Shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2020
Longlisted for the Booker Prize 2020
The long-awaited sequel to Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, the stunning conclusion to Hilary Mantel’s Man Booker Prize-winning Wolf Hall trilogy.
A Guardian Book of the Year • A Times Book of the Year • A Daily Telegraph Book of the Year
‘A masterpiece’ Guardian
‘It is a book not read, but lived’ Telegraph
‘Her Cromwell novels are, for my money, the greatest English novels of this century’ Observer
‘If you cannot speak truth at a beheading, when can you speak it?’
England, 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, Thomas 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 is a man with only his wits to rely on; he 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 breaking point, Cromwell’s robust imagination sees a new country in the mirror of the future. But can a nation, or a person, shed the past like a skin? Do the dead continually unbury themselves? What will you do, the Spanish ambassador asks Cromwell, when the king turns on you, as sooner or later he turns on everyone close to him?
With The Mirror and the Light, Hilary Mantel brings to a triumphant close the trilogy she began with 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.
About the author
Hilary Mantel is the author of fifteen books, including A PLACE OF GREATER SAFETY, BEYOND BLACK, the memoir GIVING UP THE GHOST, and the short-story collection THE ASSASSINATION OF MARGARET THATCHER. Her two most recent novels, WOLF HALL and its sequel BRING UP THE BODIES, have both been awarded the Man Booker Prize.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
The stakes for this climactic Wolf Hall novel might feel as high for Hilary Mantel as they do for Thomas Cromwell. After all, the trilogy’s first two books, Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, both claimed Booker Prizes and scored significant mainstream success. Does The Mirror & the Light match up? It’s a resounding, Henry VIII-sized “yes” from us. This is an extraordinary read, full of deliciously rich, precise detail that also feels like a (in the best way possible) fan-servicing treat. We pick up the action in May 1536, with Anne Boleyn’s execution toasted by her enemies—Cromwell chief among them. At the peak of his powers (and influence), the story becomes an utterly compelling tale of survival, cunning and deadly conflict. A new ceiling for historical fiction has been smashed. All hail Queen Hilary.