“She is very plain. What does Henry see in her?'"
"He thinks she's stupid. He finds it restful.”
|Henry VII and his Family, by an unknown artist. L-R: Princess Mary, Prince Edward, Henry VIII, Jane Seymour, Elizabeth|
“How many men can say, as I must, 'I am a man whose only friend is the King of England'? I have everything, you would think. And yet take Henry away, and I have nothing.”Mantel tells her story from Cromwell's perspective, and at times we are privy to his dreams and memories. But our "hero" is not above using his station to exact revenge. He sees how the inevitable fall of the new queen Anne (of which he shows not much remorse nor pity) can be used to punish men who had insulted his revered Wolsey — the Queen's brother George Boleyn, Henry Norris, William Brereton, and Francis Weston.
"Look, he says: once you have exhausted the process of negotiation and compromise, one you have fixed on the destruction of an enemy, that destruction must be swift and it must be perfect. Before you even glance in his direction, you should have his name on a warrant, the ports blocked, his wife and friends bought, his heir under your protection, his money in your strong room and his dog running to your whistle. Before he wakes in the morning, you should have the axe in your hand."
|Thomas Cromwell, by Hans Holbein|
Originally published on Blogcritics: Book Review: Bring Up the Bodies – by Hilary Mantel