Bring Up the Bodies (Hilary Mantel) - Henry Holt and Company - 2012 - 410 pages

Continuing her account of 16th century England as seen by King Henry VIII's secretary (Thomas Cromwell), author Mantel delivers the excellent sequel to Wolf Hall with a third volume promised to complete the study.  These books are pure literature filled with authentic dialog to fit the period.  Cromwell is certainly one of the most curious figures in history, placing himself in the delicate position of the King's spinmaster.  The final conversation between Cromwell and ex-Queen Katherine could not possibly have been as elegant as imagined by the author.  Queen Anne (Boleyn) is portrayed as the flawed second wife who failed to deliver a son to the king.  Although the case against queen #2 was circumstantial and probably untrue, all parties involved were soon resigned to their fates.  Sixteenth-century English justice was swift and unfair.  Those who chose to consort with the royals did so at their own peril.  When this trilogy is complete, I expect it to be required reading in many college literature classes.  I cannot imagine how anyone could improve on the work of Ms. Mantel.  [JAM 5/23/2012]