anything from the Tudor/Henry Viii era, but between the slow laboured story and the equally slow and laboured narration I was just glad when it was over.
"Just found it incredibly dull"
I just couldn't get into this book at all. I felt like I was in school being forced to study something dull. I really tried to get through it, and am now towards the end of the first half but it has made reading (well listening) boring for me and despite my efforts I am giving up on this one (I hate not finishing!) I am going to try something that will revive my joy of books again. I suppose this one just didn't work for me on audio. Maybe its one to read on paper...
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.