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Bring Up the Bodies: A Novel (John Macrae…
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Bring Up the Bodies: A Novel (John Macrae Book) (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Hilary Mantel

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3,7012531,415 (4.32)3 / 726
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Title:Bring Up the Bodies: A Novel (John Macrae Book)
Authors:Hilary Mantel
Info:Henry Holt and Co. (2012), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 432 pages
Collections:Your library, historical fiction
Rating:****1/2
Tags:None

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Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel (2012)

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English (256)  Dutch (2)  Spanish (1)  German (1)  French (1)  All languages (261)
Showing 1-5 of 256 (next | show all)
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. ( )
  ryner | Jun 17, 2016 |
Interesting....made me look up the facts in the Live-brary Biography database...
  JulsLane | Jun 15, 2016 |
The order goes to the Tower, 'Bring up the bodies.' Deliver, that is, the accused men..." (pg. 432).

Bring Up the Bodies sees Hilary Mantel continue her fine work from Wolf Hall with another instalment of peerless historical fiction set in the court of King Henry VIII. Whereas Wolf Hall dealt with Henry's divorce from Catherine of Aragon and his subsequent marriage to Anne Boleyn, bringing about a break with the Catholic church, Bring Up the Bodies deals with Anne's dramatic fall and Henry's infatuation with Jane Seymour, who would eventually grant his infamous desire for a male heir. Seeing how the winds are changing, Thomas Cromwell facilitates the fall of Anne/rise of Jane with the same ruthless opportunism and formidable political scheming that characterised his dramatic rise chronicled in Wolf Hall. The fall of Anne does not prove easy to facilitate, however; to paraphrase Thomas Wyatt on page 421, considering how much trouble Henry caused to get Anne in the first place, what must it cost to be rid? Though Cromwell ends Bring Up the Bodies at his peak in terms of money, power and influence, one can see (and one can know, if one knows Tudor history) that he may have overplayed his hand and that there are new and powerful political enemies he has made. The events surrounding Anne's fall will no doubt come home to roost for Cromwell in the eagerly awaited final book of Mantel's trilogy, The Mirror and the Light.

Essentially, all the elements of Wolf Hall that I praised in my review of that novel are also evident here in Bring Up the Bodies: this is historical fiction at its very best. I continue to be amazed at how tangibly authentic Mantel's Tudor world feels and sounds; it is better than just about any other piece of historical fiction I have read. A great strength of Bring Up the Bodies, and of Wolf Hall before it, is that the story you thought you knew so well is much richer than you were ever aware. Henry is not a totalitarian tyrant going through wives on a whim; as Cromwell discovers, it is not so easy to behead a queen. The politics are more complex, the loyalties more obscure, than many factual history books convey. Though I recognise this as a work of fiction, I feel I have learned more about the Tudors from Mantel than I have from anyone else.

In one small respect, Bring Up the Bodies is better than the first book, as although Mantel persists in using 'he' to refer to Cromwell (readers of Wolf Hall will know what I mean), it is less irritating and confusing here. Or perhaps I'm just used to it by now. But upon finishing the book, I found that I preferred Wolf Hall. You see, Wolf Hall, as I mentioned in my review of that novel, balances the 'soap opera' of the Tudor court with the big picture, i.e. the English Reformation (the break from Rome and the dissolution of the monarchies). It was this balance which made the first book such an exhilarating read for me. Bring Up the Bodies lacks such a balance, focusing almost exclusively on the fall of Anne Boleyn. As engrossing as that story is, I was also looking forward to a continuation of Cromwell's political reforms, and Bring Up the Bodies did not provide. No doubt they will resurface in the not-yet-released third book (if my knowledge of Tudor history is up to scratch), but their absence here means that, in my opinion, Wolf Hall is the better book.

Story-wise, I was surprised by how meekly Anne submitted to her fate; she does not seem to counter Cromwell's (or anyone else's) schemes at all, despite frequently warning early on in Bring Up the Bodies - and in Wolf Hall - that she will not go down easily. As Cromwell notes on page 444, he was once told "how a dying lioness can maul you, flash out with her claw and scar you for life. But he feels no threat, no tension, nothing at all." Mantel must, of course, adhere broadly to historical fact, but I was expecting more from her Anne, who was a formidable political player in the first book. But Anne is rather passive; the battle of wills between Cromwell and the queen we were promised does not occur. Despite this, Bring Up the Bodies was a very worthy successor to Wolf Hall, and I shall count down the (many, many) days until the third and final instalment." ( )
  MikeFutcher | Jun 3, 2016 |
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? Bring Up the Bodies is the winner of the 2012 Man Booker Prize Bring Up the Bodies is one of Publishers Weekly's Top 10 Best Books of 2012 and one of The Washington Post's 10 Best Books of 2012

My Review This is a great read if you love the history of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn's downfall. Mantel made this period come alive and the writing is beautiful. The book ended rather abruptly which was a bit annoying. I suppose the reason is because this is part of a trilogy. I do look forward to the third installment as I did enjoy this one better than Wolf Hall. ( )
  EadieB | Jun 1, 2016 |
The sequel to Wolf Hall about Thomas Cromwell managing Anne Boleyn's decline and beheading. The style is exactly the same although it covers a shorter period. Henry falls for Jane Seymour and gets dissatisfied with Anne especially as no heir is forthcoming. Once Katherine dies, he and Cromwell see the opportunity to get rid of Anne and marry Jane. With no Katherine, there is no hangover of that marriage still being valid so if they can show that there is a problem with the marriage to Anne, she can be removed and Henry is free to marry Jane. Cromwell latches on to gossip that Anne is sleeping with various members of the court who happen to be his enemies as they were involved in the downfall of Wolsey. Gossip is turned into fact via confessions, the men are tried and executed for treason, the marriage is annulled and Anne is executed too.

'Bring Up the Bodies' is the order used to bring up the condemned men for execution.

As with Wolf Hall, I find Mantel's style to be quite difficult and I don't always remember exactly what some of the minor characters fit together so I don't always get the connections or significance of certain things. Also, maybe it's just me but the whole thing has a slightly detached, dream-like quality to it.

Having thought that I wouldn't bother to read this, I will now read the third when it comes out. ( )
  jbennett | May 18, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 256 (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.
 

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Hilary Mantelprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Pracher, RickCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vance, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Willems, IneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
'Am I not 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 hearty 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.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

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)

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"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?"-- "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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