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Bring Up the Bodies

(Thomas Cromwell Trilogy #2)

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  71,646 ratings  ·  7,584 reviews
Alternate Cover Edition ISBN 0805090037 (ISBN13: 9780805090031)

The sequel to Hilary Mantel's international bestseller and Man Booker Prize winner Wolf Hall explores one of the most mystifying and frightening episodes in English history: the downfall of Anne Boleyn.
Though he battled for years to marry her, Henry VIII has become disenchanted with the audacious Anne Boleyn
Hardcover, First US edition, 412 pages
Published May 8th 2012 by Henry Holt & Company, Inc.
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Nancy Lanoue Absolutely! That is the central idea that the book brought home to me. That's what kept me turning the pages. The precision that Mantell disects the t…moreAbsolutely! That is the central idea that the book brought home to me. That's what kept me turning the pages. The precision that Mantell disects the thought patterns and actions of Thomas Cromwell is masterful.(less)

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Average rating 4.27  · 
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 ·  71,646 ratings  ·  7,584 reviews

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May 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2012
The normally flinty James Wood recently wrote what can only be characterized as an extended mash note to Hilary Mantel in the New Yorker, based on this book and its predecessor, Wolf Hall. I can only concur, and add a few observations of my own.

How good is this book? It's so good that
(i) I am trying to ration myself to only 50 pages a day, to spin out the experience of reading it just that little bit longer
(ii) I am failing miserably in objective (i) above, because I am an undisciplined wretch,
Sean Barrs
Mantel is such an excellent writer; her prose is eloquent and artistic, beautiful even.. Few writers have such skill. She uses every grammatical tool at her disposal to give her novel a strong individual sense of stylistic flair. And that’s just the surface level of her sentences; she also uses metaphor and constant allusions to take it to another level entirely.

For example, my favourite passage in the book:

“He looks around at his guests. All are prepared. A Latin grace; English would be his c
Jun 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of literary historical fiction and the Tudor era
Recommended to Paula by: Booker
Booker Prize 2012
Costa Book Award 2012
Women’s Prize for Fiction nominee 2013

Brilliant! A masterful piece of literature! I loved WOLF HALL, the first book in the Thomas Cromwell series, but I have to say I enjoyed BRING UP THE BODIES even more If that is even possible. There is no lack of excitement in book #2. Henry VIII asks Cromwell to get rid of Anne Boleyn as she hasn’t given him a son. The King wants to make way for another, Jane Seymour, that has caught his eye. His first wife, Katherine,
Will Byrnes
His whole career has been an education in hypocrisy. Eyes that once skewered him now kindle with simulated regard. Hands that would like to knock his hat off now reach out to take his hand, sometimes in a crushing grip. He has spun his enemies to face him, to join him: as in a dance. He means to spin them away again, so they look down the long cold vista of their years: so they feel the wind, the wind of exposed places, that cuts to the bone: so they bed down in ruins, and wake up cold.
Be c
Most people in the English speaking world know the history of Henry VIII from their earliest school days or from the many books, films and TV series that the episode has inspired. Some of us cringe when we hear of yet another fictional version, yet another glittery effort to sensationalise the intrigue of the Tudor court and create even more farfetched scenarios around the details of the wooing and discarding of Henry’s wives. How then can Hilary Mantel’s series be of any interest? I would argue ...more
There are no endings. If you think so you are deceived as to their nature. They are all beginnings. Here is one....

The books of Hilary Mantel on Thomas Cromwell are superb, grande. We all know the history of Henry VIII but Wolfhall and Bring Up the Bodies are refreshing, sharp, intelligent, much more than 'just' historic tales. I give a slight preference to Wolf Hall, because that book was groundbreaking, a new take on this famous piece of history, seen through the eyes of Thomas
Jun 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I came to this sequel thinking it could not possibly stand up to the first installment. So, I was prepared to like this book, but not love it as much as I did Wolf Hall. But I was wrong: it does, and I did.

It's one of those works that I lingered over the last pages of, not wanting it to end: the prose is that good. And it installed itself into my psyche. After putting it down at night and as I fell asleep, words, phrases, sentences rolled through my head. (This has happened to me before, but th
May 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I loved this second book about Thomas Cromwell and King Henry VIII even more than the first one!

I started reading Bring Up the Bodies as soon as I finished Wolf Hall, and I've enjoyed this series so much I'm excited for Mantel's third volume, whenever it's published.

While Wolf Hall focused on the rise of Anne Boleyn and how she became Queen of England, Bring Up the Bodies is about how the King decides to leave Anne when she can't give him a son, and her subsequent downfall and execution. The st
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Historical fiction at its best, Bring up the Bodies is a worthy winner of the Man Booker Prize. It is well researched and very well written. Once I re-attuned myself to the extensive use of the pronoun ‘he’ referring to Thomas Cromwell, it was a most pleasurable read. The subtle humour and wily Cromwell’s wit were particularly enjoyable, and I look forward to reading The Mirror and the Light, the recently published final instalment of this trilogy.

“This book is of course not about Ann
Feb 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, owned
Much more fast paced and focused than it’s predecessor, feeling effortless and thrilling at the same time - 5 stars
You can be merry with the king, you can share a joke with him. But as Thomas More used to say, it's like sporting with a tamed lion. You tousle its mane and pull its ears, but all the time you're thinking, those claws, those claws, those claws.

Sometimes I needed to press myself to read on in Wolf Hall; with Bring Up the Bodies I stayed up late just to keep on reading. A breathless j
Aaaahhh. Fine, fine, fine. The final last paragraph -- perfect.
Cromwell now to me will always be "he, Cromwell". This little stylistic flourish did add clarity, compared with Wolf Hall. To purposefully use just "he" in the first book was at times confusing, forcing one to stop and step out of the story to regain one's bearings. Sort of like breaking the fourth wall -- and perhaps that was the point then, a metafictional technique? but it was too intrusive.
This book just sailed on from Wolf Hall
Ahmad Sharabiani
Bring Up the Bodies (Thomas Cromwell, #2), Hilary Mantel

Bring Up the Bodies is a historical novel by Hilary Mantel and sequel to her award-winning Wolf Hall. It is the second part of a planned trilogy charting the rise and fall of Thomas Cromwell, the powerful minister in the court of King Henry VIII. It is to be followed by The Mirror and the Light.

Bring Up the Bodies begins not long after the conclusion of Wolf Hall. The King and Thomas Cromwell, who is now Master Secretary to the King's Pri
“Rafe asks him, could the king's freedom be obtained, sir, with more economy of means? Less bloodshed?
Look, he says: once you have exhausted the process of negotiation and compromise, one you have fixed on the destruction of an enemy, that destruction must be swift and it must be perfect. Before you even glance in his direction, you should have his name on a warrant, the ports blocked, his wife and friends bought, his heir under your protection, his money in your strong room and his dog running
Heidi The Reader
Hilary Mantel's brilliant trilogy about Thomas Cromwell continues with Bring Up the Bodies.

Cromwell is the right-hand man of Henry the VIII. His masterful manipulation of people and circumstances to make the world as Henry wants it has brought Cromwell wealth and power.

Getting Anne Boleyn on the throne was a struggle. Now he has to get her off of it without losing his own head in the process.

Mantel doesn't just tell history, she makes it come alive.

In one scene I can't get out of my head: Henry
Feb 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
In "Bring up the Bodies" Hilary Mantel has written a shorter and tighter novel than its predecessor "Wolf Hall", and it is just as good! I tore through the book in a few days, and I am eagerly anticipating the third and final installment in the series.
Most of the joy of "Bring up the Bodies" is Mantel's lovely writing, and her masterful creation and depiction of the series' main protagonist Thomas Cromwell. The story is told mainly from a third person perspective, but it is an omniscient narrato
Eric Anderson
Mar 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having read “Wolf Hall” for the first time recently, I wanted to keep up the momentum by jumping right into reading the second book in Mantel’s trilogy on Cromwell. Like I said with the first novel, it’s impressive how the author creates such a suspenseful narrative despite my being aware of what was going to happen because it’s based on history. Having dealt with the sprawling mechanics of the events leading to Henry’s marriage with Catherine of Aragon being invalidated and England’s break from ...more
Nov 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: aere-perennius, 2012
“The things you think are the disasters in your life are not the disasters really. Almost anything can be turned around: out of every ditch, a path, if you can only see it.”
― Hilary Mantel, Bring Up the Bodies


100 pages in and it is hard to miss that this isn't just a nominal sequel to Wolf Hall, but rather the first book's logical annex. There is no drop-off in complexity. No laxity of language. Again, Mantel manages to shift form, change structure and reinvent her style. She even manages to g
I jumped straight into Bring Up the Bodies after finishing Wolf Hall, such was my eagerness to dive back into Hilary Mantel’s Tudor England and, of course, sit on the shoulder of the inscrutable, enigmatic Thomas Cromwell as he led us through it. I’m afraid this review is much shorter than my review of Wolf Hall, because many of the points still apply from one to the other.

Mantel still prefers to overuse her third person pronouns rather than use her main character’s name, which in the previous b
Mar 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Of course if you loved Wolf Hall you’re going to love this too. It’s slightly different in tone and texture to Wolf Hall though. Less richly dense and intimate; quicker paced, covering as it does a much smaller time frame than Wolf Hall. I read somewhere Mantel heeded criticism of her excessive and confusing use of the pronoun he in Wolf Hall. And it’s true she is much clearer here, always referring to Cromwell by name whenever there might be confusion. What this does is remove some of the sympa ...more
Roman Clodia
May 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: anne-boleyn
'All the players gone,' Wriothesley says. 'All four who carried the cardinal to Hell; and also the poor fool Mark who made a ballad of their exploits.'

In this second chilling volume of her Cromwell trilogy, Mantel shows just how deep her 'hero' can be and how his emotions linger and fester beneath the cool, efficient, surface. The cardinal may have been dragged down a whole book ago but, for Cromwell, he's not forgotten - and the four young men who once made entertainment of his death to the
Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂

"You perceive it is an old song that I am trying to rework. What pairs with blue? Apart from 'new'?"

I had a little bit of trouble getting into Cromwell's head in this book, the second in Mantel's Oliver Cromwell trilogy, but once I was there I was there. What the book really successfully replicated was the quite bewildering speed Henry VIII went off Anne Boleyn. One Tudor minute he was so obsessed with Anne that he was prepared
K.D. Absolutely
Nov 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to K.D. by: Booker 2012 winner
I rarely give 5 stars but I can't help it with this 2012 Booker winner. I am still to read the last year's other Booker finalists but this book is one of the best among my recent reads. Hence, I think the Booker jurors made the right pick last year. Also, those friends of mine who already read this book and gave a 4 or 5 stars also made the right verdict: this book is exceptionally great!

Prior to this book's prequel, Wolf Hall (4 stars), I knew nothing about Henry VIII. I am a Filipino who had m
Jul 12, 2012 rated it liked it
I feel stingy giving this only 3 stars, because it is a really excellent book in its own right. But it fell short of the wondrous originality and complexity of Wolf Hall... I missed the mythic-mystic dimension and the sense of a society on the cusp between "medieval" and "Renaissance". Thomas Cromwell doesn't have the same rich character arc that he had in Wolf Hall: he's on top and he stays on top. And King Henry doesn't struggle against the same array of opponents in this book, he just decides ...more
Aug 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The second book in Hilary Mantel’s amazing series on the life of Thomas Cromwell. I seem to have an unlimited capacity for viewing the Anne Boleyn story from different points of view. I know the details already, so you might think it would be boring, but it is anything but. I can never help trembling just a little when Anne is beheaded, and wondering, as we all must, what her state of mind must have been to go from queen to discard so quickly.

This book has the more sensational part of Henry the
Apr 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I began this with tremendous trepidation. I loved Wolf Hall and kept wondering if this could possibly hold up, thinking of all those times when a sequel didn't. For those of you wondering that too, let me assure you: this is a great novel in its own right, and a more-than-worthy sequel. Mantel is again at the top of her game, writing with the same incisiveness and the same narrative drive that made Wolf Hall so fantastic. You know from the opening pages that you're in the perfect hands to tell t ...more
Jul 05, 2020 added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of legal dramas, & bastards generally
The order goes to the Tower, 'Bring up the bodies,' Deliver, that is, the accused men.... (p.432)

I saw this book at the Book exchange box round the corner by St. Stephen's Church and swapped That Sweet Enemy for it, although after reading Wolf hall a few years ago I felt no need to continue reading the series. And even though I enjoyed this just as much as the lupine Hall, I would not recommend it particularly as literature beyond maybe a twenty or forty page sample to get a sense of it's style
B the BookAddict
Jun 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Most Highly Recommended
Recommended to B the BookAddict by: Jeffrey Keeten
In her Author’s Note, Hilary Mantel says: “This book is of course not about Anne Boleyn or about Henry VIII but about the career of Thomas Cromwell, who is still in need of attention from biographers. Meanwhile, Mr Secretary (Cromwell) remains sleek, plump and densely inaccessible, like a choice plum in a Christmas pie…”

For me, Cromwell remains admirable, he had such exemplary hopes for England: one country, one coinage, one set of laws, one church albeit at Henry's bidding, good roads, good cr
Spencer Orey
Mar 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Haunting and tense. I started to feel like I knew Cromwell by the end, though I could never keep up with him! I will need a break before book 3 just to de-stress again, whew.

This is the sequel to Wolf Hall, which I read shortly after it won the Man Booker Prize. The fact that I thought I would be reading a book featuring Cavaliers and Roundheads indicates that (a) I hadn’t been paying much attention to book reviews and (b) I don’t really know much about the Tudors. Luckily it only took a paragraph for me to realise the novel was about Henry VIII’s Cromwell and not the other one, or else I would have been a very confused reader. In terms of the history, I had to rely
May 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant, again. With sentences like this, as a candle is lit: The light shivers, then settles against dark wood like discs pared from a pearl. Everybody knows this story, of Catherine of Aragon, Henry the VIII, and Anne Boleyn, but that story has never been told like this before. And I don't just mean the obvious - that it's told from the perspective of Thomas Cromwell, who has come down in history as Henry's hatchet-man, but who here, in these pages, has wit and humanity as well as the shrewd ...more
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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 Wolf Hall 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 Exper ...more

Other books in the series

Thomas Cromwell Trilogy (3 books)
  • Wolf Hall (Thomas Cromwell, #1)
  • The Mirror & the Light (Thomas Cromwell, #3)

Articles featuring this book

Her Favorite Books About the Tudors: Experience Henry VIII's court in the Wolf Hall follow-up, Bring Up the Bodies, and try these works that...
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“The things you think are the disasters in your life are not the disasters really. Almost anything can be turned around: out of every ditch, a path, if you can only see it.” 131 likes
“The word 'however' is like an imp coiled beneath your chair. It induces ink to form words you have not yet seen, and lines to march across the page and overshoot the margin. There are no endings. If you think so you are deceived as to their nature. They are all beginnings. Here is one.” 84 likes
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