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Bring Up the Bodies (Thomas Cromwell Trilogy Book 2) by [Mantel, Hilary]
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Bring Up the Bodies (Thomas Cromwell Trilogy Book 2) Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 1,939 customer reviews

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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

‘Bring Up The Bodies succeeds brilliantly in every particle of this: it’s an imaginative achievement to exhaust superlatives’ The Spectator

‘Historical novel? Of course, and probably the best to be published since “Wolf Hall”' Andrew Motion, The Times

‘Mantel’s genius in the retelling of this oft-told tale is her knack of reaching inside people’s heads into the nooks and crannies of their thoughts, seeing what many others don’t …
I hesitate to use the term ‘genius’ but …’ Kathy Stevenson, Daily Mail

‘Bring Up The Bodies should net its author another Booker Prize’ Amanda Craig, New Statesman

‘Where much historical fiction gets entangled in the simulation of historical authenticity, Mantel bypasses those knots of concoction, and proceeds as if authenticity were magic rather than a science. She knows that what gives fiction its vitality is not the accurate detail but the animate one, and that novelists are creators, not coroners, of the human case … In short, this novelist has the maddeningly unteachable gift of being interesting.’ James Wood, The New Yorker

‘…a magnificent encore from first page to last’ Mail on Sunday

‘An outstandingly good read … Fans of ‘Wolf Hall’ will relish this book, but “Bring Up the Bodies” also stands alone’ The Economist

‘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

‘There is no sense in which Bring Up the Bodies is a simple follow-up or continuation of Wolf Hall. More then most, Mantel is a committed revolutionary novelist’ TLS

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.


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1555 KB
  • Print Length: 436 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate (10 May 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006PVYYEG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 1,939 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,209 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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