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The Mirror & the Light: Book summary and reviews of The Mirror & the Light by Hilary Mantel

The Mirror & the Light

Wolf Hall Trilogy

by Hilary Mantel

The Mirror & the Light by Hilary Mantel X
The Mirror & the Light by Hilary Mantel
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  • Published in USA  Mar 2020
    784 pages
    Genre: Historical Fiction

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Book Summary

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.

"If you cannot speak truth at a beheading, when can you speak it?"

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?

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"The Mirror and the Light, the third and final book...is another crowded Tudor panoply viewed entirely through the eyes of Cromwell, whose nature is as labyrinthine as the palace corridors he superintends ... For all its political and literary plotting, The Mirror and the Light is most memorable for its portraiture..." - The New York Times Book Review

"[T]his is a masterpiece that will keep yielding its riches, changing as its readers change, going forward with us into the future." - The Guardian (UK)

"Hilary Mantel has achieved something remarkable: she has turned Thomas Cromwell, one of the biggest bastards in English history, maker of the English Reformation, into a living, sympathetic, almost admirable, human being." - Evening Standard (UK)

"From the razor-sharp opening paragraph to the dramatic ending 863 pages later, Hilary Mantel's The Mirror & The Light is superb, right to the last crimson drop." - The Independent (UK)

The information about The Mirror & the Light shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

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Author Information

Hilary Mantel Author Biography

Photo: John Haynes

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.

Author Interview

Name Pronunciation
Hilary Mantel: man-TELL

Other books by Hilary Mantel at BookBrowse
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  • Bring Up the Bodies jacket
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