The mirror & the light

by Mantel, Hilary, 1952-

Format: Print Book 2020
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Summary

The brilliant #1 New York Times bestseller

Named a best book of 2020 by The New York Times, The Washington Post, TIME, The Guardian , and many more

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?

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.

Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "At 50, Thomas Cromwell is "the second man in England," serving dangerously tempestuous Henry VIII, and his "chief duty (it seems just now) is to get the king new wives and dispose of the old." A responsibility that will catalyze his violent undoing. Mantel has imagined Cromwell's life in ways never before conceived in her resoundingly popular Wolf Hall (2009) and Bring Up the Bodies (2012), each a Man Booker winner. The longed-for final volume in Mantel's magnificent trilogy is also a stupendously knowledgeable, empathic, witty, harrowing, and provocative novel of power and its distortions. Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII's second wife, has just been beheaded, yet, desperate for a male heir, he insists on immediately marrying Jane Seymour, who subsequently dies after giving birth to Edward VI. Cromwell has many fires to stamp out, especially since Henry's annulment of his first marriage ignited a fierce battle between Catholics and Protestants. Commoner Cromwell, a disciplined and inexhaustible master of the art of coercion, is finally elevated to Lord, but he is increasingly besieged as Anne Cleves becomes Henry's fourth queen. Astute, strategic, sly, funny, poignant, and doomed, Cromwell rules these vivid pages, yet every character and setting resonates, and Mantel's virtuoso, jousting dialogue is exhilarating. Gossip, insults, bribes, lies, threats, jealousy, revenge, all propel this delectably shrewd and transfixing Tudor tragedy, this timeless saga of the burden of rule, social treacheries, and the catastrophic cost of indulging a raving despot.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Cromwell fever is again running high; multiple copies of Mantel's finale are in order, and it's wise to check the shelves for her two previous Tudor masterpieces."
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "In Mantel's magisterial conclusion to the Wolf Hall trilogy, Henry VIII's fixer, Thomas Cromwell, is everywhere. Born poor, Cromwell has risen to Viceregent, Privy Seal, and Baron, with more than a fair share of blood on his hands. The story picks up where Bring Up the Bodies left off, with Cromwell, now in his 50s, witnessing the execution of Anne Boleyn. Cromwell reconciles the king to his stubbornly Catholic daughter, supervises the printing of the English Bible, and arranges the king's marriage to Anne of Cleves. Meanwhile, Cromwell reflects on his crimes and remembers his impoverished youth ("we yearn for our origins; we yearn for an innocent terrain"). In Henry's court, everyone has a grudge; key issues, whether religious, personal, or political, are decided according to who has the king's ear; and disagreement is easily framed as treason. Mantel's craft shines at the sentence level and in a deep exploration of her themes: Henry sees himself as "the mirror and light" to all other princes, but Cromwell is Henry's secret mirror, the record of the king's weaknesses and compromises. Cromwell keeps turning wreckage into building materials, until, that is, the wreckage is his. The series' first two books won the Booker Prize--the third, rich with memory and metaphor--may be even better. (Mar.)"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Series Wolf Hall trilogy
#1 - Wolf hall
#2 - Bring up the bodies
#3 - The Mirror and the light
Subjects Cromwell, Thomas, -- Earl of Essex, -- 1485?-1540 -- Fiction.
Great Britain -- History -- Henry VIII, 1509-1547 -- Fiction.
Historical fiction.
Publisher New York :2020
Edition First U.S. edition.
Language English
Description xvii, 757 pages ; 25 cm
ISBN 9780805096606
0805096604
Other Classic View