Victor Carson's Reviews > Bring Up the Bodies

Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel
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Jul 06, 12

bookshelves: history, fiction-foreign
Read from June 30 to July 05, 2012

This novel is a very fine sequel to the author's "Wolf Hall." The author continues to explore both the dark and the bright aspects of Thomas Cromwell and provides fine portraits of the King Henry VIII, his wife Catherine, and his second wife Anne. In modern times, we might admire the character of Anne, her independence, her passion, and even her seemingly insatiable sexual energy. Her execution at the conclusion of this second part of the Cromwell trilogy affected me strongly and disturbed my sleep the evening I finished the book. Cromwell is probably correct in pronouncing her guilty of adultery, but even he seems to admire her and pity her sad end. His loyalty to the king is less understandable.

The novel weaves the historical threads with great skill and care. I came to admire the villain, Thomas Cromwell, and to despise the people he hated. That he will meet his end at the hands of the king is ironic, but not unforeseen by Cromwell himself. In the end, he was a commoner who played among the nobles and at the orders of an ungrateful, entirely self-centered, despotic king.
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