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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

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Mesmerizing look at life in 6th century England

Where does Bring Up the Bodies rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This book and it's audio-performance were richly textured and nuanced making this one of the best audiobooks I have sunk into. It takes a little bit of time to adjust to the meter of the writing and the language of the times ( 16th century). But it is worth the small amount of effort required. This was a wonderful sequel to Ms. Mantel's Wolf Hall.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Thomas Cromwell was a brilliant strategist and administrator for Henry VIII - both in this novel and in history. His role in history might imply that he had a relatively easy life, but through Ms. Mantel's writing it was wonderful to view the challenges and dangers of being so close to the King. Definitely brought this otherwise somewhat boring historical figure to life - and through his eyes and experiences saw many delightful snapshots of life for the everyday working class and the noble class in 16th century England

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

I love the name. When I got to the part of the book in which the title was evoked, I exclaimed "Ah! That is perfect!"

Any additional comments?

The format for iphone is great. Now we need a format for ipad......

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  • M. May
  • Brookfield, CT
  • 02-04-13

Mantel Brings History to Life

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

The second book in a planned three-book series, Hillary Mantel's Bring Up the Bodies continues the story of Thomas Cromwell, advisor to Henry VIII. This audio version fully captures the drama and beauty of Mantell's prose with an excellent reading by Simon Vance.

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  • Silvia
  • Oakland, CA, USA
  • 01-23-13

Behind the door and under the bed

Where does Bring Up the Bodies rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

One of the best!

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

The book had so many outstanding and memorable moments that I could not possibly single out one.

What about Simon Vance’s performance did you like?

Vance has the ability to bring life to a variety of men and women with believable sh*ts in accents, intonations, and emotions.

Any additional comments?

As a student of the Tudor dynasty, I crave historically accurate and compelling interpretations. Until now, my attention has centered on the royals with barely a nod to the supporting cast. Mantel has done an outstanding job fleshing out Cromwell's character and bringing him out from behind the door. My only quarrel with this second book is that Henry VIII is portrayed as a buffoon, driven by his single minded desire for a male heir. Although Cromwell held considerable power, he did not match Henry in intelligence and ability to bring peace to a nation ripped apart by its devastingv civil war that brought the<br/>Tudors to the throne.

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A great way to experience a great book

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

This was a great way to experience a great book. I read Wolf Hall in the print edition and enjoyed it, but this was a much more engrossing experience.

What about Simon Vance’s performance did you like?

Simon Vance's reading was excellent. It was always intelligible; there was differentiation between characters in his reading voice, but not in an annoying artifical way.

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

The story is told from the point of view of Thomas Cromwell, and a very complex and complicated man emerges from the story.

Any additional comments?

Well worth the time spent, whether in print or via audio book. I used the voice sync feature for the first time on this book; listening to audio 80% of the time, but occasionally switching to the e-book. That is a very nice and useful technology if you want to pay the extra cost (I was trying a free demo.)

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Living History

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

Unlike any version of history I've read. At first it seemed odd, since I had not read Wolf House (first of the trilogy). Soon the storyline and narration fell into place and I could hardly stop listening to it. Compelling, dramatic, illustrative of life in the court and country of King Henry the VIII. I am no history buff, but this book made me eager to learn more about Old England, its monarchy and politics.

What does Simon Vance bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

His intriguing voice and intonation. His ability to portray the characters distinctly.

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  • Enid
  • newyork, NY, United States
  • 01-07-13

fascinated by hisyory? this book is for you!!

What did you like best about this story?

Henry and his romances are interesting... but an entire book?lots of characters for a narrator. Good job

Could you see Bring Up the Bodies being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

Gerard depardieu for henry laura linney and nicole kidman and ann hathaway for the wives.

Any additional comments?

You have got to be a histiry buff to love this detailed book.

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  • Jodie
  • Prospect, KY, United States
  • 12-31-12

Better than Wolf Hall but not by much.

Would you try another book from Hilary Mantel and/or Simon Vance?

If you love the intrigue from this era then, as I stated in my review of Wolf Hall, you're better off watching "The Tudors" on Showtime. <br/><br/>Simon Vance did better on the narration than Simon Slater, who made Henry sound like a woman trying to sound like a man. <br/><br/>I would not listen to any more from this author.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Intimate and detailed account of a pivotal time

Who was your favorite character and why?

This is a sequel that delivers on the promise of the first in the series, is even richer in the depth of its characterizations, and leaves the reader hoping for more. Though ostensibly a story of Henry VIII and the reverberations throughout his reign and all subsequent history of his cataclysmic second marriage, the book brings to the forefront the fascinating architect of many of Henry's legacies, both good and bad, the brilliant Thomas Cromwell. Though fictional, the portrait of Cromwell is detailed and highly plausible, and affords the listener a new viewpoint from which to view and judge the action of an otherwise too oft told tale.

What about Simon Vance’s performance did you like?

Simon Vance never disappoints. In this narration his finest achievement is to maintain throughout the listener's intimacy with Cromwell's inner thoughts, yet at all times preserving the clarity of the narrative. The novel deserves the accolades it has received, and Vance's partnership with the author and superb translation of her intent has resulted in a literary listening experience of the first rank.

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  • Debra
  • Horseheads, NY, United States
  • 12-22-12

Even better than Wolf Hall

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

The story moved along rapidly

What did you like best about this story?

Mantel tells a story relatively well known - the marriages of Henry the VIII - but through the eyes of a secondary (although important) character - Thomas Cromwell.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

The man behind the throne?

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  • jack
  • Folsom, CA, United States
  • 12-19-12

English Exceptionalism, the birth of a nation,

Where does Bring Up the Bodies rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Among my very best audio experiences. Prose at it's most powerful. As with all historical fiction, we read to inhabit the characters as the events unfold. Mantel brings us inside Cromwell's consciousness and lets us see his life as he may have experienced it. Not just credible, but delicious with the woven texture of detail and dreams. She has created a world of lethal royal politics I love to visit from the safety of my pillows and comforter. I stop listening and awaken to the safety of my contemporary reality, but anticipate pressing the play button and returning to the all too believable world of terror awaiting Mantel's characters.

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

The King is knocked immobile on the tournament grounds and assumed dead, revealing the fragility of the entire kingdom potentially on the cusp of another civil war. We inhabit Cromwell as he watches the lords drop their courtly masks and betray their true treacherous ambitions. The kingdom is in such a delicate balance we can sympathize with him as he struggles to hold the entire country together and ultimately kill a queen.

Which scene was your favorite?

Mark, the queen's musician, is invited to Cromwell's table and in a flash of provoked vanity brings down himself, the queen and the lords. The scene amimates how an innocent moment can turn into the deepest of inescapable nightmares made real.

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

Mantel masterfully brings Cromwell to life for us as she helps us answer the question:"How could an abused blacksmith's son rise above all lords to the pinnacle of power as Henry's most trusted agent?" Runaway child, soldier, merchant, banker, linguist, diplomat, theologian, legislator, facilitator, tactician, confidant, husband, kind father and lethal adversary. No other character moves through so many worlds with confidence and stealth. Aren't we all intrigued by gentleness and deadliness in the same vessel?

Any additional comments?

As I first started to listen I thought Mantel was venturing into language between prose and poetry. But as I immersed myself deeper into the story I experienced it as a more elevated prose, a form made more powerful by a masterful author.Although Cromwell is the central character, Mantel animates all the characters with distinctive dialogue, revealing details and layers of personality.Henry is drawn as a powerful king as capable of dominating on the tournament field as creating verse for his lovers. Both queens are made human as they stake out their territory and battle for control of Henry and the kingdom. But it is the dialogue of the minor characters and expertly painted detail that fleshes out the entire story as a most memorable experience.