Excerpt from Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Bring Up the Bodies

Wolf Hall Trilogy #2

by Hilary Mantel

Bring Up the Bodies
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    May 2012, 432 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2013, 432 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


'Just imagine,' Jane Seymour says. 'Any night there is a moon, one might look out of the window and see him, tugging away and complaining all the while. Fortunately I do not believe in ghosts.'

'More fool you, sister,' Tom Seymour says. 'They'll creep up on you, my lass.'

'Still,' Henry says. He mimes a javelin throw: though in the restrained way one must, at a supper table. 'One clean blow. He must have had a good throwing arm, King Edgar.'

He says – he, Cromwell: 'I should like to know if this tale is written down, and if so, by whom, and was he on oath.'

The king says, 'Cromwell would have had the earl before a judge and jury.'

'Bless Your Majesty,' Sir John chuckles, 'I don't think they had them in those days.'

'Cromwell would have found one out.' Young Weston leans forward to make his point. 'He would dig out a jury, he would grub one from a mushroom patch. Then it would be all up with the earl, they would try him and march him out and hack off his head. They say that at Thomas More's trial, Master Secretary here followed the jury to their deliberations, and when they were seated he closed the door behind him and he laid down the law. "Let me put you out of doubt," he said to the jurymen. "Your task is to find Sir Thomas guilty, and you will have no dinner till you have done it." Then out he went and shut the door again and stood outside it with a hatchet in his hand, in case they broke out in search of a boiled pudding; and being Londoners, they care about their bellies above all things, and as soon as they felt them rumbling they cried, "Guilty! He is as guilty as guilty can be!"'

Eyes focus on him, Cromwell. Rafe Sadler, by his side, is tense with displeasure. 'It is a pretty tale,' Rafe tells Weston, 'but I ask you in turn, where is it written down? I think you will find my master is always correct in his dealings with a court of law.'

'You weren't there,' Francis Weston says. 'I heard it from one of those same jurymen. They cried, "Away with him, take out the traitor and bring us in a leg of mutton." And Thomas More was led to his death.'

'You sound as if you regret it,' Rafe says.

'Not I.' Weston holds up his hands. 'Anne the queen says, let More's death be a warning to all such traitors. Be their credit never so great, their treason never so veiled, Thomas Cromwell will find them out.'

There is a murmur of assent; for a moment, he thinks the company will turn to him and applaud. Then Lady Margery touches a finger to her lips, and nods towards the king. Seated at the head of the table, he has begun to incline to the right; his closed eyelids flutter, and his breathing is easeful and deep.

The company exchange smiles. 'Drunk with fresh air,' Tom Seymour whispers.

It makes a change from drunk with drink; the king, these days, calls for the wine jug more often than he did in his lean and sporting youth. He, Cromwell, watches as Henry tilts in his chair. First forward, as if to rest his forehead on the table. Then he starts and jerks backwards. A line of drool trickles down his beard.

This would be the moment for Harry Norris, the chief among the privy chamber gentlemen; Harry with his noiseless tread and his soft unjudging hand, murmuring his sovereign back to wakefulness. But Norris has gone across country, carrying the king's love letter to Anne. So what to do? Henry does not look like a tired child, as five years ago he might have done. He looks like any man in mid-life, lapsed into torpor after too heavy a meal; he looks bloated and puffy, and a vein is burst here and there, and even by candlelight you can see that his faded hair is greying. He, Cromwell, nods to young Weston. 'Francis, your gentlemanly touch is required.'

Copyright © 2012 by Hilary Mantel

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  Cast of Characters

One Month Free Membership

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Underground Airlines
    by Ben Winters

    "The Invisible Man meets Blade Runner in this outstanding alternate history thriller." - PW Star

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Book That Matters Most
    by Ann Hood

    An enthralling novel about love, loss, secrets and friendship.

    Read Member Reviews

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
This Must Be the Place
by Maggie O'Farrell

An irresistible love story for fans of Beautiful Ruins and Where'd You Go, Bernadette?

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Lady Cop Makes Trouble

The Kopp Sisters Return!

One of the nation's first female deputy sheriffs returns in another gripping adventure based on fact.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

Manners M (T) M

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!



Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.