31 December, 2013

Book Review: Bring Up the Bodies

From Goodreads: 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?

Thoughts:  Wolf Hall was my last book of 2012, which apparently I then failed to review! I know that while I enjoyed it, it wasn't easy going, so have looked at this several times this year, but never quite been game enough. I finally bit the bullet and am glad I did. I found this easier to read than Wolf Hall, more familiar with the characters and more stable characters. (Let's face it, anything set at the King's Court during this period has a cast of thousands, all with hidden motives!) While I won't say I flew through it, I did read it a lot quicker.
I think you could read this as a stand alone quite easily, especially if you had a little knowledge about how Henry came to be married to Anne Boleyn. 
Mantel focuses on Cromwell, something not often done. You can almost feel the tightrope he walks as he deals with the King, Anne and the other members of court. I really hope she writes further books about Cromwell, as I know it doesn't end well for him and really would like to see how she chronicles his downfall.

Challenges: Ebook Challenge