Winner: Costa Book of the Year 2012
Winner: UK Author of the Year - Specsavers National Book Awards 2012
Winner: Man Booker Prize 2012
By 1535 Thomas Cromwell, the blacksmith's son, is far from his humble origins. Chief Minister to Henry VIII, his fortunes have risen with those of Anne Boleyn, Henry's second wife, for whose sake Henry has broken with Rome and created his own church.
In Bring Up the Bodies, Hilary Mantel explores one of the most mystifying and frightening episodes in English history: the destruction of Anne Boleyn. This new novel is an audacious vision of Tudor England that sheds its light on the modern world.
©2012 Tertius Enterprises (P)2012 Macmillan Audio
Another astonishing tour de force from Hilary Mantel. A superb portrayal of a 'modern' politician in Tudor England - a brilliant, complex man both humane and brutal, subtle and blunt, ambitious and patient. Beautifully written, deceptively simple in style with flowing narrative, startling, vivid images and perceptive comments on life and people delivered with searing clarity and it all seems so effortless.
Not as well read as by the reader of Wolf Hall (who is superb) - the voices for the different characters are not well defined and the accents poor - but the narrative is well read and it doesn't detract from the excellence of the book.
"Worthy sequel to Wolf Hall"
Mantel has produced another masterpiece. I didn't find it quite as satisfactory as Wolf Hall but even so I cannot give it less than 5 stars.
Her command of the period and the ability to make the reader feel they are in the room and know the characters are in my view matchless. This book is more tightly written than Wolf Hall, it is less shadowy and more focused on plot. I must admit I rather missed the dream-like quality and the flights of fancy from Wolf Hall but it is nevertheless a great listen.
One small thing rather bothered me though. Mantel, perhaps stung by some of the criticism of Wolf Hall from readers who didn't know which "he" was being referred to has peppered this book with "He, Cromwell..." etc. I found it a little intrusive, perhaps because I didn't find the references in Wolf Hall caused me any problems.
Simon Vance is an excellent reader but his characterisation was not, for me, quite as sure as Simon Slater's superb voicing of Wolf Hall. I found myself missing Slater's Cromwell a lot.
Despite all of this, I still rate this reading highly.
"Tudor turbulence continued"
This book takes up where Wolf Hall left off. Henry VIII has married Anne Boleyn but his enchantment with her is waning, especially after his disappointment at her delivering a daughter. He is planning to ditch her and marry Jane Seymore. This short period of history is described in minute detail combining facts with imaginative speculation as to what was said or happened. There were times when the detail and sheer number of names was confusing, but overall it was a good listen. I think Wolf Hall is marginally the better book.
As with Wolf Hall, this short period of history is seen through the eyes of Thomas Cromwell, who, in this book is a less sympathetic character as he becomes embroiled in often repellent manoeuvres to find grounds to get rid of Anne. It must have been a dangerous time to be a member of the Court as Henry is a frighteningly unpredictable, selfish and self-righteous.
I thought the reader did a good job of giving the characters different voices which helped with so many characters to keep track of.
"another stunning novel"
As with Wolf Hall I will also be reading the printed novel, but have thoroughly enjoyed this narrated edition. Simon very clearly chills down Cromwell's voice as he interrogates Anne's "lovers" and elicits ambiguous confessions. I was there in the room with them. Hilary has addressed the problem within Wolf Hall in that you didn't always know who she meant by "he", by changing it in this novel to "he, Cromwell". This is a novel, like Wolf Hall, which I shall keep on my mp3 to dip into again and again.
I read Wolf Hall in print, but, for this sequel, decided on the audiobook and am so glad I did. As it is mostly dialogue it works particularly well in this format, especially with an excellent narrator like Simon Vance. It is as if you had travelled back in time to eavesdrop on the conversations! Hilary Mantel breathes life into her long-dead characters in a quite amazing way. As with Wolf Hall, the story is gripping, entertaining and completely fascinating.
My opinions on this book seem to be in the minority and go against much of what has been said so I will accept that it is me that’s flawed and not the book.
I always listen to books whilst driving and I never have any problems following them. However this book proved a tricky number. The narrators mono-tone voice didn't help much either.
I am sure this book is a literary master piece as everyone is calling it. However it was lost on me. It seemed to keep skipping from one scene to another and I could never keep track of what was actually going on and how it was relevant to the story.
Another bugbear was the author beginning sentences with "He, Cromwell" when referring to Thomas Cromwell. I am sure it is a fancy literary thing which I don't get but it just seemed pointless to me.
I might buy the actual book and see if I have more luck reading it. But for the audio book I must say I found it extremely hard going and not enjoyable.
A book for the more literate and well read perhaps and definitely not to be listened to during a long drive.
"Story telling at its best"
The sequel to wolf hall does not disappoint although I must agree that the narrator's of the abridged and unabridged versions are nowhere near as good as Simon slater
This is a disappointment,the humour is lost and delivery monotone so much so that I am now reading the book rather than listen ending to it
"Not for me!!!"
I agree with the minority on this book. It just didn't go anywhere. I have downloaded books like "The hunger games", "Name of the Wind" and many more which are amazing books. This was to be fair, boring! Sorry.
"Tudors but from a different perspective."
My favorite period of history is the Tudors, but there in lies the problem because its been done to death as far as historical novels go. I tried to read Wolf Hall in book form but found it hard to focus so I downloaded it from audible and within half an hour I was lost in the story. When I heard it was going to become a trilogy I was so excited and bring up the bodies didn't disappoint. It continues where wolf hall left off and it's main character is still Thomas Cromwell. The book is well written and doesn't turn into murder mystery/bodice ripping drivel that most novels about Henry VIII and his court turn into lately.
"Sorry - can't understand the hype about it"
I appreciate that my opinion about this book is contrary to all these raving reviews. However I found it boring, confusing and tedious to listen to. Maybe it was the monotone voice of the narrator but I had problems following the story line and had to rewind several times. For me it was an ordeal to finish the book and I only did it because it had won the Booker Prize (hence I feel guilty for not liking it..)
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