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Wolf Hall / Bring Up the Bodies

4.27  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,868 Ratings  ·  210 Reviews
A two-ebook edition of Hilary Mantel' s bestselling novels: Wolf Hall, winner of the Man Booker Prize 2009, and Bring Up the Bodies, winner of the Man Booker Prize 2012.

Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, the first two instalments in Hilary Mantel' s Tudor trilogy, have gathered readers and praise in equal and enormous measure. They have been credited with elevating histori
ebook, 965 pages
Published October 30th 2012 by HarperCollins (first published October 16th 2012)
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Yvonne Probably better not, as the one continues the story of the other......

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Stephen King
Together they form one long novel (with a third to follow) about the life of Thomas Cromwell, King Henry VIII’s political and financial adviser. Mantel takes a -figure history has cast as a calculating villain and throws a warm glow over his family, his motives, and his implacable resolve. The language is rich, and the scenes leading to Anne Boleyn’s execution are unforgettable.
Uco Library
There have so been many novels written about Tudor England and the intrigues of Henry VIII, one would think nothing more could be said. That is why the books Wolf Hall and Bringing up the Bodies were such a pleasant surprise. Hilary Mantel brings new life to this subject with the first two installments in the Thomas Cromwell Trilogy. The books tell the tale of Henry VIII’s court through the eyes of Henry’s top advisor Thomas Cromwell, a person, who in Mantel’s opinion has been historically misun ...more
Jan 15, 2013 Jsmith1000 rated it it was amazing
Dear husband gave me both of these books for Christmas after I had heard the author interviewed over NPR, and I was mesmerized by the idea that Thomas Cromwell could be depicted as anything other than a pompous ass (historical literature has been hard on the guy). What an incredible week I had reading both of these books in one fell swoop...Mantel paints a very interesting picture of Cromwell as right hand to King Henry VIII, and as it is historical fiction, definitely a different take on his pe ...more
Sarah Knowler
Mar 20, 2013 Sarah Knowler rated it it was amazing
I started this book as soon as I had finished Wolf Hall and was not disappointed, as I have been with sequels in the past. The transition between the two books is seamless and I was saved the awful 'how will I live without this book' syndrome for a while at least.

Thomas Cromwell has now entered my list of characters in books that I have fallen in love with (will check now if such a list exists on Goodreads). Starting with Black Beauty and a German Shepherd dog called Greatheart, I can see very
Ms. K
Jan 04, 2013 Ms. K rated it it was amazing
I rarely read two books in a series one right after the other, even if I liked the first one. It's like eating too much chocolate. No matter how good it is, it gets cloying after a while. I bought Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies as a pairs deal for Kindle on Amazon, so one just flowed into the other. When the writing is this good and the story this compelling - no one has won the Man Booker two years in a row - there is no danger of suffering from too much of a good thing. Now I'm tapping my i ...more
Aug 01, 2014 Katherine rated it it was ok
While I liked reading about this period, I felt that the author wrote as though the reader is intimately knowledgeable of this period of history and the characters. I think that historical fiction should elucidate the history of the period, and giving some context and background helps to do this. Dialogue between characters can elucidate the context. The absence of this context seems an arrogant exercise by the author to write for herself ignoring the future reader.

As many commentators have note
Jan 16, 2014 Merrywhyman rated it liked it
Mantel's tome is written from the perspective of Thomas Cromwell, the central figure of this telling of history and the common and self-made man who triumphed as Henry the VIII's closest adviser. Henry's wish to divorce queen Catherine and marry Anne Boleyn provided motivation provided motivation for Henry and England's challenge to the power of the Church of Rome, a challenge Cromwell saw in broad, practical and forward-thinking terms.

We mostly agree that this was a hard to follow, tough read
May 28, 2015 Caroline rated it it was amazing
In terms of providing a new treatment of a subject arguably done to death in novels, plays, movies, documentaries, etc. etc. Hilary Mantel has done an magnificent job. Her presentation of Thomas Cromwell as something other than the two dimensional thug of other portrayals is masterful. Here he has wit, tenderness, malice, loyalty, brutality and subtlety. In short, he is a fully rounded and supremely intelligent man. It is a relief to get away from the innumerable portrayals of Thomas More as sai ...more
Jul 01, 2015 Jameson rated it it was amazing
Movies based on books rarely live up to the magic of the book. That’s not a condemnation of movies or the movie industry, but rather a reflection of greatest source of magic of all—man’s imagination. No reality ever lives up to my best fantasies.
Normally, I read a book first and then—if a subsequent film production gets rave reviews—I’ll see the movie. Occasionally, the movie will live magnificently up to all my wildest expectations; To Kill a Mockingbird is a good example of movie-from-book pe
May 24, 2013 Monica rated it liked it
This perspective from Cromwell's point of view leaves no doubt to the ridiculousness of King Henry's court. You know how things will end and can still relish the anticipation of Ann's demise. A bit long, though I listened to on CD so could perhaps take in small doses
Mar 28, 2015 Ana rated it liked it
I don't know what Mantel thought was wrong with Cromwell's name that she had to substitute it with a 'he' every time she refers to him. It would have made sense if there had been no other men in the narration, but there were and too many times it was necessary to re-read whole paragraphs to find out which 'he' she was talking about.

In a few occasions there were entire pages of irrelevant non-action and seemingly intentionally confusing writing, like when 'Liz Cromwell' seems to be flying (years
Chris White
Jun 30, 2014 Chris White rated it it was amazing
First things first: I was much amused that my copy of Wolf Hall had a sticker on the front reading “From the author of Bring Up the Bodies!” The first book in the series, recommended to readers of the second.

“Some of these things are true and some of them lies. But they are all good stories.”

Wolf Hall is the story of Thomas Cromwell, great-great-great uncle to the more-famous Oliver Cromwell. Thomas rose from obscurity and the peasantry to become, firstly, the Cardinal Wolsey’s problem solver, a
Mar 16, 2014 Sue rated it it was amazing
It took a little while to get into the style of writing but once I was in I loved it. The detail and insight was glorious. I felt I was there.

I was given a hard copy as a gift. Shame because it looks fabulous, so big. But I couldn't hold it and ended up buying it on the Kindle.

I will definitely read that one again. So much in it that I know I will have missed things.
May 12, 2015 Connie rated it liked it
These are good books, a good story, but I must say that I'm glad that we are watching Wolf Hall/Bring UP The Bodies on PBS at the same time. Reading these books is a challenge only because it is hard to keep track of all of the players. Seeing those characters on TV helps.
May 08, 2013 Valerie rated it it was amazing
amazing as i thought she could not maintain that pace and inspiration, she has unbelievable ...captivating, Mantell must have been dreaming , breathing and communicating with Cromwell there is something so intimate in her reading of his mind. Its an astonishing book and teh writing is even more tighter , i could not put it down

"like the minotaur, breaths unseen in a labyrinth of rooms" while down river the sword that comes down on the queen's neck is "a sharp sigh or a sound like a whistle throu
Kristina Chalmain
Aug 26, 2015 Kristina Chalmain rated it it was amazing
Hooked on Mantel's first book on Thomas Cromwell, reading this book was a must! And in a way the impact may somewhat have lessened, as you know more what to expect. But this doesn't diminish the stature of this book - even if I think it is not a free-standing work, i.e. you must have read Wolf Hall first.

While this book much follows the stream-of-consciousness style of writing from Wolf Hall, someone surprising you will find a bit more of third-person narration, i.e. "telling" us for a change,
Jan 01, 2016 Roberta rated it really liked it
Piecing together Thomas Cromwell and Anne Boleyn from sketchy and/or unreliable information, Hilary Mantel has made a great couple of characters, whose lives and in the case of Cromwell, thoughts, keep you turning pages til the last of the heads roll. The language is spare and the world of 1500's England is depicted so viscerally you can smell the manure, the mud and the musty wool garments and feel the damp, salty air. We think our geo-politics today are complicated but they seem no more comple ...more
Kate Cudahy
Sep 22, 2015 Kate Cudahy rated it it was amazing
This is just my reaction to Wolf Hall - I'm saving myself for a later date with Ms Mantel and Bring up the Bodies. But I was so excited about this book, I couldn't keep schtum so here goes.

As usual with prize winning novels that everyone else has already read, I'm late to the party on this one. And I regret that - because this was without a doubt the best book I've read so far this year. What I liked in particular was that Mantel took what is essentially a very familiar story and did something s
Jul 05, 2015 Immen added it
I think 'Bring up the Bodies' is going to be, shockingly, a middle book of a trilogy that is the most tightly plotted and vigorous of the three. I peeked on Wikipedia so I know Thomas (he, Cromwell) dies four years after Anna Regina, his power shattered, his English Bible generations from light (Cromwell, Oliver is born before the King James bible). So that's going to be a downer. But this book is all: the King dances with death! that lovely bit with the crossing of the wrists! incredible sexual ...more
Apr 07, 2013 Julie rated it it was amazing
I liked this one even better (at least until the end), than Wolf Hall. Set in the 1500's in England, the history was so interesting to me. I can't wait for the third novel in the series to come out! (This was number two).
Kathleen Moriarty
Jul 24, 2013 Kathleen Moriarty rated it really liked it
Book 2 of an imaginative retelling of a familiar story. Thomas Cromwell never had such a more sincere admirer and harshest critic as an author who sees "the man" in the shadows so well. I cannot wait for Book 3.
Kari Dennis
Dec 07, 2015 Kari Dennis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautifully written

It is no surprise the awards these 2 books have won. The writing is wonderful, even poetic at times. The characters are a joy to discover, as is her reading of the events surrounding the enigmatic Thomas Cromwell. Above all, Cromwell's character is the most fun, the most entertaining to read about. Rising above his low birth by using his brains, brawn and sheer determination, finally becoming the right hand of the king. The dialogue alone is a thing of beauty, then you add the
Filipa De paiva raposo
Dec 11, 2013 Filipa De paiva raposo rated it really liked it
Can't wait for the third.. I find Hilary Mantel's writing to be engrossing and never imagined I would find the subject of Cromwell to be so intriguing.
Apr 27, 2015 Lindsay rated it it was amazing
I liked this one somewhat better than WOLF HALL. The action was more highly colored, and it was always possible to tell who "he" was in the many passages of quotation mark-free dialog. What can I say about Hilary Mantel? She is absolutely brilliant -- an original and imaginative writer -- but she takes some getting used to. She doesn't give you an easy ride, nor could she, given how deep she goes into everyone's character and motivations. Cromwell is center stage. Around him revolve everyone els ...more
Jun 02, 2015 Ruthmarie rated it really liked it
Another fascinating look at the court of Henry VIII and its political-religious intrigues. Is my increasing dislike of Thomas Cromwell being engineered by Mantel as she prepares to portray his fall in her upcoming The Light and the Mirror? And after having disdained Anne in Wolf Hall, how is it that I pity her as she prepares for her decapitation? And for all that historical opinion indicates that Jane Seymour was a good woman with a happy marriage to Henry, how is it that I find her insipid and ...more
May 11, 2015 Jim rated it really liked it
Slightly disappointed because my expectations after "Wolf Hall" were so high. And perhaps a bit because we see more of Cromwell's actions as perhaps more ruthless to gain power, where before it was a question of survival. This first book shows us ways in which the 'showdown' with More may have played out differently, but in this book, the fall of Anne Boleyn (oh, was that a spoiler?) was more calculated and nasty. But I still could not put it down, and I'm sorry I don't have the third book at ha ...more
Feb 01, 2015 Lyn rated it really liked it
I'm now officially a fan of Hilary Mantel. Historical fiction is a tall order and Mantel answers beautifully with this Wolf Hall series. Now, PBS is bringing it to TV this April, and I can't wait!

Anyway, Cromwell is a mastermind, a dynamic, malleable, compelling character who can manipulate any situation. He doesn't seem to have a deep moral problem with Henry VIII's narcissism that leaves a trail of bodies in its wake. I do think Cromwell wants to serve the realm, financially, and that filling
David Cheshire
Sep 29, 2013 David Cheshire rated it it was amazing
Hilary Mantel's re-imagining of the life and times of Thomas Cromwell continues in triumph. More and more Cromwell emerges as a modern man, countering stupid aristocrats, vested interests, superstition, with diligence, watchfulness, intelligence (both kinds), and loyalty, to Wolsey, then Henry. He is self-taught, well-read, versed in trades. (How, by the way, does the author know so much about jousting?) His household, eclectic and generous to a fault, is a model for the England he wants. He fee ...more
Lexie Conyngham
May 08, 2013 Lexie Conyngham rated it really liked it
What is there left to say about this book after all the awards it has won? I'm normally dubious about Booker winners, but this one certainly deserved it. I find it fascinating how she has taken Thomas Cromwell, usually portrayed as a thoroughly unlikeable character (see, for example, 'A Man for All Seasons' and C.J. Sansom's Shardlake novels) and, while not denying any of his power or deeds, makes an infinitely more sympathetic character. She also takes Thomas More, so often depicted almost as a ...more
Oct 06, 2014 Laura rated it it was amazing
I have just finished reading Wolf Hall and I am so enthralled with it! The reading style is very different and took a while to get used to but once I got to grips with 'he' being Cromwell I found it a thoroughly enjoyable way of reading.

He is often seen as the criminal of the Tudor marriage saga but here Mantel has brought out a side of him that I find believable and courageous. He is after all a servant always doing his masters bidding and ultimately the master is Henry VIII.

I find it very int
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Thomas Cromwell 1 1 Oct 26, 2015 01:51PM  
Defining Mantel's genius 4 13 Sep 02, 2013 04:51AM  
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Hilary Mantel is the bestselling author of many novels including Wolf Hall, which won the Man Booker Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction. Bring Up the Bodies, Book Two of the Thomas Cromwell Trilogy, was also awarded the Man Booker Prize and the Costa Book Award. She is also the author of A Change of Climate, A Place of Greater Safety, Eight Months on Ghazzah Street, An ...more
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“It is better not to try people, not to force them to desperation. Make them prosper; out of superfluity, they will be generous. Full bellies breed gentle manners. The pinch of famine makes monsters.” 1 likes
“He did not relish the topic; he sensed in Jane Rochford’s tone the peculiar cruelty of women. They fight with the poor weapons God has bestowed – spite, guile, skill in deceit – and it is likely that in conversations between themselves they trespass in places where a man would never trust his footing.” 0 likes
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