Muse's Books (muse_books) wrote in 50bookchallenge,
Muse's Books

Book 145: Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel

UK Cover
Book 145: Bring up the Bodies (Wolf Hall #2).
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.

US Cover
Although this is a direct sequel to Wolf Hall and works best read after that novel, Mantel has included enough background for it to work as stand alone. However, in the Man Booker Shadowing group those of us who had read Wolf Hall found its many characters easier to deal with as well as the complex politics of the period. At the start of the novel Mantel does include listings of characters, which does come in very handy.

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.

Historic Winner!
In terms of presentation, I do prefer the UK cover depicting Anne's falcon to the portrait on the USA cover. It has a golden metallic sheen as better illustrated by this photo of a very happy Hilary Mantel photographed at the 2012 Man Booker Prize ceremony.

The opening of Bring Up the Bodies - from The Guardian's website.
Tags: british, historical fiction, literary, man booker winner

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