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The Mirror & the Light
Cover of The Mirror & the Light
The Mirror & the Light
Wolf Hall Trilogy, Book 3

The brilliant #1 New York Times bestseller

With The Mirror & the Light, Hilary Mantel brings to a triumphant close the trilogy she began with her peerless, Booker Prize-winning novels, Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies. She traces the final years of Thomas Cromwell, the boy from nowhere who climbs to the heights of power, offering a defining portrait of predator and prey, of a ferocious contest between present and past, between royal will and a common man's vision: of a modern nation making itself through conflict, passion and courage.

The story begins in May 1536: Anne Boleyn is dead, decapitated in the space of a heartbeat by a hired French executioner. As her remains are bundled into oblivion, Cromwell breakfasts with the victors. The blacksmith's son from Putney emerges from the spring's bloodbath to continue his climb to power and wealth, while his formidable master, Henry VIII, settles to short-lived happiness with his third queen, Jane Seymour.

Cromwell, a man with only his wits to rely on, has no great family to back him, no private army. Despite rebellion at home, traitors plotting abroad and the threat of invasion testing Henry's regime to the breaking point, Cromwell's robust imagination sees a new country in the mirror of the future. All of England lies at his feet, ripe for innovation and religious reform. But as fortune's wheel turns, Cromwell's enemies are gathering in the shadows. The inevitable question remains: how long can anyone survive under Henry's cruel and capricious gaze?

Eagerly awaited and eight years in the making, The Mirror & the Light completes Cromwell's journey from self-made man to one of the most feared, influential figures of his time. Portrayed by Mantel with pathos and terrific energy, Cromwell is as complex as he is unforgettable: a politician and a fixer, a husband and a father, a man who both defied and defined his age.

The brilliant #1 New York Times bestseller

With The Mirror & the Light, Hilary Mantel brings to a triumphant close the trilogy she began with her peerless, Booker Prize-winning novels, Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies. She traces the final years of Thomas Cromwell, the boy from nowhere who climbs to the heights of power, offering a defining portrait of predator and prey, of a ferocious contest between present and past, between royal will and a common man's vision: of a modern nation making itself through conflict, passion and courage.

The story begins in May 1536: Anne Boleyn is dead, decapitated in the space of a heartbeat by a hired French executioner. As her remains are bundled into oblivion, Cromwell breakfasts with the victors. The blacksmith's son from Putney emerges from the spring's bloodbath to continue his climb to power and wealth, while his formidable master, Henry VIII, settles to short-lived happiness with his third queen, Jane Seymour.

Cromwell, a man with only his wits to rely on, has no great family to back him, no private army. Despite rebellion at home, traitors plotting abroad and the threat of invasion testing Henry's regime to the breaking point, Cromwell's robust imagination sees a new country in the mirror of the future. All of England lies at his feet, ripe for innovation and religious reform. But as fortune's wheel turns, Cromwell's enemies are gathering in the shadows. The inevitable question remains: how long can anyone survive under Henry's cruel and capricious gaze?

Eagerly awaited and eight years in the making, The Mirror & the Light completes Cromwell's journey from self-made man to one of the most feared, influential figures of his time. Portrayed by Mantel with pathos and terrific energy, Cromwell is as complex as he is unforgettable: a politician and a fixer, a husband and a father, a man who both defied and defined his age.

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About the Author-
  • Hilary Mantel is the two-time winner of the Man Booker Prize for her best-selling novels, Wolf Hall, and its sequel, Bring Up the Bodies. Wolf Hall has been translated into 36 languages, Bring Up the Bodies into 31 languages, and sales for both books have reached over 5 million copies worldwide. She is the author of fourteen books, including A Place of Greater Safety, Beyond Black, and the memoir Giving Up the Ghost. In 2014 she was appointed DBE.
Reviews-
  • Library Journal

    October 1, 2019

    In this wrap-up to Mantel's trilogy on the life of Thomas Cromwell, begun with the Booker Prize winners Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, Anne Boleyn has been separated from her head, and the blacksmith's son from Putney is sitting pretty. But not for long: rebels rouse in England, traitors scheme abroad, invasion remains a constant threat, and Henry VIII's third wife dies delivering his much-wanted son. Henry might demand loyalty, but he's loyal to no one, so Cromwell must watch his back. Obviously, great expectations for this book, its predecessors having have sold five million copies worldwide.

    Copyright 2019 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus

    This book will be published on March 10, 2020, and the publisher won't be sending out review copies until that time. Please check back for our review.

    COPYRIGHT(2020) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. (Online Review)

  • Publisher's Weekly

    March 16, 2020
    In Mantel's magisterial conclusion to the Wolf Hall trilogy, Henry VIII's fixer, Thomas Cromwell, is everywhere. Born poor, Cromwell has risen to Viceregent, Privy Seal, and Baron, with more than a fair share of blood on his hands. The story picks up where Bring Up the Bodies left off, with Cromwell, now in his 50s, witnessing the execution of Anne Boleyn. Cromwell reconciles the king to his stubbornly Catholic daughter, supervises the printing of the English Bible, and arranges the king's marriage to Anne of Cleves. Meanwhile, Cromwell reflects on his crimes and remembers his impoverished youth ("we yearn for our origins; we yearn for an innocent terrain"). In Henry's court, everyone has a grudge; key issues, whether religious, personal, or political, are decided according to who has the king's ear; and disagreement is easily framed as treason. Mantel's craft shines at the sentence level and in a deep exploration of her themes: Henry sees himself as "the mirror and light" to all other princes, but Cromwell is Henry's secret mirror, the record of the king's weaknesses and compromises. Cromwell keeps turning wreckage into building materials, until, that is, the wreckage is his. The series' first two books won the Booker Prize—the third, rich with memory and metaphor—may be even better.

  • Booklist

    Starred review from March 15, 2020
    At 50, Thomas Cromwell is the second man in England, serving dangerously tempestuous Henry VIII, and his chief duty (it seems just now) is to get the king new wives and dispose of the old. A responsibility that will catalyze his violent undoing. Mantel has imagined Cromwell's life in ways never before conceived in her resoundingly popular Wolf Hall (2009) and Bring Up the Bodies (2012), each a Man Booker winner. The longed-for final volume in Mantel's magnificent trilogy is also a stupendously knowledgeable, empathic, witty, harrowing, and provocative novel of power and its distortions. Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII's second wife, has just been beheaded, yet, desperate for a male heir, he insists on immediately marrying Jane Seymour, who subsequently dies after giving birth to Edward VI. Cromwell has many fires to stamp out, especially since Henry's annulment of his first marriage ignited a fierce battle between Catholics and Protestants. Commoner Cromwell, a disciplined and inexhaustible master of the art of coercion, is finally elevated to Lord, but he is increasingly besieged as Anne Cleves becomes Henry's fourth queen. Astute, strategic, sly, funny, poignant, and doomed, Cromwell rules these vivid pages, yet every character and setting resonates, and Mantel's virtuoso, jousting dialogue is exhilarating. Gossip, insults, bribes, lies, threats, jealousy, revenge, all propel this delectably shrewd and transfixing Tudor tragedy, this timeless saga of the burden of rule, social treacheries, and the catastrophic cost of indulging a raving despot.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Cromwell fever is again running high; multiple copies of Mantel's finale are in order, and it's wise to check the shelves for her two previous Tudor masterpieces.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2020, American Library Association.)

  • Alexandra Harris, The Guardian "A masterpiece...A novel of epic proportions [that is] every bit as thrilling, propulsive, darkly comic and stupendously intelligent as its predecessors...The trilogy is complete and it is magnificent."
  • The Wall Street Journal "The entire trilogy is a brilliant engagement with the exercise and metaphysics of power in 16th-century Europe, an age in which sovereignty was understood to be divinely conferred, channeled through blood...Ms. Mantel has wonderfully conjured the mentality, materiality and channels of power in a vanished age...It is Ms. Mantel's depiction of Cromwell's inner workings, so credibly and vividly imagined, that make the work great, as do the characters she summons."
  • Star Tribune (Minneapolis) "A stunning capstone to an epic that's both engrossing history and an unsurpassed literary achievement...The Mirror & the Light is a diadem of riches, binding together the complex pieces of Cromwell's character while leading inexorably toward the scaffold. With the trilogy now complete, Mantel cements her position as one of our greatest literary stylists and innovators."
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