Author: Hilary Mantel, 2012
Genre: Historical Fiction. 16th Century England.
Other Details: Hardback. 407 pages.
By 1535 Cromwell is Chief Minister to Henry, his fortunes having risen with those of Anne Boleyn. But the split from the Catholic Church has left England dangerously isolated, and Anne has failed to give the king an heir. Cromwell watches as Henry falls for plain Jane Seymour. Negotiating the politics of the court, Cromwell must find a solution that will satisfy Henry, safeguard the nation and secure his own career. But neither minister nor king will emerge unscathed from the bloody theatre of Anne’s final days. - synopsis from publisher's website.
Almost effortlessly Mantel transports her reader back to the 16th century as an invisible eye-witness to the events leading to the execution of Anne Boleyn. That sense of being present creates an immediacy to the proceedings. Her writing is exquisite as always.
It is a real triumph for Mantel that managed to be even better than 'Wolf Hall'. It was from the start my favourite in the Man Booker 2012 short-list as it was for the judges when it secured Mantel her second Booker Prize and proved a historic win as Mantel was the first woman and the first Brit to win twice and Bring Up the Bodies the first direct sequel to win the prestigious literary prize.
Mantel is now working on the final book in the trilogy, The Mirror and the Light, that will chart Cromwell's eventual downfall.
The opening of Bring Up the Bodies - from The Guardian's website.