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Carpe Librum

Bookish conversation with author Samantha Wilcoxson.


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Historical Novel Society

Bring Up the Bodies (audio) by Hilary Mantel

Bring Up the Bodies - Hilary Mantel

As with Wolf Hall, I feel like I had a deeper experience listening to this book and immersing myself in the thoughts of Thomas Cromwell. I am still part of what seems to be the minority that enjoyed Wolf Hall more, but Bring Up the Bodies still stands high above most modern literature.

The second installment in Mantel's trilogy doesn't have as many laugh out loud moments. We see a scarier side to Thomas Cromwell as he chooses those who insulted Cardinal Wolsey as his scapegoats to remove Anne Boleyn once Henry has tired of her. The reader continues to see his fine mind at work through an up-close and personal third person point of view, but it is darker in there now.

Despite his maneuverings, I still couldn't help but love Cromwell and fear his inevitable downfall. I convinced myself, much as people of the time did, that these men were guilty of something, surely. Blame it on Henry. Cromwell is only doing his bidding.

Mantel has written a fairly stereotypical Anne, who I was not sad to see go. She is one of the less complex of Mantel's characters, with few redeeming qualities.

The great thing about listening to this on audio book as my "re-read" is that any of the strange writing style issues that may have annoyed before are completely unnoticeable in this format. I could simply sit back and enjoy.

This is a book - a series - that I see myself returning to many times. I am anxious for the final installment, but will be sad to finish it.


And....I almost forgot to mention the narration by Simon Vance! Amazing as always. A pleasure to listen to.

My original review of Bring Up the Bodies can be found here.