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Bring Up the Bodies [Paperback]

Hilary Mantel
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,281 customer reviews)
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Book Description

7 May 2013

Winner of the Man Booker Prize 2012, the 2012 Costa Book of the Year and shortlisted for the 2013 Women’s Prize for Fiction.

With this historic win for ‘Bring Up the Bodies’, Hilary Mantel becomes the first British author and the first woman to be awarded two Man Booker Prizes (her first was for ‘Wolf Hall’ in 2009).

By 1535 Thomas Cromwell is Chief Minister to Henry VIII, his fortunes having risen with those of Anne Boleyn, the king’s new wife. But Anne has failed to give the king an heir, and Cromwell watches as Henry falls for plain Jane Seymour. Cromwell must find a solution that will satisfy Henry, safeguard the nation and secure his own career. But neither minister nor king will emerge unscathed from the bloody theatre of Anne’s final days.

An astounding literary accomplishment, ‘Bring Up the Bodies’ is the story of this most terrifying moment of history, by one of our greatest living novelists.


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Bring Up the Bodies + Wolf Hall + A Place of Greater Safety
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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate (7 May 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007315104
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007315109
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.8 x 4.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,281 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 186 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.

Product Description

Review

‘The greatest modern English prose writer working today’ Sir Peter Stothard, Chairman of the Man Booker Prize

‘“Bring Up the Bodies” is simply exceptional…I envy anyone who hasn’t yet read it’ Sandra Parsons, Daily Mail

‘A gripping story of tumbling fury and terror’ Philip Hensher, Independent on Sunday

‘In another league. This ongoing story of Henry VIII’s right-hand man is the finest piece of historical fiction I have ever read. A staggering achievement’ Sarah Crompton, Sunday Telegraph

‘Great novel – worthy companion to Wolf Hall … Hurry up with the third novel Hilary’ Daily Express

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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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
373 of 398 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'But that was long ago and in another country' 15 May 2012
By purpleheart TOP 100 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
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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44 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fine body of work 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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148 of 169 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful prose but not the equal of Wolf Hall 11 Jun 2012
Format:Hardcover
Had Amazon given me the option, I think I would have given this 3.5 stars. It's a beautifully written book which is, at times, touching, funny, tense and always intelligent. I certainly devoured it. Nevertheless, I found it a lesser novel to Wolf Hall for several reasons. (Minor spoilers below if you are not familiar with Tudor history).

Firstly, whilst it carried on the tale of Cromwell, I didn't feel that it added much thematically to what had already been explored in Wolf Hall. There were additional considerations on statecraft and age but so much territory had already been covered that it felt like an addendum to the previous novel rather than a discreet work. Compare it, for example, to "I, Claudius" and "Claudius the God", which tell two halves of a story but use the two halves to explore quite distinct themes; consequently, both Claudius novels feel fresh in a way that Bring up the Bodies doesn't.

I also found the plot less rewarding - I think because it deals with a difficult transitory period concerning the pomp and fall of Anne Boleyn. Therefore, the actions lend themselves less easily to a novel than the passage of Cromwell from Putney bruiser to Master of the Rolls and Secretary to the King as told in Wolf Hall. There is a less clear direction of travel for our main protagonist and he has less agency in the journey he goes on, at times seemingly 'going through the motions'. This sets up some nice comparisons with the fall of Wolsey but I couldn't escape the feeling that the interrogation of Boleyn's lovers, for example, was a less brilliant literary execution (pardon the pun) than that of Thomas More in the first novel. It just seemed more pedestrian and, I think, that is because Mantel had less juicy historical ingredients to play with.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars I hardly expected such a page turner from a historical novel, but it...
An excellent read and now I look forward to more of Thomas Cromwell in the third book of the trilogy. Masterful.
Published 15 hours ago by Graham M Goddard
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
As everybody knows by know, this author can write.
Published 16 hours ago by Eliakim
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent. Loved reading about Thomas Cromwell
Excellent. Loved reading about Thomas Cromwell.
Published 1 day ago by Mary Hetherington
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Good read
Published 1 day ago by Mr. R. C. G. Brierley
4.0 out of 5 stars excellent
A gripping account, superbly written. The author is a master of describing human emotions. Her tense psychological grip is never more clearly demonstrated than in the one sided... Read more
Published 3 days ago by A James
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Bought for someone else. Not my kind of book!
Published 4 days ago by HappyBob
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Hard work but fascinating.
Published 4 days ago by Kimbo
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent in every way
Excellent in every way..first class writing, three dimensional characters, great pace, plot development..I really felt bereft when I finished this book!!! Read more
Published 5 days ago by Branwen Patagonia
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read
Not as eloquent as wolf hall but still well written and a real page turner. Hoping for the final episode in the Cromwell sequel.
Published 5 days ago by fred
2.0 out of 5 stars Bring up the bodies
Very hard work, disappointed as it has had such a lot of raves
Published 7 days ago by Lizzibizz
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