Bring up the Bodies is a historical novel by Hilary Mantel. It was published in May 2012, by Harper Collins in the United Kingdom and by Henry Holt and Co. in the United States, to critical acclaim.
A sequel to the Man Booker Prize winning novel Wolf Hall, Bring up the Bodies is the second of a planned trilogy on Thomas Cromwell, the son of a blacksmith who became Henry VIII's chief minister. The events in the book start in September 1535 and cover less than a year.
'My boy Thomas, give him a dirty look and he'll gouge your eye out. Trip him, and he'll cut off your leg,' says Walter Cromwell in the year 1500. ‘But if you don't cut across him he's a very gentleman. And he'll stand anyone a drink.'
By 1535 Thomas Cromwell, the blacksmith's son, is far from his humble origins. Chief Minister to Henry VIII, his fortunes have risen with those of Anne Boleyn, Henry's second wife, for whose sake Henry has broken with Rome and created his own church. But Henry's actions have forced England into dangerous isolation, and Anne has failed to do what she promised: bear a son to secure the Tudor line. When Henry visits Wolf Hall, Cromwell watches as Henry falls in love with the silent, plain Jane Seymour. The minister sees what is at stake: not just the king's pleasure, but the safety of the nation. As he eases a way through the sexual politics of the court, its miasma of gossip, he 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.
In ‘Bring up the Bodies', sequel to the Man Booker Prize-winning ‘Wolf Hall', Hilary Mantel explores one of the most mystifying and frightening episodes in English history: the destruction of Anne Boleyn. This new novel is a speaking picture, an audacious vision of Tudor England that sheds its light on the modern world. It is the work of one of our great writers at the height of her powers.
About the Author
Hilary Mary Mantel CBE (born 6 July 1952), née Thompson, is an English novelist, short story writer and critic. Her work, ranging in subject from personal memoir to historical fiction, has been short-listed for major literary awards. In 2009, she won the Man Booker Prize for her novel Wolf Hall.
She was born in Glossop, Derbyshire, the eldest of three children, and was brought up in the Derbyshire mill village of Hadfield, attending the local Roman Catholic primary school. Her parents, Margaret and Henry Thompson, were both born in England, of Irish descent. Her parents separated and she did not see her father after age eleven. Jack Mantel moved in and became her unofficial stepfather and she took his surname. Her family background, the mainspring of much of her fiction, is explained in her memoir, Giving Up the Ghost. She lost her religious faith at age 12 and says that this left a permanent mark on her: the "real cliche, the sense of guilt. You grow up believing that you're wrong and bad. And for me, because I took what I was told really seriously, it bred a very intense habit of introspection and self-examination and a terrible severity with myself. So that nothing was ever good enough. It's like installing a policeman, and one moreover who keeps changing the law."
Mantel attended Harrytown Convent in Romiley, Cheshire (now Romiley, Greater Manchester). 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.