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Bring Up the Bodies Hardcover – 10 May 2012
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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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Short of time travel what better way to experience the ways of the court, the arbitrary nature of the law and how precarious it was to be close to the king.
Hilary Mantel has an extraordinary talent with words. At the beheading of Anne Boleyn: "a sound like a whistle through a keyhole: the body exsanguinates, and its flat little presence becomes a puddle of gore."
My dictionary describes exsanguinates as "rarely used," and this book is a rare treat, hopefully to be followed by the final act, both on TV and on the page.
I must admit that I had wondered how the author would treat Cromwell's part in these episodes while remaining empathetic to Cromwell (as the story is written from Cromwell's perspective, and so must show Cromwell in his own honest light); but this was brilliantly done. The author's character portrayal remains true, and Cromwell sails through his life on his even keel. But even as Anne is destroyed, Cromwell is at his most powerful, and yet most vulnerable; if Anne's enemies can remove her from the Court and the world, can they not remove Cromwell also?
A brilliant book, and a brilliant follow-up to Wolf Hall; can't wait for the final book in the trilogy when Cromwell must reconcile his life to his own fate. In this story, at least, he cannot remain a watcher on the sidelines, but must surely have to fully participate in a close investigation of his own moral and ethical values.
Cromwell is complex and fascinatingly portrayed - he is real - we can see him as he bulks out in older age - we believe in him as his household do and we care for him despite knowing his capabilities in the service of King and self - he is a pragmatist - he gives us a rationale for his behavior and we buy in to him totally, or at least I did. This is powerful literature - she is genius - she is funny - she is authentic and this authenticity enables us to accept that while she is filling some of the historical blanks how could we possibly do this for ourselves reading the archives? Who could animate these pictures of Tudor culture life and politics for us but Hillary? I can hear the great roars out there from those who don't feel quite so drawn in as me, however, my greatest fear is that she will not move on through the Tudor line to Elizabeth. You see Hillary I wont know her in my heart and mind unless you introduce us personally so we can spend time together and she stays with me as Henry and Cromwell have. I do insist it is you because others have tried and well failed to produce a good history lesson or novel to grip me. l trust you will do both mind blowingly and brilliantly. Anybody interested in a read that you can't put down this is for you. If you love both literature and history together at its most incisive, most entertaining and enlightening, clever and imaginative this is definitely for you.
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Most recent customer reviews
So excited for the next installment.
Will now have a hard time finding another book I enjoy so much.
So sad I can't read it for the first time again!!