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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Spare, Compelling Look at a Difficult Transition
"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...
Published on May 26 2012 by Donald Mitchell

versus
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. I tried to amuse myself though by the shenanigans of
getting rid of a wife (or two) by cutting off their heads and convincing
the public that it was the decent thing to do. I was not...
Published 8 months ago by anne pasternak


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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Spare, Compelling Look at a Difficult Transition, May 26 2012
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
(#1 HALL OF FAME)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Bring Up The Bodies (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 (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Bring Up The Bodies (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
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Historical Novel of the Year from Booker Prize-winning Novelist Hilary Mantel, June 28 2012
By 
John Kwok (New York, NY USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Bring Up The Bodies (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. Like George Smiley, Cromwell has become so exasperated and weary of the Tudor Dynasty's court intrigues, that he advises his son to stay clear of it, offering him opportunities to miss the executions of Anne Boleyn and her closest male friends, falsely accused of treason against King Henry himself. With "Bring Up the Bodies", Mantel demonstrates anew that she is one of the finest historical novelists writing in the English language, a notable prose stylist, and a most compelling spinner of tales. "Bring Up the Bodies" seems destined to become a candidate for the next Man Booker Prize as well as other notable literary honors on both sides of the Atlantic; there are relatively few contemporary English language writers who could match her superb gifts for storytelling and writing prose.
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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 (TX, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Bring Up the Bodies (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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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Very Good Read!, Aug. 2 2012
By 
Lily Lai "book lover" (Toronto, Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Bring Up The Bodies (Paperback)
This book covers less than a year in the lives of Henry VIII and his facilitator and Master Secretary, Thomas Cromwell. King Henry, after having gone to a great deal of trouble to rid himself of his wife of 20 years, Katherine, in order to marry Anne Boleyn, who has now been crowned Queen Anne, has grown tired of Anne, especially since she failed to provide him with a son and male heir. He now has his eye on Jane Seymour, a plain and timid lady whom he finds restful compared to the volatile Anne and it is Cromwell's task to clear the way for Henry to marry her. The book is told from Cromwell's point of view and it is fascinating to follow his machinations, his attention to detail and the ruthlessness with which he makes people guilty of sins he knows they may not have committed, just as long as his objectives are served. The book also shows his more human side, in the treatment of his household staff and proteges! I would recommend this book to anyone who loves historical fiction and who loved "Wolf Hall" by the same author.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilary Mantel has changed the history of England., Jan. 6 2013
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This review is from: Bring Up The Bodies (Paperback)
With her two volumes Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies, Hilary Mantel has changed the history of England. Humanizing Thomas Cromwell and his relationship with Cardinal Woolsey in the first volume, and adding surprising (but plausible) dimensions to Anne Boleyn, in this second volume were riveting aspects. She engages us with a 'family' of many characters who play out historical circumstances that still reverberate today: the church and the emergence of the state, the rich and poor, power and politics. I await volume three with great anticipation.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Could not Put it down!, July 27 2012
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This review is from: Bring Up The Bodies (Paperback)
I loved this book, even better than the first one. What a writer Hilary Mantel is, so detailed and gets you right into the mind of the characters. I only wish it was longer.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, July 11 2014
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I LIKE HISTORICAL FICTION AND THIS WAS NO EXCEPTION
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5.0 out of 5 stars A hard 2nd Act to follow, April 14 2014
By 
David M. Goldberg (Toronto, ON, Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Bring Up The Bodies (Paperback)
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. The intrigue surrounding the elevation of Ann Boleyn and the banishment of Katherine of Arragon from the royal bed, is modest stuff compared with the sexual politics that led to the former losing her head, as well as her crown. Hilary Mantel charts her every false step on the way to the block with intense precision, and a densely textured narrative that skillfully combines clarity and an ambiguity that is essential for an author who attempts to make her fiction match the truth of History. No one can be certain of the absence or extent of Ann’s guilt, and in the context of this novel it is not all that important. It is a foil with which to explore many intriguing issues: the rise of a blacksmith’s son to penultimate power in a court dominated by venal aristocrats busy looking over their shoulders as they stab the back of the courtier in front of them; the brutal clash between Church and State in which the former is stripped of its wealth and the latter of its soul; the initiatives and concessions needed to secure England’s peace with Europe, or a position of unassailable strength through strategic alliances, marriage being the most durable form of diplomatic cement; the gluttonous appetites of newly-promoted families for power and position-------indeed the fall of the Boleyn family is such a satisfying outcome that it almost justifies Anne’s demise for that reason alone.
Every good novel needs a hero, and in Thomas Cromwell, Mantel has found or created one to suit her purpose admirably. As a devoted husband, now widower; an exemplary father who has lost all but one of his children, and whose own childhood was marred by paternal cruelty and brutality; a loyal disciple of his mentor, Cardinal Wolsey, who displays equal loyalty and concern for the disciples whose mentor he has now become; he stands as a beacon of common decency in a world of deceit. Mantel paints him, in biblical terms, as a “Noah in his Generation”: no big compliment in being the best of a generation so evil, that God decided to eradicate human life from the planet he had created only a short time ago. Actually, it is not quite like that. As with the very best novelists, Mantel creates or recruits characters who mix good and evil in varying proportions into different shades of gray. Thomas’ father Walter is about as monochromatic as she will allow in her cast of thousands, apart from whom there is no other that lacks some likable features. Her writing is scholarly; at times pedantic; at others mellifluous to the point of daring the reader to recite it rather than read it so that its sonority will not go unappreciated; but she is not shy about words, ideas, or actions that 50 years ago would have raised the hackles of the censors.
The enormity of the number of characters places a great strain on the reader’s memory, but the task is made easier by a sort of Cast List that precedes the opening of the novel, and also by the fact that we have met most of them before in Wolf Hall. In fact it is pretty senseless to tackle this one prior to the latter, any more than one can start a Play in the 2nd Act. There will after all be a 3rd to follow, that apparently is already written. As in WH, the production standards of this paperback version are very satisfactory: thick paper, clear medium-sized print, and reasonably durable covers. At Amazon’s price, averaging out around 3 cents per page, this is not only great literature: it is also great economics.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Worthy of the superlatives it is getting, Jan. 31 2014
This review is from: Bring Up The Bodies (Paperback)
I like stories based on historical happenings, irrespective of where they took place, and Bring up the Bodies is one of them. With echoes of stories involving traditional monarchs like in Disciples of Fortune, or the King and I, this story is rich and revealing.It is an excellently written story that I finished without being conscious of the flow of time. The characters are amazing and they are true to life due to the wonderful portrayal of their human sides.Smooth writing, fabulous descriptions, amazing dialogue and gripping pacing are the elements that made this story an accomplished piece of writing.
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Bring Up The Bodies
Bring Up The Bodies by Hilary Mantel (Paperback - May 3 2012)
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