Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel
Unabridged, 14 hr. 35 min.
Simon Vance (Narrator)
May 8, 2012
Genre: Historical fiction (literary)
Source: Received from publisher for review as part of Audiobook Jukebox Solid Gold Reviewer Program
“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?”
While I didn’t love the predecessor, Wolf Hall, I still wanted to give this book a try and chose the audio format because it was the only reason I was able to actually get through Wolf Hall. I actually liked this book more than the first, but it still is not a favorite and there are still problems that I had with this novel.
I was able to get into the events of the story more in this novel because there was action and intrigue happening at every turn. This story focuses primarily on the short period of time where Anne Boleyn gets caught up in the events that eventually bring about her downfall and ends shortly following the executions of Anne and her associates. These were familiar events that were easy to follow and I already knew the characters.
I found myself disliking Thomas Cromwell more and more as the book progressed. He just became a more despicable character to me as he gets more involved in Anne’s downfall. I am actually quite interested in seeing how she deals with the fall of Thomas Cromwell.
The nagging problem with pronouns was still prominent in this novel. I have read reviews that state that Mantel solves the issue some readers had (as I did) with the “he, he, he”. I found the solution to be just as aggravating as the problem. There is still a lot of “he, he, he”, however periodically there is now a “he, Cromwell” or “he, Henry”. I would prefer if they just went with “Cromwell” or “Henry” – just get rid of the “he”! It became just as frustrating with all of the “he, Cromwell” as it did with “he”.
Also, as with its predecessor, the ending was quite abrupt. It felt just like it ended in the middle of the thought. I would have appreciated a little more closure.
Overall, for me, this was a better read than Wolf Hall. This book can be read as a stand alone and I would recommend this over Wolf Hall any day.
The narrator did a fabulous job of portraying different characters, accents, female characters, etc. He was very easy to listen to and his characters fit with the personalities I had crafted in my head.
You can also watch a discussion with the author about Bring Up the Bodies.
My other reviews of books by this author:
Reviews of this book by others:
Bring Up the Bodies (9780805090031): Hilary Mantel: Books
Copyright © 2012 by The Maiden’s Court