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The Mirror and the Light

Paperback edition released 29/04/2021

by Hilary Mantel

Part of the The Wolf Hall Trilogy Series

Historical fiction Sagas

The Mirror and the Light Synopsis

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.

'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 This Edition

ISBN: 9780007481002
Publication date: 29th April 2021
Author: Hilary Mantel
Publisher: Fourth Estate Ltd an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 912 pages
Primary Genre Historical fiction
Other Genres:
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Hilary Mantel Press Reviews

'Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall novels make 99 per cent of contemporary literary fiction feel utterly pale and bloodless by comparison' The Times

'Hilary Mantel has written an epic of English history that does what the Aeneid did for the Romans and War and Peace for the Russians. We are lucky to have it.' Sunday Telegraph

'Very few writers manage not just to excavate the sedimented remains of the past, but bring them up again into the light and air so that they shine brightly once more before us. Hilary Mantel has done just that.' Simon Schama, Financial Times

'A masterpiece that will keep yielding its riches, changing as its readers change, going forward with us into the future' Guardian

'Ambitious, compassionate, clear-eyed yet emotional, passionate and pragmatic, The Mirror & the Light lays down a marker for historical fiction that will set the standard for generations to come' Independent

'It's the crowning glory of a towering achievement' Mail on Sunday

'Very few writers manage not just to excavate the sedimented remains of the past, but bring them up again into the light and air so that they shine brightly once more before us. Hilary Mantel has done just that' Financial Times, Simon Scharma

'This is a must-read' Good Housekeeping

'On closing the book I wept as I've not wept over a novel since I was a child . . . Mantel struck her spear against the flint of Thomas Cromwell, and lit such a candle in England as will never go out'

Telegraph, Sarah Perry,

'A masterpiece . . . Mantel has redefined what the historical novel is capable of . . . Taken together, her Cromwell novels are, for my money, the greatest English novels of this century' Observer, Stephanie Merritt

Other editions of this book

ISBN: 9780007481002
Publication date: 29/04/2021
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9780008366735
Publication date: 12/03/2020
Format: CD-Audio

ISBN: 9780007480999
Publication date: 05/03/2020
Format: Hardback

View All Editions

About Hilary Mantel

Hilary Mantel is the first woman and the first British author to win the Man Booker prize twice and the first author ever to win the Man Booker Prize and Costa Book Award in the same year. At 60, she is only the third double winner alongside J.M. Coetzee and Peter Carey. She is also the first person to win the prize for two novels in a trilogy, following her success in 2009 with Wolf Hall.   Hilary Mantel was born in northern Derbyshire in 1952. She was educated at a convent school in Cheshire and went on to the LSE and ...

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