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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

"Bring Up The Bodies" by Hilary Mantel~Heavy History

SUMMARY :   The sequel to Hilary Mantel's 2009 Man Booker Prize winner and New York Times bestseller, Wolf Hall delves into the heart of Tudor history with the downfall of Anne Boleyn.
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?

Shortlisted for the 2012 Man Booker Prize

Published by:  Holt, Henry and Co.
Pages:  435
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Author:  Hilary Mantel
Available thorugh Amazon and Barnes and Noble
Ebook, hard cover, and Macmillan/Audio Book

Find more on:  http://www.hilarymantel.com


Hilary Mantel was born in Derbyshire. She was educated at a convent and later studied law. After ten years abroad in Africa and the Middle East, she returned to Britain in 1985 to make a career as a writer. Her novel Beyond Black was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2005, and she was awarded the CBE in June 2006. Her novel, Wolf Hall, set during the reign of Henry VIII, told mainly through the eyes of Thomas Cromwell, was published by Fourth Estate in May 2009 and won the 2009 Man Booker Prize.


It seems apparent that Hilary Mantel was educated at a convent.  Those nuns know how to teach, and Ms Mantel was obviously an A+ student!  "Bring Up The Bodies" is an example of writing in its finest form.  Not for the faint of heart, this one, but a study in history with a storyline that is at once captivating and complex.

I have to admit that I was an unbeliever when I picked this book up.  Because Ms Mantel has been crowned with so many Man Booker Prizes, I thought it must be redundant and someone was just offering up a nod without really examining other books in the running.  But after having read the book myself, I could see all the merits.  Her prizes and recognition seems well-deserved.

"Bring Up The Bodies" is a better perspective of the last months of Anne Boleyn's life than I've ever read before wrapped in fiction.  While it's encompassed with details of Henry VIII's court and travels/personal habits throughout England during this period of his reign, it isn't bogged down with unnecessary details. Mantel shows the intrigue and political mechanisms with aplomb.  Her power in writing works to make the story flow while it becomes more absorbing from a human perspective--as she tightens the political noose around poor Anne's neck.

Characterization is in top form.  Cromwell is a Machiavellian figure while engendering a sort of begrudging sympathy from the reader for his "middle man" entrapment.  He's set to solving the Sovereign's discontent while trying to remain true to himself.  He's a character I loved to hate.   The displaced Queen Katherine is stronger in spirit before she dies than in most novels and I applauded this concept.  And, of course, Henry and Anne are dealt with in genius and brilliance.  Mantel's characters while living personages of rank and reign, are also human and "normal" in their desires.

Hilary Mantel is a writer who stands head and shoulders above most writers of the day.  She particularly does that in her genre of historical fiction.  While the book may be weighty, it is well worth the read.  Beautiful and brilliant.

I highly recommend this one.

5+ stars               Deborah/TheBookishDame


Find it for sale on:  Amazon          

This is an unabridged audio edition of Disc 1




I started to read Bring Up the Bodies, but decided to read Wolf Hall first. Hope to find them both again at the library.


I need to read Wolf Hall, myself. I'm such an Anne Boleyn fan, I had to read this one first! She's an amazing historical figure and Ms Mantel does her so well.

Marlene Detierro

No matter whether you are early in the book where the pace is more relaxed, or late and rushing to judgement, there will be turns of phrase that cause you to stop astonished. You will backtrack, read again, and force your eyes to follow the story forward. Still, your mind will miss the next few sentences; you will be lost in the insistent poetry of four or five words turned on the lathe of Mantel's imagination.

Marlene Detierro (Rogue River Fishing)

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