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Publisher's Summary

Man Booker Prize, Fiction, 2012

The sequel to Hilary Mantel's 2009 Man Booker Prize winner and New York Times best seller, Wolf Hall delves into the heart of Tudor history with the downfall of Anne Boleyn. Though he battled for seven years to marry her, Henry is disenchanted with Anne Boleyn. She has failed to give him a son and her sharp intelligence and audacious will alienate his old friends and the noble families of England. When the discarded Katherine dies in exile from the court, Anne stands starkly exposed, the focus of gossip and malice. At a word from Henry, Thomas Cromwell is ready to bring her down. Over three terrifying weeks, Anne is ensnared in a web of conspiracy, while the demure Jane Seymour stands waiting her turn for the poisoned wedding ring. But Anne and her powerful family will not yield without a ferocious struggle. Hilary Mantel's Bring Up the Bodies follows the dramatic trial of the queen and her suitors for adultery and treason. To defeat the Boleyns, Cromwell must ally with his natural enemies, the papist aristocracy. What price will he pay for Anne's head?

©2012 Hilary Mantel (P)2012 Macmillan Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
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I really miss Simon Slater

Would you listen to Bring Up the Bodies again? Why?

Maybe - to refresh when the 3rd book comes out.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Obviously Mantel's characters and their development are fabulous. Besides Thomas Cromwell (our hero), Jane and Henry are the stars. But Anne is wonderfully wicked as well.

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

I really loved Simon Slater's interpretation - it was incredibly nuanced, funny and intuitive. Simon Vance, while good, is second best in my opinion. I listened several times to Wolf Hall, just to recapture and hear more depths than I might have missed the first go around. The musical intros are dumb - sorry!

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Not really - I'm familiar with the history and realize not all here is necessarily based in historic fact, but I love Mantel's ideas of "how it might have been'. Great book!

Any additional comments?

Bring back Simon Slater!!

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I never thought I'd say it...

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Thomas Cromwell, a renaissance man? If you are in any way interested in this period of history (Henry Tudor, his wives and his political advisors) you MUST listen to Simon Vance bring Master Secretary Cromwell to life....along with Henry himself, Anne Bolyen, Thomas Moore and all the other major characters in this amazing, real life saga.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Bring Up the Bodies?

The way Mr. Vance was able to make me see Thomas Cromwell as a human being, not the self-serving politician he has always been presented as through history and fiction. Every moment he spoke as Cromwell I felt even more sympahty for him.

What about Simon Vance’s performance did you like?

pretty much everything, even his portrayals of women

If you could take any character from Bring Up the Bodies out to dinner, who would it be and why?

I would give anything for Master Secretary Cromwell to invite me over for a glass of wine and a chat about intrigue.

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  • David
  • THOMASVILLE, GA, United States
  • 07-02-13

Better than Wolf Hall

Simon Vance did a wonderful job of bringing the characters to life. Thomas Cromwell is a very fascinating character in historical works and even more so here in fiction. Henry VIII comes off as a bit distracted and befuddled. I have read many non-fiction works on the Tudor period and Mantel does a pretty good job of staying within the historical context while weaving an intersting tale.
Very enjoyable listen.

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disappointing

Any additional comments?

I read reviews of this and with great anticipation bought the book - couldn't wait to delve into these pages - Mantel is lauded as a wonderful writer and this period of history has always been fascinating to me. I admit, it was disappointing. Extra stars to Vance who told the story masterfully and has a wonderful voice. But Mantel's style wasn't music to my ears. I found some of the descriptions of court politics tedious and the numerous characters - apart from the key players - hard to keep separate. Especially irritating was this use of the pronoun 'he' followed by the name 'Cromwell'. What an awkward construction! Why not use simply 'Cromwell', unless the use of 'he' is clear who it refers to? <br/><br/>I am a great fan of historical fiction and was hoping to discover a new favourite author - but it's back to Ken Follett for me!

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  • Jennifer
  • minneapolis, MN, United States
  • 06-20-13

Against the grain

OK this book has amazing reviews. I love period pieces and I love history but I don't know what went wrong here, in my three years of being a member of audible this is the first book I couldn't finish. I just could not get into this book. I tried three times. Starting over each time, the third time I made it 6 hours in and I was bored and just didn't care about it. Maybe it's because I didn't read the first book "Wolf Hall" I'm not sure. Maybe it was the writing, maybe it was the reading, maybe it was the story... something was a miss for me.

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  • Jose
  • EAST ORANGE, NEW JERSEY, United States
  • 05-27-13

The reason I became a member of Audible

If you could sum up Bring Up the Bodies in three words, what would they be?

This was the type of experience that I had expected or hoped would be among the best audible could provide. The reading allowed me to passively become part of another world. It was a brilliant read that made me feel as though the people were all real, and that I could know their thoughts, motivations and hopes. A brilliant creation of a lost world.

What about Simon Vance’s performance did you like?

Was hooked as soon as I heard his voice, with all its cunning and caution. He captured the presumed weary character of Cromwell. A pragmatic, devious, yet mindfully pious and thoughtful man, that was wise enough to know he was playing a deadly game in a jungle where all the animals were predators yet foolish enough to think that he alone would not be devoured in the end.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

At the end of the book, when Cromwell becomes introspective and thinks about the effect that a death had on himself, and knowing that even though he was wiser, more intelligent and thoughtful than his adversaries, he never the less would succumb to the awful fruition of historical forces, forces which he himself would unleash. Some of it was intentioned by the protagonist but other forces unpredictable and unknowable until revealed, until the bitter end, thereby like the others Cromwell outsmarted, becoming his own executioner.

Any additional comments?

Took a lot of purchases at audible to get to the one that made all the other duds worth it.

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A very interesting point of view

Would you consider the audio edition of Bring Up the Bodies to be better than the print version?

I haven't read the print version.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Bring Up the Bodies?

Setting Ann up for her fall.

Which character – as performed by Simon Vance – was your favorite?

The title character.

Who was the most memorable character of Bring Up the Bodies and why?

The title character because of his insight and his point of view of the events.

Any additional comments?

I will listen to it again. Like watching a movie again to see what you've missed the first time.

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Complex and Corrupt Cromwell

What did you love best about Bring Up the Bodies?

Cromwell is fascinating, and I loved how Mantel created such a full and complex character.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Cromwell was, no doubt, my favorite, but it was fascinating to witness the ruthless rise and eventual decline of Ann Boleyn.

Which scene was your favorite?

I don't have a favorite scene in this book, but there are many enjoyable images: the falcons in the opening; the repeated imagery of the Cardinal's ring; Cromwell's flashbacks to his upbringing and his growing nostalgia toward his father. Of course,the final scene is indelible.

If you could rename Bring Up the Bodies, what would you call it?

Wolf Hall

Any additional comments?

I can't wait until the third novel! I am looking forward to reading more of Mantel's work.

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A story that doesn't get old

What made the experience of listening to Bring Up the Bodies the most enjoyable?

Mantel has an interesting take on this period in English history- she tells the story through Thomas Cromwell's eyes.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Bring Up the Bodies?

the continuing conversations between Cromwell and the Emperor's ambassador.

What three words best describe Simon Vance’s performance?

good, overly dramatic

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  • Judith
  • Guys Mills, PA, United States
  • 02-11-13

Henry the Unhappy

Would you consider the audio edition of Bring Up the Bodies to be better than the print version?

I enjoy listening to books while working out.

What did you like best about this story?

The final scene when Queen Anne is led to her beheading.

Have you listened to any of Simon Vance’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No

Who was the most memorable character of Bring Up the Bodies and why?

Both queens.