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Bring Up the Bodies [Audio CD]

Hilary Mantel , Simon Vance
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
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Book Description

May 8 2012 John MacRae Books

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


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Review

“This second volume in Hilary Mantel’s planned trilogy about Thomas Cromwell, right-hand man to Henry VIII of England, is a perfect marriage of the written and spoken word…Simon Vance’s silken tones and expert pacing keep us engaged throughout…Vance enhances the story with instructive vocal portraits of key players and a listenable tempo that keeps us clear and entranced until the end.” – AudioFile Magazine, winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award

Can one improve Hilary Mantel’s tale of Tudor intrigue, Bring Up the Bodies, which has racked up both sales and awards? Well, yes, if you add Simon Vance’s acclaimed voice. In an Audie-nominated performance, Vance doesn’t simply narrate the Man Booker winner – he seems to inhabit the characters.” – USA Today, four out of four stars

“If you listened to Simon Slater’s riveting reading of the Booker Prize-wining ‘Wolf Hall,’ the 2009 opener in Hilary Mantel’s trilogy, the news that the sequel has a different narrator won’t be good. Fear not. Simon Vance’s narration is every bit as versatile and nuanced as Slater’s, his intonation for each character is as uncannily distinctive – a critical requirement with so many characters. Even better, Vance’s voice portrayal of the historically maligned Thomas Cromwell, chief adviser to King Henry VII, is almost indistinguishable from Slater’s in ‘Wolf Hall’” – Newark Star-Ledger

“We all know the story, but hearing it described through Cromwell’s eloquent words and inner thoughts on power and ambition, his own included, make it new again, and riveting. Mantel’s language is extraordinary – it’s as though she’s channeled Cromwell from beyond and burrowed into his mind – and Simon Vance’s impeccable reading is a perfect match. A wonderful way to celebrate audio month.” – BookPage

“Narrator Simon Vance’s skillful presentation enhances Mantel’s outstanding description and dialogue. His gorgeous sound, tone and accent add to the beauty and horror of the compelling story.” – Library Journal, starred review

“Narrator Simon Vance shines in his portrayal of the characters, creating a range of distinct voices – including the increasingly tense Anne Boleyn and the earnest Georgey, Cromwell’s mild-mannered young son who is eager to prove himself. Best of all, however, are the measured tones Vance employs for the conniving Cromwell. The narrator captures the soul of this complex character, a man of innate pragmatism and confidence who is also quietly haunted by regrets. Vance also nails the bone-dry wit of the characters. In all, this is an exemplary audiobook.” – Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Vance takes commence of the complex story, reading Mantel’s complicated prose with assurance…Tensions leading up to Anne Bolyn’s execution run high, and Vance relays the emotions with precision and grace, showing that he is attuned to the complicated plot.” – Booklist

“I downloaded Hilary Mantel’s majestic ‘Bring Up the Bodies’ and was pleasantly surprised to hear Vance’s gentle and authoritative voice once again. It was like running into an old friend and knowing that we were about to have a long and satisfying visit.” John Schwartz, The New York Times Book Review

About the Author

Hilary Mantel is the bestselling author of ten previous novels, including Wolf Hall, which sold more than 200,000 copies and won the 2009 Man Booker Prize. Her previous works include her novel, A Place of Greater Safety, and her memoir, Giving Up the Ghost. She lives in England with her husband.


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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
"The man who commits adultery with another man's wife, he who commits adultery with his neighbor's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress, shall surely be put to death." -- Leviticus 20:10 (NKJV)

In the first book in this planned trilogy, Wolf Hall, we saw the unexpected and adept rise to power of Thomas Cromwell in serving King Henry VIII. At the end of that book, Henry was smitten with Jane Seymour and Cromwell had a sense that this was an opportunity to overcome Anne Boleyn whom he had helped to become queen at the king's request.

In Bring Up the Bodies, we follow the plottings leading up to the death of the former queen, Katherine of Aragon, the failed attempts by Anne Boleyn to provide a male heir, the rise of the Boleyns, continental power politics, and the king's (and Cromwell's) desire to gain income from church lands. The book culminates in the trial and execution of Anne Boleyn and those found guilty of adultery with her. We also see Henry VIII as an aging man, grown more foolish in his desires to stay young. With lots of dialogue and stream of consciousness narration, we see the delicate balance that Cromwell had to keep in all of his endeavors. It was a mighty challenge.

The strength of this historical novel is making the events of a distant past more understandable and emotional for us at this distance in time. I applaud Ms. Mantel again for choosing Thomas Cromwell as her narrator. He is the ideal character to cast these events into a more objective light. She lightly trods the balance between real events and guessing what Cromwell thought of them in a way that seems wholly accurate . . . while making the telling much more compelling by placing us in it as we identify with Cromwell's desire to properly serve the king's and England's interests.

Brava!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well known story magnificently told June 13 2012
By Vlad Thelad TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
The fall of Anne Boleyn has been told infinite times, certainly more so than any other episode in the reign of Henry VIII. It seems everyone, from scholarly historians to trashy novelists, has given us their version of events. However, Hilary Mantel, picking up right where she left us at the end of her award-winning Wolf Hall, manages to present a compelling and fascinating narrative, capturing the reader as if we were hearing it for the first time. As in her previous novel, events are seen through the eyes of Thomas Cromwell, accompanied by a fascinating cast of characters consistently cared for, as their lives intertwine against a backdrop of historical facts. If you have read Wolf Hall, it would come as no surprise that this book is magnificently well written; if you have not, please accept my recommendation and read them both.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By John Kwok TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Recognized by none other than Time magazine literary critic Lev Grossman as one of the finest novels published this year, Hilary Mantel's "Bring Up the Bodies" is a compelling tour-de-force of a political thriller set in Henry VIII's Tudor Dynasty England, describing in vivid detail, the still mysterious circumstances leading towards the sudden downfall and execution of Henry's second wife, Anne Boleyn; their daughter would become Elizabeth I, the "Virgin Queen", admired by the likes of Sir Walter Raleigh and William Shakespeare. Mantel's latest is that rare breed of historical novel and political thriller, replete with the dazzling, lyrical prose and a most riveting plot that earned the Man Booker Prize for its predecessor, "Wolf Hall". Like its illustrious predecessor, "Bring Up the Bodies" is a riveting character study of Henry VIII's Secretary to the King and Lord Chancellor, Thomas Cromwell, newly appointed head of the Church of England, mere months after the executions of Bishop of Rochester John Fisher and Lord Chancellor Thomas More. In a literary style as compelling as any of John Le Carre's Cold War thrillers, Mantel transforms Cromwell into her George Smiley, compelled to make political alliances with the very enemies he has despised for years, merely to do his King's bidding; he is dealt with the difficult and unenviable tasks of removing the brilliant, sharp-tongued, Anne Boleyn from her throne and terminating the Boleyn family's newly risen prestige and influence at the Court, which have occurred at the expense of the "Old Families" with their valid claims to Henry's throne, and other major figures of English nobility. Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A RARE LISTENING PLEASURE June 19 2012
By Gail Cooke TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD
Don't go to the movies, turn off the television, and settle in for one of the most arresting listening experiences to be found. Bring Up the Bodies has everything - intrigue, passion, deception, treason, suspense, and it is a magnificent, richly imagined work. A multi prize winner Mantel is a unique author as her words thrust listeners into the midst of drama and, in this case, Simon Vance's superb voice performance carries us to Henry VIII's court where Thomas Cromwell struggles to fulfill the King's every whim.

In this sequel to Mantel's widely acclaimed Booker Prize winning Wolf Hall we listen to the machinations at court in 1536 when Henry has wearied of the now imperious Anne Boleyn who in addition to boring his majesty has been unable to give him a son. She has alienated many and forgiven few. With the death of Henry's first wife, the exiled Katherine of Aragon, only Anne stands between the king's desire for Jane Seymour.

It is up to Cromwell to satisfy Henry. Thus, over what seems to be a short period of time Anne finds herself the center of a plot to find her guilty of adultery and treason. Mantel examines this in vivid detail so well that it is as if one were eavesdropping on the characters, whether it is Cromwell thinking, remembering his youth or the Boleyns fighting to protect their place or the quiet Jane waiting, waiting.

Simon Vance is enormously talented as is noted by his four Audie Awards, 38 Earphone awards, and other honors. Listening to him is both pleasure and privilege. Don't miss his narration of Bring Up The Bodies!

- Gail Cooke
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I LIKE HISTORICAL FICTION AND THIS WAS NO EXCEPTION
Published 20 days ago by DOROTHY CARMICHAEL
5.0 out of 5 stars A hard 2nd Act to follow
This is a worthy successor to Wolf Hall, and in my opinion, a better novel. The first ends with a marriage; the 2nd with an execution. I much prefer executions to marriages. Read more
Published 3 months ago by David M. Goldberg
5.0 out of 5 stars Worthy of the superlatives it is getting
I like stories based on historical happenings, irrespective of where they took place, and Bring up the Bodies is one of them. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Susie Njiks
3.0 out of 5 stars So why did I download it? I thought I had matured.
I have to confess how entirely disinterested I was in Bring up the bodies.
My fault. I was never that much interested in history in school except
for the caveman. Read more
Published 8 months ago by anne pasternak
5.0 out of 5 stars Bring Up The Bodies
I was sorry to come to the end of Bring Up The Bodies, sequel to Wolf Hall. Hilary Mantel's narrative style totally absorbs the reader, as you beoome one of the bystanders,... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Irene C. Williams
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful
If you love historical fiction and the Tudor era you must read Wolf Hall first and then follow up with this book. Magnificently written and researched.
Published 11 months ago by A. Nonny Mouse
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!
This book is pretty complicate but the character list is very helpful. Lots of characters who have a ciople of different names. This book is historically sound.
Published 13 months ago by Andrea Pheasey
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down!
Couldn't put this down once started. Love the writing style of Hilary mantel. I'm waiting for the sequel which, is coming soon, I hope??
Published 14 months ago by russ major
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome!
This was a great read!!! Sometimes i actually re-read chapters as they were so well written. I mark a good book in my mind by if i would read it again and this is a for sure read... Read more
Published 17 months ago by sandra goy
4.0 out of 5 stars Another good book in the Cromwell series
Enjoyed this book. Not as much as the first. The plot is less intricate at this stage of Cromwell's life. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Amazon Customer
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