Bring Up the Bodies

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Bring up the Bodies
First edition
Author Hilary Mantel
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Series Thomas Cromwell trilogy (in course)
Genre Historical Fiction
Publisher Fourth Estate (UK)/ Henry Holt and Co. (US)
Publication date
8 May 2012
Media type Print (hardback)
Pages 432
ISBN 978-0805090031
OCLC 773667451
LC Class PR6063.A438 B75 2012
Preceded by Wolf Hall
Followed by The Mirror and the Light

Bring Up the Bodies is a historical novel by Hilary Mantel and sequel to her award-winning Wolf Hall. It is the second part of a planned trilogy charting the rise and fall of Thomas Cromwell, the powerful minister in the court of King Henry VIII. Bring Up the Bodies won the 2012 Man Booker Prize and the 2012 Costa Book of the Year. Preceded by Wolf Hall, it is to be followed by The Mirror and the Light.


Bring Up the Bodies begins where the previous novel finished. The King and Master Secretary Thomas Cromwell are the guests of the Seymour family at Wolf Hall. The King shares private moments with Jane Seymour, and begins to fall in love with her. His present queen, Anne Boleyn, has failed to give him a male heir and, as rumours of her infidelity spread, the King seeks a way to be rid of her, and marry the new object of his affections.

Anne Boleyn and Thomas Cromwell owe their current high status to each other. They become pitted against each other, as Cromwell seeks to find a legitimate excuse to expel her from the King's court. Cromwell, master politician, uses Anne's fall from grace as a chance to settle scores with old enemies. The book ends with the death of Anne.


Bring Up the Bodies 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.[1][2]


Janet Maslin reviewed the novel positively in The New York Times:

[The book's] ironic ending will be no cliffhanger for anyone even remotely familiar with Henry VIII's trail of carnage. But in Bring Up the Bodies it works as one. The wonder of Ms. Mantel's retelling is that she makes these events fresh and terrifying all over again."[2]


In January 2013, the RSC announced that it would stage adaptations by Mike Poulton of Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies in its Winter season.[3]

A six-part BBC television series Wolf Hall, an adaptation of the books Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, was broadcast in January 2015.[4]

Awards and honours[edit]


  1. ^ Atwood, Margaret (4 May 2012). "Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel". The Guardian (review). London. Retrieved 4 May 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Maslin, Janet (1 May 2012). "A Canny Henchman, Targeting the Queen". The New York Times. Retrieved 5 May 2012. 
  3. ^ "David Tennant to play Richard II at the RSC". Daily Telegraph. 23 January 2013. Retrieved 23 January 2013. 
  4. ^ "Wolf Hall adaptation planned for BBC Two". BBC News. 24 August 2012. Retrieved 28 March 2013. 
  5. ^ Alison Flood (5 December 2012). "EL James comes out on top at National Book awards". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 December 2012. 
  6. ^ Staff writer (2 January 2013). "Hilary Mantel wins 2012 Costa novel prize". BBC News. Retrieved 2 January 2013. 
  7. ^ Robert McCrum (29 January 2013). "Hilary Mantel's Bring Up the Bodies: a middlebrow triumph". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 January 2013. 
  8. ^ Sameer Rahim (29 January 2013). "Costa Book Award: who would dare refuse Hilary Mantel her crown?". The Telegraph. Retrieved 30 January 2013. 
  9. ^ Staff writer (30 January 2013). "Hilary Mantel wins Costa Book Award". BBC News. Retrieved 30 January 2013. 
  10. ^ David Daley (23 December 2012). "The What To Read Awards: Top 10 Books of 2012". Salon. Retrieved 24 December 2012. 
  11. ^ 18 April 2013. "Shortlist for 2013 Walter Scott Prize Announced". Borders Book Festival. Retrieved 15 June 2013. 
  12. ^ "Tan Twan Eng wins The Walter Scott Prize". Borders Book Festival. 14 June 2013. Retrieved 15 June 2013. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
The Sense of an Ending
Man Booker Prize recipient
Succeeded by
The Luminaries