cover image Bring Up the Bodies

Bring Up the Bodies

Hilary Mantel, read by Simon Vance. Macmillan Audio, 14.5 hrs., $39.99 ISBN 978-1-4272-2582-5

In Mandel’s taut sequel to Wolf Hall, Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn have been married for more than two years, but unable to produce a male heir. Boleyn’s position becomes tenuous—especially with Thomas Cromwell and young lady-in-waiting Jane Seymour working against her. Narrator Simon Vance shines in his portrayal of the characters, creating a range of distinct voices—including the increasingly tense Anne Boleyn and the earnest Gregory, Cromwell’s mild-mannered young son who is eager to prove himself. Best of all, however, are the measured tones Vance employs for the conniving Cromwell. The narrator captures the soul of this complex character, a man of innate pragmatism and confidence who is also quietly haunted by regrets. Vance also nails the bone-dry wit of the character. In all, this is an exemplary audiobook. A Henry Holt hardcover. (May)