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Bring Up the Bodies (2012)

by Hilary Mantel

Other authors: Hege Mehren (Translator)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Wolf Hall Trilogy (2)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
6,1673291,345 (4.33)3 / 979
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?… (more)
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English (319)  Dutch (4)  Spanish (1)  French (1)  German (1)  All languages (326)
Showing 1-5 of 319 (next | show all)
3.5 stars ( )
  natcontrary | Aug 16, 2022 |
The second book in Hilary Mantel’s amazing series on the life of Thomas Cromwell. I seem to have an unlimited capacity for viewing the Anne Boleyn story from different points of view. I know the details already, so you might think it would be boring, but it is anything but. I can never help trembling just a little when Anne is beheaded, and wondering, as we all must, what her state of mind must have been to go from queen to discard so quickly.

This book has the more sensational part of Henry the Eighth’s story, but I will confess that I thought the first book had the better part of Thomas Cromwell’s. Even knowing all the historical details and knowing the part Cromwell played in it, Cromwell always seemed like a background figure to me. I’m not sure I even thought about what he must have been feeling or what kind of man he was before I encountered this series. Having read these two books, there is another historical figure who has come to life for me.

I look forward to the third volume of this series. I want to know what happened to Cromwell, his family and associates after the death of Anne Boleyn. I do not know when it is due out, but it is high on my list of books to buy.
( )
  mattorsara | Aug 11, 2022 |
Brilliant, complex and a complete page-turner. ( )
  SwatiRavi | Jun 27, 2022 |
I really enjoyed this fictional portrayal of Thomas Cromwell during the fall of Anne Boleyn. While we can't say this is an accurate portrait of the real man or the events it relates, since there is not much documentary evidence, it is however a plausible image that Hilary Mantel has conjured up.

I find myself quite sympathetic to the man Cromwell, despite previously thinking of him as a grasping, unprincipled social climber. This version of Cromwell shows him as a human being, trying to navigate a route for himself and his family in one of the most treacherous courts of the sixteenth century. Has Cromwell been unfairly tarnished by taking on to himself the sins of his Sovereign? Certainly we know that Henry blamed those closest to him rather than accept fault in himself. Although this is a work of fiction Mantel has done her homework, but what you are given is a fascinating view of the court of Henry VIII through the eyes of one courtier. ( )
  restimson | Jun 22, 2022 |
Wow. I couldn't put it down. I never read Wolf Hall, but it's my next purchase! ( )
  LeslieHolm | May 19, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 319 (next | show all)
Here, as elsewhere, Mantel’s real triumph is her narrative language. It’s not the musty Olde English of so much historical fiction, but neither is it quite contemporary. The Latinate “exsanguinates” is a perfect 16th-century touch, and so is that final, Anglo-Saxon “gore.” In some of her books, Mantel is pretty scabrous in her descriptions of present-day England, its tawdriness and cheesiness and weakness for cliché and prettifying euphemism. “Bring Up the Bodies” (the title refers to the four men executed for supposedly sleeping with Anne) isn’t nostalgic, exactly, but it’s astringent and purifying, stripping away the cobwebs and varnish of history, the antique formulations and brocaded sentimentality of costume-­drama novels, so that the English past comes to seem like something vivid, strange and brand new.
 
Geen gehijg tussen de lakens in Bring up the bodies (Het boek Henry), geen hete kussen bij maanlicht. Toch is Hilary Mantels versie van de perikelen van de Tudors de meest opwindende ooit.
 
Is Bring Up the Bodies better than, worse than or equal to Wolf Hall? While lacking, necessarily, the shocking freshness of the first book, it is narrower, tighter, at times a more brilliant and terrifying novel. Of her historical interpretations, Mantel says in her afterword that she is "making the reader a proposal, an offer", but what is striking is how little concerned she is with the reader. Her prose makes no concessions to the disorientated: a moment's distraction and you have to start the page again. Mantel, like Cromwell, seems not to mind if we are there or not: she is writing, as he was living, for herself alone.
 
"Mantel knows what to select, how to make her scenes vivid, how to kindle her characters."
added by bookfitz | editThe New Yorker, James Wood (May 7, 2012)
 
We read historical fiction for the same reason we keep watching Hamlet: it's not what, it's how. And although we know the plot, the characters themselves do not. Mantel leaves Cromwell at a moment that would appear secure: four of his ill-wishing enemies, in addition to Anne, have just been beheaded, and many more have been neutralised. England will have peace, though it's "the peace of the hen coop when the fox has run home". But really Cromwell is balancing on a tightrope, with his enemies gathering and muttering offstage. The book ends as it begins, with an image of blood-soaked feathers.

But its end is not an end. "There are no endings," says Mantel. "If you think so you are deceived as to their nature. They are all beginnings. This is one." Which will lead us to the final instalment, and to the next batch of Henry's wives and Cromwell's machinations. How much intricate spadework will it take to "dig out" Cromwell, that "sleek, plump, and densely inaccessible" enigma? Reader, wait and see.
 

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Mantel, Hilaryprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Mehren, HegeTranslatorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Pracher, RickCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vance, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Willems, IneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
"Am I not a man like other men? Am I not? Am I not?"

Henry VIII to Eustache Chapuys, Imperial Ambassador
Dedication
Once again to Mary Robertson; after my right harty commendacions, and with spede.
First words
His children are falling from the sky.
Quotations
What is the nature of the border between truth and lies?...Truth can break the gates down, truth can howl in the street; unless truth is pleasing, personable and easy to like, she is condemned to stay whimpering at the back door.
[The Italians] say the road between England and Hell is worn bare from treading feet, and runs downhill all the way.
You can be merry with the king, you can share a joke with him. But as Thomas More used to say, it's like sporting with a tamed lion. You tousle its mane and pull its ears, but all the time you're thinking, those claws, those claws, those claws.
You have always regarded women as disposable, my lord, and you cannot complain if in the end they think the same of you.
These light nights find him at his desk. Paper is precious. Its offcuts and remnants are not discarded, but turned over, reused. Often he takes up an old letter-book and finds the jottings of chancellors long dust, of bishop-ministers now cold under inscriptions of their merits.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
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Wikipedia in English (1)

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?

No library descriptions found.

Book description
"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?"-- Provided by publisher.

"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?"-- Provided by publisher.
[retrieved from loc.gov (Library of Congress)]
Haiku summary
Anne Boleyn's pride comes
before her fall. By the end
she's a head shorter.
(passion4reading)
Just desserts are served,
Uneasy lies the queen's head,
The usurper's fate.
(hillaryrose7)

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