Bring up the Bodies

Bring up the Bodies

A Novel

Book - 2012
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"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?"--
Published: New York : Henry Holt and Co., 2012.
Edition: 1st U.S. ed.
ISBN: 9780805090031
Branch Call Number: F MAN
Characteristics: 410 p. :,geneal. tables ;,25 cm.


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Jul 23, 2020

Cromwell's a snake! He would fit in well with the Trump administration.

Jul 08, 2020

I appreciate how this author introduces the reader to the characters and their positions and connections to others. A great story about Thomas Cromwell with Henry and Anne being supporting characters.

Apr 08, 2020

The sequel to "Wolf Hall" only gets better, with Mantel's intense portrait of the grisly and dangerous life of shifting alliances within Henry VIII's court. Titles, offices, incomes, and benefits accrue to those in favor, but exile and ruin and the Headman's axe await those whose ambitions fail.

Jul 14, 2019

I can only quote my friend Louise in a review she wrote recently on another book, "I wish every book I read would be as good as this." The sequel to the equally amazing Wolf Hall, Bring Up the Bodies continues Mantel's riveting exploration of the life, times, and character of Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII's right-hand man and fixer. Not only is the story fascinating, but Mantel manages a writing style that's exciting and intriguing on its own. Please - will one of my friends read these already so I can talk about them with someone?!? I hear there's another book on this subject coming from Mantel, but I hope she does more. Cromwell is young yet and this installment took place in a short period of time, only a year or two...

Apr 09, 2019

I exclaimed "better!" when mood was set comparable with Shakespeare's play, for the poetic narration and modern lingo.

Jul 20, 2017

Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies: some of the best work I've read in a decade!

Jun 17, 2016

In Bring up the Bodies, Mantel continues the chronicles she began in her prize-winning Wolf Hall. On its surface an account of Anne Boleyn's downfall as the second wife of Henry VIII, it is simultaneously a peek into the life, personality and machinations of Thomas Cromwell, through whose eyes the tale is told.

I found this second work to be even more engaging than the first, difficult to put down from about 25% in. Cromwell is a bit of an enigma to me. As a reader I'm generally inclined to be sympathetic to the storyteller, and the author is careful to include domestic scenes and instances of kindness and generosity on the part of Cromwell. On the other hand, however, the reader is periodically reminded that as affable a guy he may well be, he's also in a position of power and would undoubtedly do just about anything to remain there.

Jul 19, 2015

This sequel may be even better than Wolf Hall.

Apr 16, 2015

Bring Up The Bodies was, for me, less interesting than Wolf Hall. What I liked in Wolf Hall was Mantel’s detailed picture of life and politics in an England changing from a medieval world to a modern one. It illuminated themes that are still relevant, such as the relationship between the individual and the state (in the person of the ruler), religion, science and economy. Most of these are shifted far to the background in Bring Up The Bodies, or absent entirely.
What we do have is the story of how a ruthless political operative manipulates the machinery of the state for the benefit of his faction, as well as for reasons of personal satisfaction and profit. This of course remains a current theme and there is some interest in seeing exactly how Thomas Cromwell played the power game in the Tudor court (at least as Mantel sees it). But I find I am less interested in the grimy details of who lied to whom, or how a succession of victims is coerced to acquiesce in their own trials. Wolf Hall had a broader context that made for more interesting reading. Thinking of it now, it seems to illustrate the Stalinist purges and the show trials of the 1930s more than contemporary political manipulation (although no doubt there are contemporary parallels).
It is interesting perhaps that Cromwell struggles so single-mindedly to amass power and wealth at the top of the political pyramid in a world that despised him for his common origins. He thinks frequently about how to protect himself should his political fortunes shift, and how to ensure his son a secure place when he is no longer there to arrange things for his son. (And his son does not seem to have the same strength of character of his father, although it seems that he survived to establish his own aristocratic line.) Yet we know that his predecessor and mentor, Cardinal Wolsey, ended up in the Tower, that the historical Cromwell was also arrested and executed. Mantel opens the book with a dream of Cromwell’s children falling from the sky, an image that recurs from time to time. In spite of this rather poignant perspective, though, Cromwell remains an unappealing character. And it is telling that his only friendly relationships seem to be with the foreign ambassadors whose ambitions he wants to block.
In Wolf Hall, Cromwell was a more sympathetic figure as a man of science and reason, particularly as opposed to the fanatical Thomas More. Here, although Mantel uses personal details to reflect on Cromwell’s loss of his wife and daughter, or his hopes for his son, there is very little to make him likeable, particularly when he is so blatant in his personal and political scheming. And Mantel’s style of writing in the present tense with a third person pronoun, although it implies a very personal point of view, is rather distancing since a reader has to pay careful attention to keep track of who the pronouns refer to. Mantel’s rich and poetic descriptive detail does help to bring a reader into the time and place, but this time it was not enough to overcome the limited perspective.
It appears that Mantel wants to create an iconoclastic portrait, a counter to the usual heroic focus on Henry and More. In this, I think she succeeds. No one who reads her books on Cromwell can think of Henry’s rule without being strongly influenced by the shape she puts on it. She creates a strong and detailed portrait of a dramatic figure from history, which perhaps justifies the awards she has won. It’s just disappointing that the portrait in this volume is not more engaging.

Jan 20, 2015

The second entry of Mantel's Thomas Cromwell trilogy maintains the superb quality of writing of the first. Mantel delves deeply into her characters, but lets them reveal themselves through everyday interactions and reflections. Her restrained writing is a welcome relief to the usual soap-opera treatment of this era, and the dramatic events that take place are even more explosive against the background of her particular stylistic tapestry.

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