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Bring Up the Bodies (A John MacRae Book)by Hilary Mantel
2012 Man Booker Prize
Would the sequel live up to expectations? Actually, yes. Hilary Mantel's talent for rich detail and sensuous atmosphere is still apparent, and Bring Up the Bodies is, in some ways, a much more gripping, riveting, and textured read than Wolf Hall. For one thing, the plotting is tighter. We know what's going to happen, but watching Cromwell plotting, planning, and out-maneuvering his rivals and enemies still makes for extremely fascinating reading.
Hilary Mantel continues the story of Cromwell, Henry VIII, and those pesky wives. Her stylistic form works to slow down the reader so we can enjoy what she does with language and character. And she pokes some subtle fun at anyone peeved at her pronoun usage in Wolf Hall.
Synopses & Reviews
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?
"When last we saw Thomas Cromwell, hero of Mantel's 2009 Man Booker Prize-winning Wolf Hall, he'd successfully moved emperors, queens, courtiers, the pope, and Thomas More to secure a divorce and a new, younger queen for his patron, Henry the VIII. Now, in the second book of a planned trilogy, Cromwell, older, tired, with more titles and power, has to get Henry out of another heirless marriage. The historical facts are known: this is not about what happens, but about how. And armed with street smarts, vast experience and connections, a ferociously good memory, and a patient taste for revenge, Mantel's Cromwell is a master of how. Like its predecessor, the book is written in the present tense, rare for a historical novel. But the choice makes the events unfold before us: one wrong move and all could be lost. Also repeated is Mantel's idiosyncratic use of 'he:' regardless of the rules of grammar, rest assured 'he' is always Cromwell. By this second volume, however, Mantel has taught us how to read her, and seeing Cromwell manipulate and outsmart the nobles who look down on him, while moving between his well-managed domestic arrangements and the murky world of accusations and counteraccusations is pure pleasure. Cromwell may, as we learn in the first volume, look 'like a murderer,' but he's mighty good company. Agent: Bill Hamilton, A.M. Heath." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Mantel knows what to select, how to make her scenes vivid, how to kindle her characters. She seems almost incapable of abstraction or fraudulence; she instinctively grabs for the reachably real....In short, this novelist has the maddeningly unteachable gift of being interesting." The New Yorker
"[Bring Up the Bodies] is astringent and purifying, stripping away the cobwebs and varnish of history, the antique formulations and brocaded sentimentality of costume drama novels, so that the English past comes to seem like something vivid, strange and brand new." The New York Times Book Review
"Two years ago something astonishingly fair happened in the world of prestigious prizes: the Man Booker Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction for 2009 both went to the right winner. The book was Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall, and it would have dwarfed the competition any year....It was a hard act to follow. But the follow-up is equally sublime....That ironic ending will be no cliffhanger for anyone even remotely familiar with Henry VIIIs trail of carnage. But in Bring Up the Bodies it works as one. The wonder of Ms. Mantel's retelling is that she makes these events fresh and terrifying all over again." The New York Times
"Bring Up the Bodies isn't just her boldest book; it's also her best — and it reaffirms Mantel's reputation as one of England's greatest living novelists." NPR
"Hilary Mantel made waves in 2009 with her Man Booker Prize-winning page-turner, Wolf Hall....The second in her planned trilogy, Bring Up the Bodies stalks Anne Boleyn and the soap-opera worthy machinations of Cromwell and his evil allies to bring down the powerful wife of the king. Who knew history could be so sexy?" Vanity Fair
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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