This is a fascinating historical tale told from the point of view of Thomas Cromwell, King Henry's agent for disposing of Anne Boleyn. Cromwell is a clever, crafty, pragmatic fellow and through him Hilary Mantel provides a more realistic take on this period of history and explores the machinations of power. She has created a unique story. Her narrative is refreshing in its power and choice of words.
It helps to be familiar with Henry Tudor and his reign before you begin the story. It is easy to lose one's anchor in the Boleyn story because of confusion about the various characters and their agendas. It is sometimes difficult to know who is speaking or be sure you are in Cromwell's point of view. As a reader, I was frustrated by having to stop and ask myself: Where am I in time and space? Who is this character and what do they look like, what motivates them? What is the relationship between one character and another? I guess a reread is in order to see if I can pinpoint why I experienced such a frustrating disconnect from the story. From time to time, I would pick up a different novel just for the experience of being able to clearly experience the story. In Mantel's story, you feel like you are looking through the window at an alien scene. There are things happening for which the reader may not have enough background. Nevertheless, it is well done in terms of examining the psyche and motivation of Cromwell, how he handles the complex character of King Henry, and how he wields power.
If you've read this book, what do you think? Did you find it difficult to keep track of all the characters and their motivations? Or is it just me? I'm torn two ways on this book--really admiring the way the author explores Cromwell's point of view and being frustrated by keeping track of all the characters.
If you would like to download an excellent audiobook sample of BRING UP THE BODIES, click here.
Ex-Writer: Breitbart Broke the Law
8 minutes ago