Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies

Hilary Mantel

‘Wolf Hall’ and ‘Bring Up the Bodies’, both winners of The Man Booker Prize, in 2009 and 2012 respectively, are the first two instalments in Hilary Mantel’s Tudor trilogy. They have gathered readers and praise in equal and enormous measure. They have been credited with elevating historical fiction to new heights and animating a period of history many thought too well known to be made fresh.

Through the eyes and ears of Thomas Cromwell, the books’ narrative prism, we are shown Tudor England, the court of King Henry VIII. Cromwell is a wholly original man: the son of a brutal blacksmith, a political genius, a briber, a charmer, a bully, a man with a delicate and deadly expertise in manipulating people and events.

In ‘Wolf Hall’ we witness Cromwell’s rise, beginning as clerk to Cardinal Wolsey, Henry’s chief advisor, charged with securing the divorce the pope refuses to grant. He is soon to become his successor. By 1535, when the action of ‘Bring Up the Bodies’ begins, Cromwell is Chief Minister to Henry, his fortunes having risen with those of Anne Boleyn, Henry’s second wife. Anne’s days, though, are marked. Cromwell watches as the king falls in love with silent, plain Jane Seymour, sensing what Henry’s affection will mean for his queen, for England, and for himself.

Reviews of Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies

  • Praise for WOLF HALL:

    ‘Wonderful. As soon as I opened this book I was gripped. I read it almost non-stop’ The Times

    ‘Dizzyingly, dazzingly good’ Daily Mail

    ‘Genuinely outstanding’ Independent

    ‘So original and disconcerting that it will surely come to be seen as a paradigm-shifter’ Sunday Telegraph

    Praise for BRING UP THE BODIES:

    ‘BRING UP THE BODIES is simply exceptional…I envy anyone who hasn’t yet read it’ Sandra Parsons, Daily Mail

    ‘In another league. This ongoing story of Henry VIII’s right-hand man is the finest piece of historical fiction I have ever read. A staggering achievement’ Sarah Crompton, Sunday Telegraph

    ‘BRING UP THE BODIES succeeds brilliantly in every particle…it’s an imaginative achievement to exhaust superlatives’ Spectator

    ‘WOLF HALL was a tour de force, but its sequel is leaner, more brilliant, more shocking than its predecessor’ Erica Wagner, The Times

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