Jul 26, 12
Read from July 17 to 25, 2012
I enjoyed the second volume of Hilary Mantel's trilogy on Thomas Cromwell the grand political manipulator of King Henry VIII's reign. This novel finds Crowmwell tring to anticipate the wishes of the King -while keeping England from plunging into Civil War or even more disasterously war with Spain or France. The book is again narrated by Crowmwell -although Mantel has altered her method of presenting Cromwell's thoughts so this novel is not quite as dense or challenging as its predecessor Wolf Hall.
One can imagine Thomas Cromwell bewing very sucessful in the politics of Modern Washington or London- the political hardball of today never ending in the beheading of the losing side. Cromwell is an enigma having crawled out of the gutter of Tudor England he maintains enormous influence absent a title because he is so capable of reading the King's wishes and seeing that they are executed. In Bring up the Bodies Cromwell must dispose of Anne Boelyn the King's second wife for whom the King has lost interest. Cromwell first determines the King's intentions which are clouded in doubt and then relentlessly carries them forward. Cromwell craves power and money but he also wants to presrve and protect England, as well as raise the lower classes up just some from the poverty and hunger that confronts them. The most interesting part of the novel is that it is all true, at least in its broad outline of the facts. Anne was executed for adultery with her brother and others in the King's court. That seems unlikely but in Cromwell's mind humans can be expected to do most anything so it is wise to be prepared,