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Bring Up the Bodies (John MacRae Books) Paperback – 7 May 2013

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Product details

  • Paperback: 406 pages
  • Publisher: Picador USA; Reprint edition (7 May 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 125002417X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250024176
  • Product Dimensions: 14.7 x 0.3 x 21.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,766 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,696,140 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Hilary Mantel is the author of thirteen books , including A Place of Greater Safety, Beyond Black, and the memoir Giving up the Ghost. Her two most recent novels, Wolf Hall and its sequel Bring up the Bodies have both been awarded The Man Booker Prize - an unprecedented achievement.

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Review

'Picks up the body parts where Wolf Hall left off... literary invention does not fail her: she's as deft and verbally adroit as ever' --Margaret Atwood, Guardian

'... a magnificent encore from first page to last' --Mail on Sunday

'This is a great novel of dark and dirty passions, public and private. It is also an exploration of what still shocks us... A truly great story, it rolls on.' --James Naughtie, FT

'... a magnificent encore from first page to last' --Mail on Sunday

'This is a great novel of dark and dirty passions, public and private. It is also an exploration of what still shocks us... A truly great story, it rolls on.' --James Naughtie, FT

'... a magnificent encore from first page to last' --Mail on Sunday

'This is a great novel of dark and dirty passions, public and private. It is also an exploration of what still shocks us... A truly great story, it rolls on.' --James Naughtie, FT --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

About the Author

Hilary Mantel is one of our most important living writers. In winning the Man Booker Prize for Fiction 2012 for Bring Up the Bodies she has become the first British author and also the first woman to win the prize twice. She is the author of twelve books, including A Place of Greater Safety, Giving Up the Ghost, Beyond Black, which was shortlisted for the 2006 Orange Prize, and Wolf Hall, which won the 2009 Man Booker Prize.

--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

412 of 440 people found the following review helpful By Purpleheart TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 15 May 2012
Format: Hardcover
'His children are falling from the sky,' is the arresting opening sentence of the second novel in Mantel's trilogy, exploring the life of Thomas Cromwell at the court of Henry VIII. Hawks at the king's hunting party in Wiltshire have been named after Cromwell's dead daughters, an odd memorial, but one that immediately reminds us of Cromwell's loss of those dear to him, and the cut-throat world in which he is now a key player. 'When they look down they see nothing but their prey, and the borrowed plumes of the hunters; they see a flittering, flinching universe, a universe filled with their dinner.'

As has been observed by others, Mantel is writing at the height of her powers and her language is full of delights. She doesn't burden us with her research, which effortlessly provides the structure to her novel - it is her sensory description which allows us to think we know what it is to inhabit the world of Henry Tudor. She conjures up - with even more skill perhaps - the workings of Cromwell's mind and the political machinations required to serve his king and to remove and execute a queen, according to the law of England. Cromwell has read Machiavelli and clearly thinks he could write better if he had the time - but there are always papers, always business to be attended to if the kingdom is to prosper.

Wolf Hall is an extraordinary novel, fully deserving of its prizes and the praise it gathered; Bring Up the Bodies is its near equal. If Wolf Hall was very much about the fall of Wolsey and the rise of Cromwell to high office, Bring Up the Bodies is about Cromwell holding on to power while Anne Boleyn loses it, and the cost of that to both. Mantel is writing a trilogy and this makes sense for the second act.
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59 of 65 people found the following review helpful By DN PERKS on 14 Aug. 2012
Format: Hardcover
After the superbly crafted Wolf Hall no one could have expected the sequel, Bring Up The Bodies to extend and develop the stylistic writing and brilliantly realized imagery- and yet it does, triumphantly so that as a deliberately shorter 'middle book' of a trilogy the story of Cromwell and the fall of Ann Boleyn, is both dark and totally gripping. This is no filler middle book but a brilliant tour de force of daring and beautiful writing. Whilst in Wolf Hall the narrative imagery and establishment of characters/setting seemed to dominate here it is the dialogue sequences that stand out with wonderfully crafted confrontations between Cromwell and Boleyn and as her world implodes the supposed "lovers" that Cromwell entraps. The daring also comes in Cromwell's thought world as he occasionally lapses into fantasy reverie about the situations that he both creates and is entangled in. His increasing isolation (as he works late and almost constantly) is offset by endless summonses and orders from the king to deal with Boleyn and engineer the marriage to Jane Seymour. In the background there are constant references to Wolsey and More as victims of the kings capricious whims or Boleyns supposed scheming. Within all this Mantel finds time for dark humour (call me rizly) and the wonderful mangling of his name in mock affectionate terms (Henry calls him crumb, Boleyn mangles his name in pseudo French pronunciation) so that he appears to be a shapeshifter- Cromwell uses a protean and prodigious energy to serve all his "masters" whilst himself remaining the master of his own destiny, yet enemies remind him of his probable fate under Henry if he puts a foot wrong. Mantel is highly skilled, sincere and totally in control of her material.Read more ›
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By R. Thompson on 2 April 2013
Format: Hardcover
Having read `Wolf Hall', I was chomping at the bit to read `Bring up the Bodies'. This book is large, heavy; it appears a challenging read from the outset, yet I was hooked. I work an hour away and I carried this book with me on the train everyday if only to capture a quiet moment to indulge myself in Thomas Cromwell's world. When I completed it, I read it again.

Mantel is an incredible writer; her prose brings the court of Henry to life in a manner other writers can only dream of. The characterisation of Cromwell is compelling. Thomas is often portrayed in other volumes as a devious, scheming bully, instrumental the fall of Anne Boleyn, betraying his former mistress when the tide turned against her. Mantel takes the facts of 1536 and puts forward an alternative; Cromwell's motives are understood and I even found I sympathised with his plight, a balancing act of humanism against the impenetrable will of a disillusioned king.

The characters of Anne and Henry are fascinating. For one moment, Cromwell can see Anne's attraction and the next he cannot; the moment has past and therein lays his power against her, she cannot charm him as she does others. Anne acknowledges this and it grates on her; her vanity is wounded and this is her eventual undoing. Henry is the big love in Cromwell's life as the king was to Wolsey previously; yet the king's character is cleverly constructed to imply a deeply flawed individual, spoilt and sulky, yet somehow charismatic. He is neither deserving of devotion nor despicable as a tyrant; his character portrays what we dislike most in present-day politicians etc. - an inability to engage with life in a real world to which they have never been party.
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