The Mirror & the Light
by Hilary Mantel
Books > Fiction
Longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2020
A BBC Radio 4 Book at Bedtime
“This book has been the greatest challenge of my writing life, and the most rewarding; I hope and trust my readers will find it has been worth the wait.” – Hilary Mantel
They have eaten his banquet and now they will want to sweep him out with the rushes and the bones. But this was his table: he runs on the top of it, among the broken meats. Let them try to pull him down. They will find him armoured, they will find him entrenched, they will find him stuck like a limpet to the future. – Bring up the Bodies
The higher you climb, the further you fall.
Widely regarded as two of the greatest works of historical fiction, Hilary Mantel’s peerless, Booker Prize-winning novels Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies have dazzlingly charted the rising arc of mercurial Tudor plotter, politician and power broker Thomas Cromwell. Now, in The Mirror & the Light she brings her trilogy to its final, thrilling conclusion.
From a bloodied and tormented child on the rough-and-ready streets of Putney, to the service of the country’s most rich and powerful, Thomas Cromwell has ascended to the highest echelons of Henry VIII’s tumultuous court. He has survived the fall of Cardinal Wolsey and inveigled his way into the King’s confidence, overseen the overthrow of two queens and taken revenge on those who betrayed his former master.
Now 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 and the 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 Lightcompletes Cromwell’s journey from self-made man to one of the most feared and influential figures of his time. Told with immediacy and pace, Mantel’s novels immerse readers in her Tudor world; rich with the sights, smells and textures of 16th century England. No other novelist is so successful in conjuring the intrigue, in-fighting and complex machinations of the machine of courtly politics. In her hands these novels form an unrivalled picture of royalty and common experience, duty and desire, conflict and loyalty. But the crowning glory of the trilogy is Cromwell himself, portrayed with passion, pathos and energy as politician, fixer, husband, father, subject and as a man who both defied and defined his age.