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Extended Audio Sample Bring Up the Bodies: A Novel Audiobook, by Hilary Mantel Click for printable size audiobook cover
4.00014606003067 out of 54.00014606003067 out of 54.00014606003067 out of 54.00014606003067 out of 54.00014606003067 out of 5 4.00 (13,693 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Hilary Mantel Narrator: Simon Vance Publisher: Macmillan Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The Thomas Cromwell Trilogy Release Date: May 2012 ISBN: 9781427225832
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The sequel to Hilary Mantel's 2009 Man Booker Prize winner and New York Times bestseller, Wolf Hall delves into the heart of Tudor history with the downfall of Anne Boleyn

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.

At a word from Henry, Thomas Cromwell is ready to bring her down. 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. But Anne and her powerful family will not yield without a ferocious struggle. 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?

Bring Up the Bodies is the winner of the 2012 Man Booker Prize
Bring Up the Bodies is one of Publishers Weekly's Top 10 Best Books of 2012 and one of The Washington Post's 10 Best Books of 2012

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Quotes & Awards

  • We all know the story, but hearing it described through Cromwell's eloquent words and inner thoughts on power and ambition, his own included, make it new again, and riveting. Mantel's language is extraordinary – it's as though she's channeled Cromwell from beyond and burrowed into his mind – and Simon Vance's impeccable reading is a perfect match. A wonderful way to celebrate audio month. BookPage
  • Narrator Simon Vance's skillful presentation enhances Mantel's outstanding description and dialogue. His gorgeous sound, tone and accent add to the beauty and horror of the compelling story. Library Journal, starred review
  • Narrator Simon Vance shines in his portrayal of the characters, creating a range of distinct voices – including the increasingly tense Anne Boleyn and the earnest Georgey, Cromwell's mild-mannered young son who is eager to prove himself. Best of all, however, are the measured tones Vance employs for the conniving Cromwell. The narrator captures the soul of this complex character, a man of innate pragmatism and confidence who is also quietly haunted by regrets. Vance also nails the bone-dry wit of the characters. In all, this is an exemplary audiobook. Publishers Weekly, starred review
  • Vance takes commence of the complex story, reading Mantel's complicated prose with assurance…Tensions leading up to Anne Bolyn's execution run high, and Vance relays the emotions with precision and grace, showing that he is attuned to the complicated plot. Booklist
  • “[Bring Up the Bodies] is astringent and purifying, stripping away the cobwebs and varnish of history, the antique formulations and brocaded sentimentality of costume drama novels, so that the English past comes to seem like something vivid, strange, and brand new.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “This second volume in Hilary Mantel's planned trilogy about Thomas Cromwell, right-hand man to Henry VIII of England, is a perfect marriage of the written and spoken word…Simon Vance's silken tones and expert pacing keep us engaged throughout…Vance enhances the story with instructive vocal portraits of key players and a listenable tempo that keeps us clear and entranced until the end. AudioFile Magazine, winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award

  • Can one improve Hilary Mantel's tale of Tudor intrigue, Bring Up the Bodies, which has racked up both sales and awards? Well, yes, if you add Simon Vance's acclaimed voice. In an Audie-nominated performance, Vance doesn't simply narrate the Man Booker winner – he seems to inhabit the characters. USA Today, four out of four stars
  • If you listened to Simon Slater's riveting reading of the Booker Prize-wining ‘Wolf Hall,' the 2009 opener in Hilary Mantel's trilogy, the news that the sequel has a different narrator won't be good. Fear not. Simon Vance's narration is every bit as versatile and nuanced as Slater's, his intonation for each character is as uncannily distinctive – a critical requirement with so many characters. Even better, Vance's voice portrayal of the historically maligned Thomas Cromwell, chief adviser to King Henry VII, is almost indistinguishable from Slater's in ‘Wolf Hall' Newark Star-Ledger
  • I downloaded Hilary Mantel's majestic ‘Bring Up the Bodies' and was pleasantly surprised to hear Vance's gentle and authoritative voice once again. It was like running into an old friend and knowing that we were about to have a long and satisfying visit. John Schwartz, The New York Times Book Review

  • “Darkly magnificent…Mantel animates history with a political and psychological acuity equal to Tolstoy’s.”

    Washington Post

  • “Marvelous, intoxicating…Read Bring Up the Bodies for its chilling character profile, its period details on jousting and Tudor kitchens, its congregation of the seven deadly sins…Nobody should skip a heady word of Mantel’s planned trilogy.”

    Cleveland Plain Dealer

  • “Meticulously crafted…Superb…Highly entertaining…Brilliant.”

    Slate

  • “Lovely, present, and thrilling.”

    Gillian Flynn, New York Times bestselling author of Gone Girl

  • “Mantel has the maddeningly unteachable gift of being interesting…All is alive, silvery, alert, rapid with insight.”

    New Yorker

  • “There is no one else writing with Mantel’s verve and control, her talent for richly wrought story, crisp pace, and direct prose.”

    Miami Herald

  • “Mantel writes the kind of sentences you want to live in…Bring Up the Bodies isn’t just her boldest book, it’s also her best.”

    NPR

  • “Hilary Mantel made waves in 2009 with her Man Booker Prize-winning page-turner, Wolf Hall…The second in her planned trilogy, Bring Up the Bodies stalks Anne Boleyn and the soap-opera worthy machinations of Cromwell and his evil allies to bring down the powerful wife of the king. Who knew history could be so sexy?”

    Vanity Fair

  • “What’s being called the Wolf Hall Trilogy is a remarkable work in progress, a series that makes the past feel immediate and—this is the best part—unpredictable. Even if you know the history, you’ll find yourself racing through these pages to find out what happens next.”

    People

  • “After pulling off this literary feat twice, you realize the smartest person in the room isn’t Cromwell after all—it’s Mantel.”

    Huffington Post

  • “Fans of Wolf Hall will relish this book, but Bring Up the Bodies also stands alone…Her characters are real and vivid people who bring to life the clash of ideals that gripped England at the time. She makes the past present and vital.”

    Economist

  • Bring Up the Bodies stands magnificently on its own…Such is [Mantel’s] skill.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “In Mantel’s hands, Cromwell’s cunning, morally complicated orchestration of that historic slice through the royal neck is as exciting as any thriller.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • A 2013 Audie Award Finalist for Literary Fiction
  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A USA Today Bestseller
  • Winner of the 2012 Man Booker Prize
  • Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books, Best Fiction 2012
  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award
  • A 2013 Women's Prize for Fiction Finalist
  • Winner of the 2012 Costa Book Award for Best Novel
  • A 2012 Publishers Weekly Top 10 Book for Fiction
  • New York Times Book Review Top 10 Book of the Year, 2012 for Fiction
  • A 2012 USA Today Best Book for Fiction
  • A 2012 Economist Best Book for Fiction
  • A 2012 NPR Best Book for Fiction
  • A 2012 Los Angeles Times Best Book for Fiction
  • A 2012 Chicago Tribune Book of the Year for Fiction
  • A 2012 Entertainment Weekly Best Book for Fiction
  • A 2012 Financial Times Best Book of the Year for Fiction
  • A 2012 Christian Science Monitor Book of the Year for Fiction
  • A 2012 San Francisco Chronicle Best Book for Fiction
  • A 2012 Seattle Times Best Book for Fiction
  • A 2012 Washington Post Top 10 Book for Fiction
  • A 2012 Time Magazine Top 10 Book for Fiction
  • A 2012 Barnes & Noble Best Book for Fiction
  • A 2012 Kansas City Star Top 100 Book for Fiction
  • New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books, 2012
  • A 2012 Time Magazine Best Book for Fiction
  • Winner of the 2012 Costa Award for Best Book of the Year
  • Winner of Audie Award Winner, 2013
  • Among longlisted titles for Cleveland Plain Dealer's Best Books of the Year, 2012
  • Among longlisted titles for The Independent (UK) Best Books of the Year, 2012
  • Among longlisted titles for Washington Post Best Books of the Year, 2012
  • Walter Scott Prize Shortlist, 2013
  • Among longlisted titles for New Yorker Best Books of the Year, 2012
  • Winner of Man Booker Award - Winner, 2012
  • Among longlisted titles for Time Magazine Top 10 Books of the Year, 2012
  • Winner of NPR Best Book of the Year, 2012
  • Among longlisted titles for Publishers Weekly Best Books of the Year, 2012
  • Among longlisted titles for Kirkus Reviews Best Books of the Year, 2012
  • Among shortlisted titles for Women's Prize for Fiction - Shortlist, 2013
  • Winner of Costa Book Award - Winner, 2012
  • Among shortlisted titles for Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction Shortlist, 2013
  • Among longlisted titles for New York Times Book Review Notable Books of the Year, 2012
  • Among longlisted titles for Entertainment Weekly Best Books of the Year, 2012
  • Among longlisted titles for USA Today Best Books of the Year, 2012

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Claire | 2/18/2014

    " A fantastic read! Such descriptive writing. I felt as though I was a stranger in the room with all the characters - and didn't want to leave. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Robert Paterson | 2/4/2014

    " A masterpiece. Her use of language and tense and POV is spectacular. She also rides the arc from Wolf Hall and we see what is behind TC's choices. I have read nothing like her work. BTW her other books are excellent as well and I like in particular A Place of Greater Safety - a book all who are involved in Arab Spring should read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tracy Fells Fells | 1/25/2014

    " Simply stunning. Not a single word out of place. A truly brilliant piece of work. Ok, I was already a fan of Mantel and her magnificent creation of Thomas Cromwell from Wolf Hall. Saved the second installment to read over Xmas holidays and by the end did not want to leave the Tudor world of the horrible Henry VIII and his incestuous court. To many Mantel is like Marmite, you either love or hate her writing style, but I am now a committed fan. The second Man-Booker was completely deserved. Now waiting on the final book, but sadly we all know how it ends for the enigmatic Mr Secretary. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 L.R. David | 1/19/2014

    " Tremendous book, evocative, moving, profound and thrilling. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Danielle Bullen | 1/17/2014

    " Not as good as Wolf Hall. Disappointing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marks54 | 1/5/2014

    " The is the second volume of a trilogy about Thomas Cromwell and his career as the chief minister for Henry VIII. I liked this as much and perhaps even more than the first volume - Wolf Hall. The story follows the course of Henry's second marriage - to Anne Boleyn. I do not want to give anything away, but it is not that happy of a story. Mantel if anything has become more effective in telling the story in this second volume and the story seems to flow well. The author is also effective in developing the character of Cromwell, who is an intriguing character, even if his tasks in this volume are substantially darker than in Wolf Hall. I look forward to the final volume and to this series being put into some broadcast form, either on film or in a mini-series. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sally | 1/2/2014

    " Lovely writing. The continuing story of Thomas Cromwell and Henry VIII. This book saw Cromwell throwing his weight around more to accommodate Henry's desires. Mantel brings this time period to life. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laird Bennion | 1/1/2014

    " Well written - well researched and eminently believable. The real upshot of this one is that it will make anyone feel grateful not to have to have been a woman, rich or otherwise, in 16th century Europe. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Scott Nance | 12/25/2013

    " This was more of a slog for me compared to Wolf Hall, the first in the series. I think maybe it's partly due to the stakes being a little lower- Henry wanting to divorce his second wife is less of a world-changing event than the first divorce. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Andy Gilroy | 12/15/2013

    " One of the best books I've ever read. Beautifully constructed. Intriguing voice of Cromwell. Compelling, unnerving, growing sense of foreboding. Brilliant. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joy Verboncouer | 12/13/2013

    " Good read if you enjoy British history. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Goele Lousbergh | 12/11/2013

    " Good, but not nearly as amazing as Wolf Hall. Oh, and my crush on Thomas Cromwell is waning. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Katie | 12/10/2013

    " Adored this book. Didn't want it to end, and can't wait to read more about Thomas Cromwell when the third one is released. Would recommend to anyone. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sarah Kathleen | 11/15/2013

    " At least it was better (and shorter) than Wolf Hall. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Deirdre | 10/19/2013

    " Started out kind of slow, but got into it after the 1st chapter. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jenny Spinrad | 10/7/2013

    " This disappointed me...just more boring than I'd hoped. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Catherine Boardman | 8/23/2013

    " Brilliant, even better than Wolf Hall. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sue Welling | 8/23/2013

    " I love a historical novel - but I found this really hard going! On this reading not quite sure why she wins all the literary prizes? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jessica | 5/16/2013

    " This sequel to Wolf Hall was at least as good as that first novel in the trilogy. It amazes me how much detail and richness Mantel brings to the character of Thomas Cromwell and the court of Henry the VIII. I really enjoyed this book and can't wait for the third one. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Karla Molnar | 4/18/2013

    " Even better than Wolf Hall! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 David | 1/16/2013

    " well-written historical fiction "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marty Adamson | 12/26/2012

    " Hilary Mantel's powers of observation regarding human nature are breathtaking, and she is a master of description. Can't wait for the third in the trilogy. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gail | 12/3/2012

    " Fantastic historical fiction account that centers around Cromwell during Henry VIII's reign, specifically when the queen was Anne Bolyen. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tejas | 8/22/2012

    " "There are no endings. If you think so, you are deceived as to their nature. They are all beginnings. Here is one." Brilliant to the last word. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cecilia N. | 8/6/2012

    " This novel is Hilary Mantel’s second in a trilogy that details the rise and fall of Thomas Cromwell. Her writing style is perfectly suited to weaving this intricate tale and she does an exemplary job of imbuing the characters with life. Absolutely magnificent! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Anne H. | 7/17/2012

    " I thought the overall plot and story were interesting but the author's style of writing left a bit to be desired for me. I felt like there were too many sections where the meaning was a bit ambiguous. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Peta Yaxley | 6/22/2012

    " Loved 'Wolf Hall', loved this. I love a book that gets you cross referencing and immersed in a history. A delightful read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 S.T. | 6/12/2012

    " Bring Up the Bodies has a darker tone than Wolf Hall but is every bit as good. Mante's writing is absolutely superb and I found myself completely transfixed by the powerfully written and complex story. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jim | 6/5/2012

    " A brilliant follow-up to Wolf Hall. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Art C. | 5/22/2012

    " This was one of the better historical fiction novels I've read lately. It had some slow places but overall it was quite intriguing and entertaining. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Dona Krueger | 5/22/2012

    " I was disappointed after reading Wolf Hall - thought it was actually quite boring. Maybe it's because it was my first read on a Kindle - not having the book in hand may have given it a sterility that might not be part of a bound - volume:) "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 June P. | 5/4/2012

    " I really thought this sequel to Wolf Hall would pale in comparison to it. I was wrong about that - very wrong. The prose is magnificent and I truly hated to reach the end of the book. "

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About the Author
Author Hilary Mantel

Hilary Mantel, New York Times bestselling author, is the two-time winner of the Man Booker Prize for her bestselling novels, Wolf Hall, and its sequel, Bring Up the Bodies—an unprecedented achievement. The Royal Shakespeare Company adapted Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies for the stage to colossal critical acclaim, and a BBC/Masterpiece six-part adaption of the novels was released in 2015.

About the Narrator

Simon Vance (a.k.a. Robert Whitfield) is an award-winning actor and an AudioFile Golden Voice with fifty-eight Earphones Awards. He has won thirteen prestigious Audie Awards and was Booklist’s very first Voice of Choice in 2008. He has narrated more than eight hundred audiobooks over almost thirty years, beginning when he was a radio newsreader for the BBC in London.