Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel

91%

45 Critic Reviews

The good news is that it is more than the equal of its predecessor when it comes to intensity and drama...
-LA Times

Synopsis

Winner of the 2012 Man Booker Prize
Winner of the 2012 Costa Book of the Year Award

The sequel to Hilary Mantel's 2009 Man Booker Prize winner and New York Times bestseller, Wolf Hall delves into the heart of Tudor history with the downfall of Anne Boleyn

Though he battled for seven years to marry her, Henry is disenchanted with Anne Boleyn. She has failed to give him a son and her sharp intelligence and audacious will alienate his old friends and the noble families of England. When the discarded Katherine dies in exile from the court, Anne stands starkly exposed, the focus of gossip and malice.

At a word from Henry, Thomas Cromwell is ready to bring her down. Over three terrifying weeks, Anne is ensnared in a web of conspiracy, while the demure Jane Seymour stands waiting her turn for the poisoned wedding ring. But Anne and her powerful family will not yield without a ferocious struggle. Hilary Mantel's Bring Up the Bodies follows the dramatic trial of the queen and her suitors for adultery and treason. To defeat the Boleyns, Cromwell must ally with his natural enemies, the papist aristocracy. What price will he pay for Anne's head?

Bring Up the Bodies is one of The New York Times' 10 Best Books of 2012, one of Publishers Weekly's Top 10 Best Books of 2012 and one of The Washington Post's 10 Best Books of 2012

 

About Hilary Mantel

See more books from this Author
Hilary Mantel's novels "offer lessons in life's contrariness, in the tensions between free will, unfortunate accident, and involuntary behavior" (Los Angeles Times Book Review). She is the author of eight novels and winner of the prestigious Hawthornden Prize for Literature.
 
Published May 8, 2012 by Henry Holt and Co.. 436 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction, Biographies & Memoirs, Political & Social Sciences, Travel. Fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on May 27 2012
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Weeks as Bestseller
Bookmark Counts:
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Critic reviews for Bring Up the Bodies
All: 45 | Positive: 43 | Negative: 2

Kirkus

Below average
May 15 2012

The inventiveness of Mantel’s language is the chief draw here; the plot, as such, will engage only the most determined of Tudor enthusiasts.

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Guardian

Excellent
Reviewed by Frances Wilson on May 12 2012

While lacking, necessarily, the shocking freshness of the first book, it is narrower, tighter, at times a more brilliant and terrifying novel.

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Margaret Atwood on May 04 2012

...literary invention does not fail her: she's as deft and verbally adroit as ever.

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NY Times

Excellent
Reviewed by Charles McGrath on May 25 2012

...it’s astringent and purifying, stripping away the cobwebs and varnish of history, the antique formulations and brocaded sentimentality of costume-­drama novels, so that the English past comes to seem like something vivid, strange and brand new.

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NY Times

Excellent
Reviewed by Janet Maslin on May 01 2012

The wonder of Ms. Mantel’s retelling is that she makes these events fresh and terrifying all over again.

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Wall Street Journal

Good
Reviewed by Steve Donoghue on May 04 2012

Ms. Mantel everywhere displays an easy ability to show us characters' depths in quick flashes...

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Blog Critics

Good
Reviewed by xoxoxoe on Jun 09 2013

...Bring Up the Bodies, starts off with a bang and doesn’t let up, as it chronicles Henry’s growing impatience with second wife Anne...

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Blog Critics

Excellent
Reviewed by Jack Goodstein on May 05 2013

The only thing this book needs is readers, and more to the point — readers need this kind of book.

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NPR

Excellent
Reviewed by Michael Schaub on May 23 2012

Bring Up the Bodies isn't just her boldest book; it's also her best — and it reaffirms Mantel's reputation as one of England's greatest living novelists.

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Toronto Star

Above average
Reviewed by Alex Good on Jun 06 2012

Just because Cromwell is a bad man doesn't make him any less complex or interesting a figure. He is not a caricature of bureaucratic evil but a well-rounded, psychologically convincing antihero.

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Star Tribune

Excellent
Reviewed by Matt Burgess on May 21 2012

...Hilary Mantel continues the spectacular story of Thomas Cromwell... A perfect character for the interior world of fiction...

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LA Times

Excellent
Reviewed by Martin Rubin on May 20 2012

The good news is that it is more than the equal of its predecessor when it comes to intensity and drama...

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National Post

Excellent
Reviewed by Vit Wagner on May 18 2012

But Mantel’s goal is to enrich... At that she once again succeeds to an admirable, even breathtaking, extent.

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Globe and Mail

Excellent
Reviewed by Gavriel Kay on May 11 2012

Excellence is rare, it is a reason why we value it so much... the telling of her tale is masterful.

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Entertainment Weekly

Excellent
Reviewed by Rob Brunner on May 10 2012

In Mantel's hands, Cromwell's cunning, morally complicated orchestration of that historic slice through the royal neck is as exciting as any thriller.

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The Washington Post

Excellent
Reviewed by Wendy Smith on May 07 2012

She animates history with a political and psychological acuity equal to Tolstoy’s in “War and Peace”...

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The Telegraph

Excellent
Reviewed by Bettany Hughes on May 28 2012

Bring Up the Bodies might be a fiction, but it is more transparent than those high-narrative histories which cherry-pick their evidence and then fill in factual gaps with educated imaginative leaps.

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The Telegraph

Excellent
Reviewed by Catherine Taylor on May 17 2012

...breathes new life into biographies we thought we knew by heart, enlarged and contemporised to mirror our own gains and losses.

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USA Today

Excellent
Reviewed by Deirdre Donahue on May 26 2012

Mantel's secret is her ability to make the reader identify heart and soul with Cromwell.

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The Independent

Excellent
Reviewed by Philip Hensher on May 20 2012

Bring up the Bodies has a gripping story of tumbling fury and terror, and for the most part does it with honour and energy.

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The Independent

Excellent
Reviewed by Diane Purkiss on May 12 2012

Anyone bored with the lean, mean style imposed by creative-writing schools will revel in her lush metaphors.

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Huffington Post

Excellent
Reviewed by Ilana Teitelbaum on May 09 2012

...Mantel weaves a richly textured world that is at once deeply foreign and entirely relevant...

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San Francisco Chronicle

Excellent
Reviewed by Alan Cheuse on May 18 2012

...swiftly moving and entertaining, erudite and educational new work of historical fiction by Mantel.

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The Uncustomary Book Review

Good
Reviewed by Kat Kiddles on Jul 27 2013

The novel comes across to me, therefore, as a study of the role of those hidden, behind-the-scenes, unelected advisors and the power they can wield, with impunity, to great effect. Coming, as I do, from a background in human resource training and…

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Slate

Excellent
Reviewed by William Georgiades on May 05 2012

That is the worst that can be said about Mantel—her latest book makes you angry, because you want more.

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Boston.com

Excellent
Reviewed by Richard Eder on May 27 2012

The achievement of Hilary Mantel’s rich and piercing chronicle of Cromwell and the feral English court is to portray him at times as a nail amid a world of hammers.

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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Excellent
on Jun 10 2012

Ms. Mantel builds the search for evidence against Anne layer upon layer, her Cromwell a clever, patient interrogator. The dialogues proceed like small dramas from witness to witness and suspect to suspect, filled with asides, glances, nods of the head and sympathetic smiles -- a master novelist at work.

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Salon

Excellent
Reviewed by Laura Miller on May 06 2012

Mantel makes bold not with form... but with the very material that brings most readers to novels in the first place: our imaginative identification with fictional characters and the experiences we feel we’re sharing with them.

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The New Republic

Excellent
Reviewed by Peter Green on May 01 2012

...this technique, a kind of literary 3-D, combines with reported conversation to create an instant realism that projects emotions—fear in particular—with extraordinary vividness.

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Newsday

Excellent
Reviewed by Erica Marcus on May 17 2012

Mantel's characters are so palpable, their dialogue so natural, that the narrative seems more transcribed than imagined.

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The New Yorker

Excellent
Reviewed by James Wood on May 07 2012

Mantel knows what to select, how to make her scenes vivid, how to kindle her characters.

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The Seattle Times

Excellent
Reviewed by Mary Ann Gwinn on May 06 2012

This wonderful, terrible novel does an awful story full justice... You won't be able to tear your eyes away.

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New Statesman

Excellent
Reviewed by Amanda Craig on May 16 2012

Bring Up the Bodies should net its author another Booker Prize – deservedly, this time.

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New Zealand Listener

Excellent
Reviewed by Paula Morris on Jun 30 2012

It’s clear from the first line we’re in the hands of an expert stylist and storyteller who’s made an audacious imaginative leap.

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Good E-Reader

Below average
Reviewed by Mercy Pilkington on Jun 11 2012

Ultimately, the information was semi-intriguing but the writing style forced me to decipher the text rather than read it.

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NY Daily News

Excellent
Reviewed by Sherryl Connelly on May 20 2012

...a book every bit as good as “Wolf Hall” and certainly accessible as a stand-alone novel...

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History News Network

Excellent
Reviewed by Jim Cullen on Jun 11 2012

I'm glad I read it, and endorse this novel... But this book, too, is a bit slow, though the narrative picks up steam in as it proceeds.

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Bookslut

Excellent
Reviewed by Josh Zajdman on May 01 2012

As each page is rapidly turned, Mantel manages to consistently tighten the screws and ratchet up the tension...

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Devourer of Books

Good
Reviewed by Jen on Jul 13 2012

...much more accessible than Wolf Hall while still being incredibly well-written.

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Readings

Good
Reviewed by Estelle Tang on May 28 2012

Like Wolf Hall, Bring Up the Bodies is patently enlivened by the author’s passion for Cromwell.

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Rivers I Have Known

Good
Reviewed by Amritorupa Kanjilal on Jul 23 2012

Hilarly Mantel has my vote for the most awesome writer of our generation.

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The Nature of Things

Good
Jun 18 2012

This is a tour de force, a writer on top of her game.

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Book Group of One

Good
Reviewed by Carol Wallace on May 18 2012

Writing isn’t just about words, though, it’s also about imaginations and this may be where Mantel really excels.

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Historical-Fiction.com

Good
Reviewed by Arleigh on May 28 2012

Exquisitely detailed and full of endearing character quirks and references from the original, even die-hard Anne Boleyn advocates will appreciate this novel for its honest representation.

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A Girl Walks Into a Bookstore...

Good
Reviewed by Katherine on May 14 2012

There are probably hundreds of novels out there about the downfall of Anne Boleyn, but this one stands head and shoulders (no pun intended) above the rest.

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Reader Rating for Bring Up the Bodies
84%

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