** This review may contain minor spoilers for those unfamiliar with Tudor history **
Since Makers Academy ended and the holidays began I’ve had more time to read, which was perfect timing for me since the book I was in the middle of suddenly got very exciting. The book in question was Hilary Mantel’s ‘Bring Up The Bodies‘, the sequel to ‘Wolf Hall‘, which I’d enjoyed reading a few months earlier.While the focus of the first book is Thomas Cromwell’s rise to power in the court of Henry VIII, the focus of this novel is on the fall of Anne Boleyn as she struggles to provide the King with his so coveted male heir.
I found the writing easier to follow in this book and I’m not sure whether that’s down to me being more used to Mantel’s style or that the nature of the material meant that it was dealt with with less subtlety and more drama. I wasn’t complaining. Whilst the book started rather slowly, as the story proceeds it turns into a real page-turner. A character can be high and mighty one page and destroyed by the time you’ve gotten to the next. Mantel does an excellent job of fostering feelings of tension and suspense, tying together a range of themes from love and power to religion and morality.
Keeping track of all of the characters still proved tricky, especially with the gap I had between the two books, but since Mantel wrote ‘Bring Up The Bodies’ so that it could be enjoyed without having read the first, she neatly ties in things that have previously happened, helping to jog my memory.
The book finishes on a rather ominous note. The last two books have shown us that no one is ever safe from the whim of the King. Not even those closest to him. And Cromwell is now pretty powerful and pretty close.