Mirror & the Light
by Mantel, Hilary

Cast of Charactersxi
Family Treesxviii
I Wreckage (I). London, May 1536
II Salvage. London, Summer 1536
III Wreckage (II). London, Summer 1536
I Augmentation. London, Autumn 1536
II The Five Wounds. London, Autumn 1536
III Vile Blood. London, Autumn-Winter 1536
I The Bleach Fields. Spring 1537
II The Image of the King. Spring-Summer 1537
III Broken on the Body. London, Autumn 1537
I Nonsuch. Winter 1537-Spring 1538
II Corpus Christi. June-December 1538
III Inheritance. December 1538
I Ascension Day. Spring-Summer 1539
II Twelfth Night. Autumn 1539
III Magnificence. January-June 1540
I Mirror. June-July 1540
II Light: 28 July 1540
Author's Note755(4)

A tale inspired by the final years of Thomas Cromwell describes how after the execution of Anne Boleyn and childbed death of Queen Jane, the former blacksmith's son orchestrates a desperate plot to fortify England and save his own life.

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. Both novels have been translated into more than 35 languages, and sales for both books have reached over 5 million copies worldwide. She is the author of more than a dozen books, including A Place of Greater Safety, Beyond Black, and the memoir Giving Up the Ghost. In 2014 she was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

*Starred 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. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.

This book will be published on March 10, 2020, and the publisher won't be sending out review copies until that time. Please check back for our review. Copyright Kirkus 2020 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

The end comes for Thomas Cromwell—and for the brilliant trilogy about his life that began with Wolf Hall (2009) and Bring Up the Bodies (2012). "Once the queen's head is severed, he walks away": With this perfect sentence, Mantel plunges into the scene of Anne Boleyn's execution, and there's no need to spell out who "he" is. On the second page, the executioner, who was brought over from France, refers to him as Cremuel ("No Frenchman can ever pronounce his name"), and finally, a few paragraphs later, when the swordsman is showing off the special blade he used on the queen, "he, Cromwell, touches a finger to the metal." And we're off, knowing that by the end it will be Cromwell's head that rolls. (We can only hope his executioner will be as meticulous.) In the meantime, we get more of everything we'd expect from Mantel's evocation of the reign of Henry VIII: power, rivalry, strategy, love, loyalty, ambition, regret, loneliness, lust—all centered on the magnetic Cromwell, a man who knows everything from the number of soldiers commanded by each nobleman in England to the secret desires of their wives and daughters . The narrative voice is as supple and insinuating as ever, but the tone is more contemplative—now that the newly made Lord Cromwell has attained the loftiest heights, he returns often to certain touchstones from his past—while the momentum drives forward to our hero's inevitable fall. (Perhaps it could have driven forward a little more relentlessly; it does occasionally idle.) Cromwell has become almost a bogeyman to the people of England, and Mantel describes his reputation with characteristic dry humor: "He means to...tamper with the baker's scales, and fix liquid measures in his favour. The man is like a weasel, who eats his own weight every day." Mantel has created a vivid 16th-century universe, but sometimes it feels like she's speaking directly to her modern reader, particularly about the role of women: "Try smiling. You'll be surprised how much better you feel. Not that you can put it like that to a woman...she might take it badly." A triumph. Copyright Kirkus 2020 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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