The Mirror & the Light

The Mirror & the Light

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 before Jane dies giving birth to the male heir he most craves.

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 the 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 & 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.

Title:The Mirror & the Light
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9780805096606
Format Type:

    The Mirror & the Light Reviews

  • Nermin

    I really don't understand how and why anyone would give an unpublished book 1 star (and 4,5 stars for that matter). Isn't it high time Goodreads did something about it? ...

  • Marchpane

    Aaaand… he’s back. Thomas Cromwell aka ‘Cremuel’ aka ‘Crumb’ aka ‘he, Cromwell’ aka... ‘he’. The upjumped blacksmith’s boy, now Master Secretary, is newly elevated to Baron as Th...

  • Adam Dalva

    It does not disappoint. It sticks the landing. And more: though it lacks the seductiveness of Wolf Hall, it gradually becomes the highpoint of the series. Mantel does the impossible here: she accelera...

  • Gumble's Yard

    Simply magnificent – in my view the strongest of a Trilogy whose first two volumes were among the most deserving winners in Booker history.A book which shines a light into history and in doing so ho...

  • Violet wells

    If I could have a Hilary Mantel wish it would be that she writes a novel about Jane Rochford. I constantly found myself wishing Hilary had taken more interest in her. Was it perhaps because her and An...

  • Paromjit

    A brilliant end to this superb historical trilogy on Cromwell, the ordinary man who rises to an exalted status under Henry VIII. Mantel’s research is impeccable, her blend of fact and fiction is ext...

  • Hugh

    Shortlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction 2020, probably the first of many.A monumental book that brings a brilliant series to a fitting conclusion.I am neither a historian nor a writer, which mea...

  • Desirae

    I need more "He, Cromwell..." in my life.Seriously, I cannot wait for this....

  • Sean Barrs

    This is an extraordinarily potent and beautifully written (if not quite perfect) conclusion to the trilogy Here Mantel closes the book on Cromwell’s life, depicting his swift downfall in all its...

  • Fionnuala

    Near the beginning of this book, there's a scene in which an exotic cat, imported from Damascus, tries to escape from the confines of Thomas Cromwell's garden in London by climbing a tree near the wal...