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Brexit and the Politics of Pain. Fintan O'Toole. Ladies in Black. Made In Scotland: My Grand Adventures in a Wee Country. Billy Connolly. Brandon - Tudor Knight. Tony Riches. Editorial Reviews Amazon. How is it different from Wolf Hall? Computer Mac or PC? Special software? Do you do anything to get inspired? Photo credit: Francesco Guidicini. In the sequel [to Wolf Hall ], Bringing Up the Bodies , which transpires over the year following the execution of More, there is little to mitigate Cronwell's chief task, which is to arrange for the king's wife to be killed at his behest.
The novel's pace is a slow creep of ghoulish inevitability. The rot seeps and spreads, and Cromwell gains in menace what he loses in sympathy. See all Editorial Reviews. Product details File Size: Fourth Estate May 10, Publication Date: May 10, Language: English ASIN: Enabled X-Ray: Literary Fiction.
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Top Reviews Most recent Top Reviews. There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. Paperback Verified Purchase. The sequel to Wolf Hall. This book is very well written, and for the most part, Ms.
Mantel has solved her problem with the "he, "him," whoever issue. She more clearly explains who is doing the speaking. This book covers the approximate three year period of time during which Anne Boleyn was queen of England. Although it took seven years to marry King Henry, she was married only three years.
She failed to produce a son, so Henry decided to take a new wife. This book explains in detail the plot to rid the kingdom of Anne. Really, of all the Boleyns. While Ms. Mantel admits that this is not a history, per se, it is rather a story of what might have happened.
There is no surviving transcript of Anne's trial. She was not allowed a defense attorney. We still don't know - not really - whether she was the wanton strumpet that Cromwell and the others hoped she was, or is she was much maligned. This book illustrates clearly how powerful Thomas Cromwell became. He became a very wealthy man and had much property. He rose very high in Henry's court. He had absolute power - second only to Henry himself.
It is awe inspiring to think just how powerful he became. I simply cannot wait until the next book in the series is printed!! Please hurry, Ms. Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. Hilary Mantel is a brilliant writer. Just brilliant. And this is a fascinating story. I had no idea what a clever, diabolical, ingenious, and manipulative person Thomas Cromwell was. He is a man around whom you want to be careful what you say. He can and will use it against you--if it suits his purposes. And since he's right-hand man to King Henry VIII no slouch at plotting himself , it will sooner or later suit his purposes.
He is cold, cunning, intelligent, mysterious, and at times, darkly funny. Yes, the book has humor--but you have to pay attention. Having watched "Wolf Hall" with the inimitable Mark Rylant, I could picture no one else in the role, and Rylant's slim, barely noticeable smile haunted me all through the book. Anne Boleyn, as portrayed by Mantel, is not a particularly sympathetic character, so it's difficult to feel sorry for her. On the other hand, where would she get compassion?
As many commentators have noted about this book, the use of "he" usually meaning "Thomas Cromwell" was disingenuous. We learn to expect that "he" will refer to the antecedent occasionally it did , but more often the antecedent might be another male character "Henry" or "Wolsey" or any number of others. So one would have to re-read the paragraph to discern which "he" acts or thinks or speaks. I do not think this is good writing. One can write - as Mantel does -- from a particular point of view and still fill in the reader on background.
I'm willing to bet that even those most educated in English history would have trouble following this narrative. And I never have understood why Wolf Hall was the name. Is it only to presage the eventual marriage of Henry to Jane Seymour? I would welcome others explaining why this book was entitled to receive the Mann Booker prize when its execution pardon the pun was so flawed. Jan 15, Jsmith rated it it was amazing. Dear husband gave me both of these books for Christmas after I had heard the author interviewed over NPR, and I was mesmerized by the idea that Thomas Cromwell could be depicted as anything other than a pompous ass historical literature has been hard on the guy.
What an incredible week I had reading both of these books in one fell swoop Mantel paints a very interesting picture of Cromwell as right hand to King Henry VIII, and as it is historical fiction, definitely a different take on his pe Dear husband gave me both of these books for Christmas after I had heard the author interviewed over NPR, and I was mesmerized by the idea that Thomas Cromwell could be depicted as anything other than a pompous ass historical literature has been hard on the guy.
Mantel paints a very interesting picture of Cromwell as right hand to King Henry VIII, and as it is historical fiction, definitely a different take on his personality than what I've seen in the past. I highly, highly recommend both books and am definitely looking forward to the third book in the trilogy, whenever it is released.
View 2 comments. Mar 20, Sarah Knowler rated it it was amazing. I started this book as soon as I had finished Wolf Hall and was not disappointed, as I have been with sequels in the past. The transition between the two books is seamless and I was saved the awful 'how will I live without this book' syndrome for a while at least. Thomas Cromwell has now entered my list of characters in books that I have fallen in love with will check now if such a list exists on Goodreads.
Starting with Black Beauty and a German Shepherd dog called Greatheart, I can see very I started this book as soon as I had finished Wolf Hall and was not disappointed, as I have been with sequels in the past. Starting with Black Beauty and a German Shepherd dog called Greatheart, I can see very few connections between the characters on this list which also includes Hardy's trumpet major, LeCarre's perfect spy, Precious Ramotswe and the more usual Austin and Bronte heroes.
I hadn't expected to fall wholeheartedly for this particular character from history, but suffice to say I am missing him and hoping that there will be a third book.
View 1 comment. Dec 05, Ms. K rated it it was amazing. I rarely read two books in a series one right after the other, even if I liked the first one. It's like eating too much chocolate. No matter how good it is, it gets cloying after a while. When the writing is this good and the story this compelling - no one has won the Man Booker two years in a row - there is no danger of suffering from too much of a good thing.
Now I'm tapping my i I rarely read two books in a series one right after the other, even if I liked the first one. Now I'm tapping my impatient fingers waiting for Ms. Mantel to finish the final book.
Hurry up, already! Jul 01, Jameson rated it it was amazing. Movies based on books rarely live up to the magic of the book. No reality ever lives up to my best fantasies. Occasionally, the movie will live magnificently up to all my wildest expectations; To Kill a Mockingbird is a good example of movie-from-book pe Movies based on books rarely live up to the magic of the book.
Occasionally, the movie will live magnificently up to all my wildest expectations; To Kill a Mockingbird is a good example of movie-from-book perfection. And occasionally, rarely, a movie will surpass the book. I thought The Graduate a mediocre book, but the movie was and always will be a classic portrait of a particular time and place. Which brings us to Wolf Hall. That is, I believe, the only time Booker prizes have ever been awarded to a novel and then its sequel.
Downton Abbey had just finished its last episode of the season and it was hard to imagine anything equaling that. So consider this also a rave review for the PBS series. By the way, for those of you interested in historical tidbits: She deserves it. Thomas Cromwell is one of those mysterious figures in history who beggar the imagination. How did a man from such meager beginnings in such a rigidly stratified society manage to catapult himself into the halls of power and the pages of history?
I stumbled across an interview on the internet with Hilary Mantel, and that question is pretty much what compelled her to start her journey. To quote Rudyard Kipling: Of all the varied ways of constructing tribal lays, the one that appeals most to me is the kind where a master artist plays with his or her materials. Think Shakespeare. Think Faulkner. Think Cormac McCarthy.
Think Hilary Mantel. The English language, so rich and varied, so ripe with multiple subtle meanings, lends itself to a kind of imaginative playfulness, verbal pyrotechnics, if you like, that amaze and delight.
But it is the oblique grace with which she tells her story that is so delightful. I will give you one example. He lives to serve the king, and as a minister to the king he cannot indulge in such distracting luxuries as grief or rage or love or hate. Whatever he might feel or want must be subsumed in service to the throne.
He watches from horseback, acres of England stretching behind him; they drop, gilt-winged, each with a blood-filled gaze. Grace Cromwell hovers in thin air. She is silent when she takes her prey, silent as she glides to his fist. But the sounds she makes then, the rustle of feathers and the creak, the sigh and riffle of pinion, the small cluck-cluck from her throat, these are sounds of recognition, intimate, daughterly, almost disapproving.
Her breast is gore-streaked and flesh clings to her claws.
Jan 16, Merrywhyman rated it liked it. Mantel's tome is written from the perspective of Thomas Cromwell, the central figure of this telling of history and the common and self-made man who triumphed as Henry the VIII's closest adviser. Henry's wish to divorce queen Catherine and marry Anne Boleyn provided motivation provided motivation for Henry and England's challenge to the power of the Church of Rome, a challenge Cromwell saw in broad, practical and forward-thinking terms.
We mostly agree that this was a hard to follow, tough read Mantel's tome is written from the perspective of Thomas Cromwell, the central figure of this telling of history and the common and self-made man who triumphed as Henry the VIII's closest adviser. We mostly agree that this was a hard to follow, tough read in which the author provided little help to the reader. Beyond this, we were divided in our opinion of the worthiness of Mantel's book - was all the work of reading worth what we gained?
We agree that we learned a great deal of history, but Mantel, writing in the mind of Cromwell, often engendered confusion. Some of us were able to proceed without letting a lack of clarity getting in our way and so were able to recap the benefits of an inside look at a fascinating period of history ripe with a cast of equally interesting characters and influences.
Mar 28, Ana rated it liked it. I don't know what Mantel thought was wrong with Cromwell's name that she had to substitute it with a 'he' every time she refers to him. It would have made sense if there had been no other men in the narration, but there were and too many times it was necessary to re-read whole paragraphs to find out which 'he' she was talking about. In a few occasions there were entire pages of irrelevant non-action and seemingly intentionally confusing writing, like when 'Liz Cromwell' seems to be flying years I don't know what Mantel thought was wrong with Cromwell's name that she had to substitute it with a 'he' every time she refers to him.
In a few occasions there were entire pages of irrelevant non-action and seemingly intentionally confusing writing, like when 'Liz Cromwell' seems to be flying years after she's dead and you're left wondering if you're reading some one's dream until a page or two later of the flight's description when it is finally explained that names of dead ladies have been given to birds.
A great novel and good historical fiction as the rest of the reviews show, but these unnecessary gimmicks that distract from the content of the novel make it a bit difficult to understand that it got so many awards.
In a few places it is a page-turner, but mostly it is not. Good writing is that which is easy to read. This was not always. May 09, Monica rated it liked it. This perspective from Cromwell's point of view leaves no doubt to the ridiculousness of King Henry's court. You know how things will end and can still relish the anticipation of Ann's demise. A bit long, though I listened to on CD so could perhaps take in small doses.
Feb 25, Susan Brown rated it really liked it. Another great read from Mantel about my favorite era-- the wonderful Tudors. I do wonder though if Anne Boleyn was as cunning and nasty as she is portrayed, or if some artistic licensure was used. Either way I think she was trying to survive in a world dominated by her father's ambitions, and the rest of the court of King Henry. Difficult circumstances for any woman or " low born" medieval person to survive in.
Mar 11, Amy rated it it was amazing. Hilary Mantel is so bloody brilliant. You know from the opening pages that you're in the perfect hands to tell t I began this with tremendous trepidation. You know from the opening pages that you're in the perfect hands to tell this story. Count me in to the Hilary Mantel fan club. View all 15 comments. This attention to detail creates subtle characterisations, full of their own peculiar eccentricities and unique personalities.
My one disappointment with the characterisations has been that I think they could be even stronger, and that I feel Mantel adheres to stock stereotypes of the Boleyn family a little too much. Mantel also omits the dispute between Anne and Cromwell over what should be done with the proceeds of the dissolution of the monasteries. Other than that, I felt that Mantel created the downfall tremendously well, getting into the nooks and crannies of just how it unfolded, dispelling certain myths about what happened, and, most importantly, leaving the truth ambiguous for the reader.
Cromwell masterfully constructs his case against the Boleyns through hearsay and implication, and through his machinations weaves enough doubt to make it plausible that some of the other characters believe the truth of it. However, he never has any direct proof, and, tellingly, Cromwell himself studiously avoids answering a question put to him by his son about whether the people he arrests actually did what they are accused of. Though I would have wished for the Boleyn clan to have been characterised with more subtlety and humanity, Mantel treats their downfall with dignity, not only creating this masterful ambiguity, but striking the right balance of factors of those responsible between Cromwell, the king, and the conservative faction at court, and demonstrating the consequences through Cromwell himself.
I thought this was a seminal moment, and moving — the spider caught in his own web; having constructed this mirage of half-truths and circumstantial interpretations, Cromwell can no longer cut to the truth like he used to, and finds his certainty obscured by the miasma he himself has created in the new climate in England. Lacking in one or two minor points, particularly the technical construction and the portrayal of the Boleyns, but otherwise written with skill, richly detailed, subtle characterisations, and a compelling plot that drove me onwards towards the dreadful conclusion.
Jul 12, Heather rated it liked it Shelves: I feel stingy giving this only 3 stars, because it is a really excellent book in its own right.
mitsukeru.info: Bring Up the Bodies (Thomas Cromwell Trilogy Book 2) eBook: Hilary Mantel: Kindle Store
But it fell short of the wondrous originality and complexity of Wolf Hall I missed the mythic-mystic dimension and the sense of a society on the cusp between "medieval" and "Renaissance".
Thomas Cromwell doesn't have the same rich character arc that he had in Wolf Hall: And King Henry doesn't struggle against the same array of opponents in this book, he just decides I feel stingy giving this only 3 stars, because it is a really excellent book in its own right.
And King Henry doesn't struggle against the same array of opponents in this book, he just decides to do what most everybody has been wanting him to do all along. Above all I think I was frustrated that Mantel was so scrupulous about the historical record. She never takes a stand on any of the charges against Anne: Because the whole story is told from Cromwell's point of view, we can't know what Anne did, and to Cromwell it doesn't matter - it only matters what he can convict her of.
So there's a coldness to it. I like that this isn't a sentimental "Anne of the Days" version, but it overcompensates and keeps Anne at too much of a distance. Honestly I wanted some more critical perspective on Anne's misery That she thought she had lots of cards in the game, but really only the ONE card mattered, and she didn't have it so she lost. I would have liked a richer and more imaginative portrait of Jane Seymour, too Mantel presents her as almost asexual, which is fascinating, I've never seen it in a historical novel!
But again, she is remote and pretty inscrutable to Cromwell, so she remains remote to the reader as well. View all 8 comments. Jun 24, B the BookAddict rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: Most Highly Recommended. He put the English Bible in every church. The events from September to April move with astonishing haste and Cromwell is recording them as they happen.
Whatever the reason, the thought is finally vocalized by Henry: The next three weeks move very rapidly. Fault must be found and blame proportioned: In those same six months, Thomas More has continued to refuse to sign the oath required of him, even after Cromwell offers him ways out: He finally talks his way into an admission of guilt and has been sent to the scaffold. The order goes up to the Tower: The next day, Anne faces the court, a plethora of charges is read and she found guilty.
A few days later, the executioner steps up to fulfil his task and heads roll. Cromwell is in Lambeth, he has no wish to watch the spectacle. Ten days later, Henry quietly weds the demure and gentle Jane Seymour.
The Boleyns are out and the Seymours are in. Cromwell is astute enough to realize that his newfound friends will just as quickly desert him when it suits them.
Only Anne herself could tell us the truth and the lady is long dead. Hilary Mantel presents us with a Cromwell sculptured with careful study and diligence. She draws you through this novel at a breakneck speed. While you might have found Wolf Hall hard to follow in parts, this sequel moves like a fast moving river.
It is engaging, riveting and all the while thoughtful. View all 28 comments. I seem to have an unlimited capacity for viewing the Anne Boleyn story from different points of view.
I know the details already, so you might think it would be boring, but it is anything but. I can never help trembling just a little when Anne is beheaded, and wondering, as we all must, what her state of mind must have been to go from queen to discard so quickly.
Even knowing all the historical details and knowing the part Cromwell played in it, Cromwell always seemed like a background figure to me.
Having read these two books, there is another historical figure who has come to life for me. I look forward to the third volume of this series. I want to know what happened to Cromwell, his family and associates after the death of Anne Boleyn. I do not know when it is due out, but it is high on my list of books to buy. May 12, Nancy rated it it was amazing Shelves: Brilliant, again.
With sentences like this, as a candle is lit: The light shivers, then settles against dark wood like discs pared from a pearl. And I don't just mean the obvious - that it's told from the perspective of Thomas Cromwell, who has come down in history as Henry's hatchet-man, but who here, in these pages, has wit and humanity as well as the shrewd Brilliant, again.
And I don't just mean the obvious - that it's told from the perspective of Thomas Cromwell, who has come down in history as Henry's hatchet-man, but who here, in these pages, has wit and humanity as well as the shrewdness and intelligence we would expect from someone appointed to such high office who was so low-born. No, it's Mantel's ability to take us right inside the corridors and rooms, and up and down the staircases, of the royal Tudor court. The scene inside the tent where Henry is taken after he falls from his horse during a tournament is an amazing evocation of place and personality written in the most amazing prose.
While you're reading it, you are completely transported, you are there. Afterwards, you can't stop wondering: How did Mantel do that, write that, conjure that up? I was astonished over and over again reading this book. Jan 17, Sue rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: Wonderful creation by Hilary Mantel and deserving of all the praise it has received. This is a novel more of action than description, though the action is often in dialogue, both external and internal. Cromwell is in charge, as much as anyone who is not the King or a member of the nobility can be.
The inner workings at the various royal courts and Cromwell's now multiple homes are intense and exciting. As the royal times seem about to change, He Cromwell--better identified in this book looks t Wonderful creation by Hilary Mantel and deserving of all the praise it has received.
As the royal times seem about to change, He Cromwell--better identified in this book looks to a changing future. The King gives him titles that no one abroad understands, and jobs that no one at home can do. He multiplies offices, duties pile on him: Henry had offered him the Lord Chancellor's post; no don't disturb Lord Audley, he had said Audley in fact does as he is told You cannot, surely, be Lord Chancellor and Master Secretary?
And he will not give up that post. It doesn't matter if it gives him a lesser status. It doesn't matter if the French don't comprehend. Let them judge by results One day soon moss will grow in the tilt yard.
It appears to me in that order. I can hardly wait for the third installment of this series. No stronger 5 than this. Mantel provides an interesting postscript on her thoughts about Cromwell. View all 58 comments. Apr 03, Gregory Baird rated it it was amazing Shelves: I have an extremely love-hate relationship with Wolf Hall , the Booker Prize-winning predecessor to this novel.
I don't think anyone can deny that Hilary Mantel is a tremendously talented writer, but there were long segments of Hall that were deadly dull if I'm being honest. It's a sprawling novel that takes work to get through. Finishing a book that makes you work can feel thrilling, but not when the effort is born out of frustrat "Those who are made can be unmade.
Finishing a book that makes you work can feel thrilling, but not when the effort is born out of frustration. So it was with no small amount of trepidation that I picked up its sequel and plunged back into the world of Thomas Cromwell and the court of Henry VIII. You may wonder why I bothered, but the truth is that there is a great deal to love about Mantel's rich portrayal of the period.
In its best moments Hall is absolutely enthralling, and the cool machinations of Cromwell make for the most layered, complex character fiction has seen in a long time. On top of all that, the focus of this installment is perhaps the most intriguing and bloody time in British history: It has everything most readers dream of love, sex, power, violence, and betrayal , plus the added bonus of a writer with serious literary heft.
How could you resist? I was not disappointed. I expected to rely on the family trees and extensive character guides at the beginning of the novel as I did with Hall , but I was pleasantly surprised to find that I fell back into the world of Henry VIII with ease and a great deal of familiarity. I already got to know everyone.
I already knew their history, their alliances, and what skeletons they had hidden in their closets. A lot of Hall is dragged down by exposition but it really seems to have paid off in the end.
You see, in the first novel we get the full introduction to Cromwell: It's information that is vital to Mantel's recreation of Cromwell, but Bodies has the luxury of skimming over all the detail work. It makes for a significantly more focused story. Consider this: And what a nine months!
Henry, already disillusioned with Anne at the close of Hall , begins to transfer his affections to Jane Seymour, making it necessary to undo a marriage he had moved Heaven and Earth to make possible in the first place. The characterizations of Cromwell, Anne, and Henry are where Mantel's writing shines the brightest for me. Anne's dark, glittery eyes are a descriptive quality that has stayed with me from the first book.
But here they are all getting older. Henry is in middle age and desperate for a legitimate heir to the throne. Anne, who maneuvered so seductively into the throne, is losing her guile and her grip more and more. And Cromwell, also in middle age, is becoming so fixated on achieving revenge on those who have wronged him and his beloved Cardinal Wolsey that he is slowly sowing the seeds of his own eventual downfall.
The entire world is shifting in a new direction--largely because of their actions. Henry's divorce from Katherine of Aragon has scandalized the world. His break from the Catholic church challenged the authority of an institution most people believed unassailable. Boleyn and, especially, Cromwell are eyed with suspicion because of their 'low birth. The classical orders aren't just being challenged, they're being ripped asunder.
The days of the moneylender have arrived, and the days of the swaggering privateer; banker sits down with banker, and kings are their waiting boys.
We know that Anne's bloody end is approaching, that Henry will have two wives after Jane Seymour, and that Cromwell's own relationship with Henry will come to a bitter end.
But watching it all unfold through Mantel's eyes is nothing short of fascinating. She still rambles a bit. At times her prose seems willfully opaque. She is defiantly not an author who spells it all out for the reader; indeed, one can never be quite certain which lines the characters speak are lies and which are true particularly when it comes to Henry.
But isn't that life for you? This one is work that is worth the effort. View 1 comment. What sorcery is this? Cromwell plays good cop, bad cop. Surprisingly, he's the good cop. The King wants rid of Anne, so Cromwell finds men who are guilty, just not necessarily guilty as charged.
That's about it really. Some professional reviewers have called this 'tauter' than part one, which must be review speak, like saying a house is "conveniently placed for access to the city centre", which means smack on the main thoroughfare with juggernauts hurtling past your windows.
St What sorcery is this? There are also far fewer people, especially women. No, Harry hasn't killed them all off yet , 'twas the sickness that took Cromwell's wife and two daughters. I wonder she muses - is there any way of knowing if women were more likely to get infectious diseases back in the early 16th century?
I mean I know childbirth was a killer, but I have this theory that if women were kept at home more, didn't have as much contact as the men who were riding around in all weathers and meeting lots of people, then their immune system wouldn't have been up to much. No-one to make Cromwell look better than the traditional image we have of him. But still a wondrous marvel.
Mantel is a sorceress.
Bring up part three! Bring up the Bodies is one humdinger of a read. While Wolf Hall was ponderous, the sequel is breezy, without losing any of the beauty of the language. In cricketing parlance, Ms. Mantel is like a test batsman who, having negotiated a treacherous pitch, has got her eye in and is stroking beautifully. Read the full review on my BLOG. 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. Over three terrifying weeks, Anne is ensnared in a web of conspiracy, while Description: 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.
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? His children are falling from the sky. He watches from horseback, acres of England stretching behind him; they drop, gilt-winged, each with a blood-filled gaze.
Grace Cromwell hovers in thin air. She is silent when she takes her prey, silent as she glides to his fist. But the sounds she makes then, the rustle of feathers and the creak, the sigh and riffle of pinion, the small cluck-cluck from her throat, these are sounds of recognition, intimate, daughterly, almost disapproving.
Her breast is gore-streaked and flesh clings to her claws. It took me two stabs and a TV series to fully appreciate Wolf Hall and that perserverance stood as bedrock for this second book. I breezed through Bring Up the Bodies knowing the history and was pretty au fait with Mantel's style idiosyncrasies. Bring Up the TV series! Sep 26, LeAnne rated it it was ok. Phil Collins sings my theme song for this one: I don't care any moo-oo-oore. Just don't care no more.
No more. It's not easy being the only dissenter, but despite her books' popularity, they do not include any characters I feel any connection to. Yes, I did read Wolf Hall most of it, anyway , so it is not my ignorance of historical happenings or lack of appreciation for Cromwell's ability to overcome his shoddy youth.
It is likely a style-preference plus my apathy for the role and impact of Crom Phil Collins sings my theme song for this one: It is likely a style-preference plus my apathy for the role and impact of Cromwell on the Tudor monarchy. Obviously, she is not THAT author but the tone of the stories might be similar Not going there. But this book and its preceding tome seemed like overblown window dressing with nothing but mannequins inhabiting the grandiosely staged pages.
There was also an unusual narrative structure that popped from first person to third person that initially distracted me, but once I got comfortable with it, the author then kicked in daydream-narration.
Cromwell would be sitting there having a conversation with someone and then suddenly think, huh - wouldn't it be great if we had a big feast where so-and-so would arrive with his doddering old mother and then Sir Something or Other would seat himself and his horrible wife. Yada, yada, yada. Look, I can manage small doses of fantasy or dreamworld stuff, but his daydreams went on for pages and pages, even describing the imagined attendees' clothing choice.
This happened repeatedly, and while his flashbacks to his younger days happened pretty seamlessly, his fantasy life expounding upon his wishes was just screwy. As for my apathy, perhaps because I read The Other Boleyn Girl ages ago, I already knew the entire story line about deposing Anne Boleyn, excepting the minutia about Cromwell's role. I took World History in college as did most of you, and we know this already, Hilary.
What I do wonder is this: Pardon my French, but she appears to have a serious hard-on for the guy - notwithstanding the funny line she includes about him flopping his weenie on the dining table to show that while he might be a money-lender, he isn't a Jew. Yeah, while she eschews all the saints and relics the Catholics saw as holy, it appeared that she too has her own god. His name is Cromwell, the Master Puppeteer.
Whatever she imagines him slapping on the dinner table, even in jest, I just don't care. Not my thing. View all 14 comments. Dec 01, Paul rated it really liked it Shelves: This holds the attention as much as the first one does, but is narrower in focus, covering less than a year. Cromwell is as ruthless and manipulative as ever; but it is fascinating seeing things from his point of view.
Being a bit of an old Tudor hack from my undergraduate days these books are a fascinating take on an era I know fairly well. For centuries Cromwell had been dismissed as just 4. Cromwell, it has been argued, was the developer of modern bureaucratic government he has a good deal to answer for then! The brutality of daily life and the religious tension is well captured. The prose is wonderful, clever and very funny.
She puts some depth into those who surround Cromwell. Henry himself remains a little elusive and unpredictable and Cromwell knows he is always walking on a tightrope dealing with him. It is a fascinating analysis of the use and misuse of power; but most of all a great story, well told.
Historical fiction at its best. Apr 10, Jane rated it really liked it Shelves: Where I got the book: Now this is where the ratings system gets all screwy.
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