Though she hails from Wolf Hall, Jane is set up as a model of purity and chastity; the antithesis of Anne Boleyn. In Bring Up The Bodies, Jane offers Wolf Hall, and the corrupt Tudor court it stands for, a redemption of sorts. Only she can resurrect her family's fortunes, salve Henry's broken family relationships, and seek to heal rifts caused by the vexed issue of the Protestant Reformation.
Bring Up The Bodies maintains Cromwell's point of view and distinctive narrative voice established in Wolf Hall. Figures at court make slow elliptical movements around him, coming into his orbit and out again, while he documents all. He observes groupings and regroupings; who is protected and who exposed by these manoeuvres and courtly dances? Anne is left exposed, unable to read the prevailing mood at court and deserted by her powerful uncle and father. Jane is encircled by her male relatives, a position which allows her to make guileful yet guarded remarks in safety. Those on the periphery come to Cromwell: with what they tell him, he can orchestrate events and make planets spin. His every move must be precise, swift, and leave no room for error.
Having backed the Boleyn family in order to further the Protestant cause, Cromwell switches allegiance to the Seymours in order to serve the Cromwell cause. In supporting Wolf Hall, however, he is miring himself in all it stands for: "I have taken adultery, incest, conspiracy and treason, and I have made them routine," he thinks, while waiting for the inevitable outcome of Anne's trial for treason. Routine in the sense of boring and dull, but also in the sense of normalisation.
It is an uncomfortable truth about Thomas Cromwell that in being Henry VIII's yes-man and facilitator he sanctioned permissiveness and shaped a climate of fear and coercion at court. Part of the interest in Bring Up The Bodies lies in how Mantel handles Cromwell's character, how she justifies to herself and the reader all that Cromwell says and does. In Wolf Hall, she took a man commonly held to be a butcher's dog and fashioned him into a stray puppy guaranteed to find a place within the homes and hearts of English men and women.
It's said the English love an underdog, and some of the comments from internet reviews of Wolf Hall are illuminating in this respect (the following are taken from Amazon): "I loved the story of how the child of an abusive, alcoholic blacksmith used skill and charm to win the trust and respect of almost everyone he encountered . . . He's an enlightened man, a loving husband and father . . . He comes across as genuinely humane and sympathetic . . . He rose above his class through hard work and observation . . . He climbed the social ladder but found positions for any promising, hard-working young people that crossed his path . . . He contributed so much to our commonwealth and died so tragically."