Book Beginnings on Fridays

Although it is strictly speaking, no longer Friday where I live, I figure it is Friday still somewhere in the world!

Book Beginnings on Fridays is hosted by Rose City Reader. This week I am reading ‘Bring Up the Bodies‘ by Hilary Mantel. The opening lines (after several pages of cast of characters and family trees) are…

His children are falling from the sky. He watches from horseback, acres of England stretching behind him; they drop, gilt-winged, each with a blood-filled gaze. Grace Cromwell hovers in thin air. She is silent when she takes her prey, silent as she glides to his fist. But the sounds she makes then, the rustle of feathers and the creak, the sigh and riffle of pinion, the small cluck-cluck from her throat, these are sounds of recognition, intimate, daughterly, almost disapproving. Her breast is gore-streaked and flesh clings to her claws.

Later, Henry will say, ‘Your girls flew well today.’ The hawk Anne Cromwell bounces on the glove of Rafe Sadler, who rides by the king in easy conversation. They are tired; the sun is declining, and they ride back to Wolf Hall with the reins slack on the necks of their mounts.

Strictly speaking this is a little more than the opening lines!

Bring Up the Bodies is the sequel to Wolf Hall. Wolf Hall finishes as King Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell ride off to stay with the Seymour family at Wolf Hall for the first time.

I had heard that Bring Up the Bodies was going to be more about Anne Boleyn and Mary, so the opening lines confused me. Was it a dream sequence? Was Cromwell remembering the deaths of his daughters and his wife from his own death-bed? Birds? Of course, the cover has a bird of prey on it!

He named his birds of prey after his wife and daughters? Really??

Whats going on?

Ohhhh, they’re out hunting….with the King…OMG!! They’re still at Wolf Hall!!

This book picks up exactly where Wolf Hall finished – how delightful. I haven’t missed a moment – not one single moment – how wonderful – ahhhhhhhhhhhh  (sigh of relief and pleasure and anticipation.)

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