Publisher: Fourth Estate
Length: 432 pages
About: Thomas Cromwell removes Anne Boleyn
Style: 3rd person
By 1535 Thomas Cromwell is Chief Minister to Henry VIII, his fortunes having risen with those of Anne Boleyn, the king's new wife. But Anne has failed to give the king an heir, and Cromwell
watches as Henry falls for plain Jane Seymour. 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. An astounding literary accomplishment, 'Bring Up the Bodies' is the story of this most terrifying moment of history, by one of our greatest
As they dismount, handing their horses to the grooms and waiting on the king, his mind is already moving to paperwork: to dispatches from Whitehall, galloped down by the post routes that are laid
wherever the court shifts. At supper with the Seymours, he will defer to any stories his hosts wish to tell: to anything the king may venture, tousled and happy and amiable as he seems tonight. When
the king has gone to bed, his working night will begin.
This is a bloody story about the death of Anne Boleyn, but Hilary Mantel is a writer who thinks through the blood. She uses her power of prose to create moral ambiguity and the real
uncertainty of political life…She has recast the most essential period of our modern English history; we have the greatest modern English prose writer reviving possibly one of the best known pieces
of English history’ Sir Peter Stothard, Chair of the judges for the Man Booker Prize 2012
‘BRING UP THE BODIES is simply exceptional…I envy anyone who hasn’t yet read it’
Sandra Parsons, Daily Mail
Not so good:
...My one reservation is also a backhanded compliment. Many moments are so acutely observed, and Cromwell’s passage through court and country so rapid, you feel as though you are reading a
dream. One highly vivid scene segues, sometimes surprisingly, into a different location, a different set of characters. Perhaps this was intentional; our flitting mortality amplified....
Bettany Hughes, The Daily Telegraph 28 May 2012
About the author
Born 6 July 1952 in Glossop, Derbyshire, the eldest of three children, and raised in the mill village of Hadfield, attending St Charles local Roman Catholic primary school. Her parents, Margaret
and Henry Thompson, both of Irish descent, were also born in England.Her parents separated and she did not see her father after age eleven. The family minus her father, but with Jack Mantel
(1932-1995) who by now had moved in with them, relocated to Romiley, Cheshire, and Jack became her unofficial stepfather. She took her de-facto stepfather's surname legally. She attended Harrytown
Convent in Romiley, Cheshire.
In 1970 she began her studies at the London School of Economics to read law. She transferred to the University of Sheffield and graduated as Bachelor of Jurisprudence in 1973. After
university, Mantel worked in the social work department of a geriatric hospital, and then as a sales assistant in a department store. In 1972 she married Gerald McEwen, a geologist. In 1974 she began
writing a novel about the French Revolution, which was later published as A Place of Greater Safety. In 1977 Mantel moved to Botswana with her husband. Later they spent four years in Jeddah, Saudi
Arabia. She published a memoir of this time, Someone to Disturb, in the London Review of Books. She later said that leaving Jeddah felt like "the happiest day of [her] life.”
During her twenties, Mantel suffered from a debilitating and painful illness. She was initially diagnosed with a psychiatric illness, hospitalised, and treated with antipsychotic drugs. These
drugs paradoxically produced psychotic symptoms, and as a consequence, Mantel refrained from seeking help from doctors for some years. Finally, in Botswana and desperate, she consulted a medical
textbook and realised she was probably suffering from a severe form of endometriosis, a diagnosis confirmed by doctors in London. The condition and necessary surgery left her unable to have children
and continued to disrupt her life. Continued treatment by steroids caused weight gain and radically changed her appearance.