Thursday 21 June 2012

Bring Up the Bodies (Wolf Hall # 2) by Hilary Mantel - Book Review

Title: Bring Up the Bodies (Wolf Hall # 2)
Author: Hilary Mantel
Publisher: Fourth Estate
Publication Date: 10th May 2012
Pages: 411
Format: Hardback
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Bought Copy

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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?
(Goodreads Synopsis)

I came to this book wondering if it could live up to the glory of Wolf Hall. In short: it does.

It took me a few pages, but then I was drawn back into the story and Cromwell's world and it was as if I had never been away.

What I love about this tale is the way it tells a well-known event in such a fresh way. Part of that is using Cromwell as the narrator. Reading Wolf Hall made me go out and buy a biography about Cromwell; I was that interested in him after reading the novel. It is great to see him back here as the story becomes darker in the events leading to Anne's fall from grace.

At times there is a slightly archaic feel to Mantel's prose, which I think really helps ground the reader in the period. There is some wonderful historical detail, and beautiful descriptive passages that are absolutely captivating.

I was sad to reach the last page, but I was happy at the hint in the Author's Note that Cromwell's story may well continue in another book. I really do hope Mantel will continue through to the end of his tale.

Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies are a must for any fan of historical fiction.

Want to hear an excerpt from the audio book? Of course you do! All you need to do is follow THIS LINK.

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