Bring Up The Bodies by Hilary Mantel
This one was less challenging than Wolf Hall, perhaps because I’m practiced now in Mantel’s particular Cromwellian style, or perhaps simply because it’s a shorter book. Mantel keeps masterful track of the dozens of players jousting for position throughout the years around Henry the Eighth, and she manages to be fresh about it in a sea of Tudors pop culture. Not only fresh, but powerfully literary. Mantel won the Booker Prize AGAIN for this second book.
The hunting and death of Queen Anne (that’s hardly a spoiler) seemed a little rushed. I only hope that Cromwell’s death at the end of the trilogy isn’t the same. I assume he dies in the upcoming book, anyway. It has been quite a treat to read a book with Cromwell in it where he is still alive at the end.
The year is 1535 and Thomas Cromwell, chief Minister to Henry VIII, must work both to please the king and keep the nation safe. Anne Boleyn, for whose sake Henry has broken with Rome and created his own church, has failed to do what she promised: bear a son to secure the Tudor line. As Henry develops a dangerous attraction to Wolf Hall’s Jane Seymour, Thomas must negotiate a ‘truth’ that will satisfy Henry and secure his own career. But neither minister nor king will emerge undamaged from the bloody theatre of Anne’s final days.