So you think you know everything there is to know about Hilary Mantel’s Booker nominated novel Bring Up the Bodies? Test your knowledge against our GoodReads quiz here!
What’s it about?
Bring Up the Bodies is described by the book’s publisher Fourth Estate as follows:
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. But Henry’s actions have forced England into dangerous isolation, and Anne has failed to do what she promised: bear a son to secure the Tudor line. When Henry visits Wolf Hall, Cromwell watches as Henry falls in love with the silent, plain Jane Seymour. The minister sees what is at stake: not just the king’s pleasure, but the safety of the nation. As he eases a way through the sexual politics of the court, its miasma of gossip, he must negotiate a ‘truth’ that will satisfy Henry and secure his own career. But neither minister nor king will emerge undamaged from the bloody theatre of Anne’s final days.
In ‘Bring up the Bodies’, sequel to the Man Booker Prize-winning ‘Wolf Hall’, Hilary Mantel explores one of the most mystifying and frightening episodes in English history: the destruction of Anne Boleyn. This new novel is a speaking picture, an audacious vision of Tudor England that sheds its light on the modern world. It is the work of one of our great writers at the height of her powers.
Who is Hilary Mantel?
According to her official bio on the Fourth Estate website:
Hilary Mantel is one of our most important living writers. She is the author of eleven books, including A Place of Greater Safety, Giving Up the Ghost, Beyond Black, which was shortlisted for the 2006 Orange Prize, and Wolf Hall, which won the 2009 Man Booker Prize. Her most recent work, Bring up the Bodies, was chosen for the 2012 Booker longlist.
She reviews widely for a range of newspapers and magazines, and is currently working on the sequel to Bring Up the Bodies, originally to be named The Mirror and The Light, the new title will be announced shortly.
What does BookerMarks think of Bring Up the Bodies?
Penny (Review): “…although Hilary Mantel’s work should be awarded for it is stunningly written, I found reading it alongside the other five novels shortlisted to be a bit of a jarring experience.”
Jackie (Review): “What Henry wants, Henry gets and in Bodies Henry is ready to dump Anne and Cromwell needs to make it happen– at all costs.”
Karli (Review): “As Hilary Mantel has said, Cromwell “is still in need of attention from biographers,”but even the most skilled biographer may have trouble bringing Cromwell’s story to life compared to Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies.”
Aaron (Review): “And for all his self-justification Cromwell is a “bad” guy, make no mistake about that, but this fact only serves to further illustrate what a fantastic job Mantel has done at building such a complex, multifaceted, sympathetic character. It’s tough not to root for Cromwell, even when you know the end result of his actions will most certainly spell death for many a person.”
Michelle (Review): “In Bring Up the Bodies she gets to tell the story of the fall of Anne Boleyn in all of its gossipy detail. As we know the characters from Wolf Hall and the religious issues are mute in this book, it is a much faster and enjoyable read.”
Elizabeth (Review): “This rendition by Mantel brilliantly shares Anne’s fall from grace through the calculating eyes of Thomas Cromwell. I found this take on Tudor history captivating, and would be remiss if I did not note that Mantel’s exhaustive research was evident throughout the story. Her attention to detail is meticulous and unwavering. The dialogue is sharp, the plotting is merciless, and the physical descriptions are reminiscent of art. If the period were not so long ago, you might be convinced that the author witnessed everything first hand. ”
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