Monday, 7 October 2013

Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel

His children are falling from the sky.

Hooked. Too bad it's not people but instead, we learn by the beginning of paragraph two, hawks.

He watches from horseback, acres of England stretching behind him; they drop, gilt-winged, each with a blood-filled gaze.

I like how setting is introduced - as a brief aside - to place the scene in a open field. As this is a historical novel, some setting is vital, just that the author doesn't dump it into our brains right from the first word. Other writers could learn a thing or two from reading this. You know who you are.

First thing said:

"Your girls flew well today"

And then we learn that the birds are named after a dead wife and sister. This opening combines, setting, character and back story effortlessly. There's even a bit of conflict - if the "children" aren't supposed to be falling from the sky.

Verdict: Pass.

Thoedore Moracht

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