Bring Up The Bodies by Hilary Mantal
First off I wanted to send a HUGE THANK YOU to Christine Choe over at Henry Holt and Company Publishers for sending me a copy of this book!
The first thing I wanted to say is that I really enjoyed reading this novel. I am a huge sucker for all things Tudor and I love that Wolf Hall has been continued with Bring Up the Bodies with the story through Thomas Cromwell's eyes is brilliant.
Mantel's writing style is unique, and not an easy grasp, in my opinion, but once I got the gist of it I rather liked her way around the words. Now, I remember in Wolf Hall I was so confused by her use of the word "he" that I often times had no clue who was speaking, and it drove me nuts. I didn't get, at the time, that the book was written solely from Cromwell's view. So, when I was offered an ARC of the next book, I said "yes" and for some reason really grasped the concept well this time around.
I personally loved it when she would use "he, Cromwell, says" or at the end of a sentence by Cromwell, "he said: he, Cromwell." I don't know why, exactly, but it endeared the hell out of me. As does Cromwell himself. LOVE him. Now that doesn't mean he is not self serving, I mean, let's face it, he has a pretty cushy life as the right-hand-man of the king. But that does not mean he is without scruples. And Mantel sprinkles examples of his scruples throughout, which make me like him more and more. I now want to go back and finish Wolf Hall with this new appreciation for the point of view, and enjoy the relationship between himself and Wolsey, which as I remember had quite a humorous way about the two of them in the first book.
So, back to Bring Up the Bodies. This book brings us to the point in Tudor history where Anne Boleyn is no longer in Henry's good books. She has failed to produce an heir, and as it turns out is schtooping every able body in the county. She is not liked by many, and her cunning and calculated ways are a strain on everyone who is near her. Meanwhile, demure and tiny Jane Seymour is quietly making a place for herself in history, and when Henry finally has had enough... well, we all know what happens next.
In the telling of the story from Cromwell's point of view, we see the delicate politics that he faced in this time in Henry's court. In order to carry out the king's wishes, Cromwell will have to ally with some of his enemies. How will he handle himself in these instances? To what lengths will he go to pay for Anne's head?
A beautifully told version of a much told tale and a must read book for any fans of the Henry VIIIth era.
This book is also available in audio format by Macmillan Audio and the reading is done by the very talented Simon Vance.
And here is a video with Hilary Mantel about the book.
For more information about this book click here.