I’ve a mountain of books to read, some have been with me for years, some slightly less and because I’ve so many older books to get through, I tend not to buy new releases or rather I try to control urges to buy, buy, buy more new books. I loved Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall though and of course, could not resist getting the sequel, Bring up the bodies in hardback.
It turned up, a few weeks back and I did despair slightly at the size of it and then, a week or so ago, I just read the cast of characters, nothing more – it felt like meeting up with an old friend I haven’t seen for ages. Despite some reviews, think it was Sunday Times, saying it was very long, it didn’t feel long or laboured. The atmospheric effect of standing above his, Cromwell’s shoulder and following him as he moves and intrigues his way around Henry VIII’s court was still there, drawing you in albeit surrounded by ghosts of Cardinal Wolsey, Thomas More and Cromwell’s family, all of whom died in the first book.
This is a fabulous book, if anything, it felt too short and I could have read on and on. What I particularly liked about it, apart from the atmosphere Hilary Mantel creates, is that two books in, he, Cromwell, still remains such an elusive character – on one hand, the ideas that he campaigned for reforming the government and parliament are hinted at while, on the other, he is unswervingly loyal to Henry. You never know quite what is driving him. This book just really makes me want to read more about Cromwell and the other characters that populated his world. Thankfully, Hilary Mantel hasn’t quite come up to Anne of Cleves so am hoping there will be another book.