July 6, 2012

It's All In the Execution: Bring Up the Bodies

"If it be sin to be an evil counselor to one man, what abomination, what devilish and horrible sin is it to be a flatterer or an evil counselor to a prince?" wrote Thomas Cromwell, chief minister of King Henry VIII of England from 1532 to 1540, in a letter to Stephen Vaughan. I recently read Bring Up the Bodies, the sequel to Wolf Hall, Mantel's excellent fictional take on the life of Thomas Cromwell. While I very much enjoyed Bring Up the Bodies, I wasn't quite as captivated by Cromwell as I'd been during reading the first book. (Here's my quick review of Wolf Hall from 2009.) But the good news is, while we were on hiatus here at Romancing the Tome, HBO and BBC announced plans to collaborate on a miniseries of Wolf Hall. Meanwhile, Mantel will complete her Cromwell trilogy with The Mirror and the Light. --Kim

Fun Fact: If you've been to one of my favorite museums, The Frick in NYC, you can see the Hans Holbein the Younger portrait of Cromwell (above) facing his arch-enemy Sir Thomas More, also by Holbein. More, Cromwell, and Anne Boleyn were all patrons of Hans Holbein. Hmmm...

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