The Mirror and the Light

by Hilary Mantel

£25.00


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Fiction

Hardback

9780007480999

Published by HarperCollins

Published March 2020

Books > Fiction

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 masterpiece that will keep yielding its riches, changing as its readers change, going forward with us into the future’ Guardian ‘Does it merit another Booker? Yes it does’ Evening Standard ‘Mantel has taken us to the dark heart of history…and what a show’ The Times ‘The Mirror & the Light lays down a marker for historical fiction that will set the standard for generations to come’ Independent ‘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.

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