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The Mirror & The Light

(Thomas Cromwell Trilogy #3)

4.51  ·  Rating details ·  1,759 ratings  ·  331 reviews
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 blacksmiths son from Putney emerges from the springs bloodbath to continue his climb to power and wealth,
Hardcover, 904 pages
Published March 5th 2020 by 4th Estate
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Average rating 4.51  · 
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Mar 03, 2013 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: can-t-wait-books
I really don't understand how and why anyone would give an unpublished book 1 star (and 4,5 stars for that matter).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?

Aaaand hes back. Thomas Cromwell aka Cremuel aka Crumb aka he, Cromwell aka... he. The upjumped blacksmiths boy, now Master Secretary, is newly elevated to Baron as The Mirror & The Light kicks off, a reward for his part in disposing of Anne Boleyn.

I could go into raptures about Mantels exceptional prose here sinewy, there sweeping or the finely detailed historical research, or her vivid, textured Tudor England setting: as close to time travel as literature gets. But the real triumph of
I need more "He, Cromwell..." in my life.




Seriously, I cannot wait for this.

Mar 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Longlisted 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 means I am far from being the best person to review this book, nor does there seem much point writing in detail about the plot, most of which is documented history, so I would rather focus on personal impressions.

As in the earlier books, whatever we may feel about her take on his motivations, Mantel's
Gumble's Yard
Mar 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
More of a preview than a review but I hope of interest.

I attended the event at the Royal Festival Hall tonight to launch the book.

The evening started with two of the actors from the TV series reading first from Wolf Hall and then Bring Up The Bodies.

Then Hilary Mantel read the opening part of The Mirror and The Light.

She then had a long, detailed and very informative interview with the journalist Alex Clark and finished the evening by reading almost the end of the book (p866 if you have a
Feb 28, 2013 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
One reviewer knocked the book, claimed Mantel savages the royals just to sell books. The book is not published yet! And for goodness sake, read the speech! Mantel obviously feels sorry for Kate, and the "free press" gleefully and intentionally misrepresented her comments to sell newspapers Who is guilty here?
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads
It feels like we've been waiting for this one forever, but I think it's "only" five years or so.

I have never felt such kinship with G.R.R. Martin fans.
Book of Secrets°ღ
Update: Woohoo! It's finally here. I'm listening on audio (38 hours long!!) so it will probably take a couple of months to finish, BUT it's finally here!

She, Diana, needs this book to be released soon. ;-)
Sep 26, 2013 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
There should never be a book review before it is actually published. I have enjoyed and appreciate Goodreads but very disappointed that they would allow comments on an unwritten book. Really? Apparently, some oversight is needed.
May 22, 2019 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Finally it's announced!!! To be published on 5 March 2020, SO looking forward to it!
Roman Clodia
4.5 stars

I'm going to keep this short as fans of the first two books won't need any urging to read this; and if you didn't love them, then this one won't change your mind. In fact, rather than a trilogy, this feels like the third chapter of one huge story opening as it does mere seconds after the ending of Bring Up the Bodies.

I found this snarkier than the previous books as we're treated to more of Cromwell's inner commentary (listening to the audio book on my commute led to grins and
Mar 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

If I wasnt as absorbed in this work as I was in the first two, thats not Hilary Mantels fault. Wizard that she is with words, she cant change the times: neither the past nor the present.

Fairly early on I found myself wondering why I wasnt as engaged. Then realization hit me: reading of powerful men whose every action is to appease a petty, egomaniacal tyrant while carving out power and possession for themselves is not conducive to mental health in our time of pandemic. Unlike Henry VIII, we
I feel like I have a love-hate relationship with Hilary Mantels Cromwell books, and that in the past Ive perhaps been too generous in how Ive rated them.

I love Mantels attention to detail. She has picked apart Cromwells life in her research, and woven a story of vivid colours, from the most famous matters of state down to his family and home life. One feels that she knows the lanes of London where Cromwell walks, understands the earnestly held opinions of the day rather than trying to force
Feb 20, 2020 marked it as to-read
Shelves: owned
Pre-order come to daddy! 📚
Fortunate to have taken up the Cromwell trilogy only very recently in anticipation for this book but the wait is still too long.
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 wall. As he watches his servants try to capture the cat with a net, Cromwell puts his money on the Damascene cat outwitting their attempts because, like her, he himself has travelled far to get where he is, and he would fight anyone who tried to remove him from his high position.

That particular cat was
784 pages?! No, wait, the library catalogue lists it as 883 pages. I am definitely going to have to do some clearing of the decks before I pick up my reserved copy next Friday...
Mar 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In April 1859, Charles Dickens began to release A Tale of Two Cities in chapters All the Year Round, his weekly literary magazine. As they were reading Dickens chapters every week, did the readers of 1859 readers recognize A Tale of Two Cities as a classic that would continue to be treasured for near two hundred years and likely more? Reading Hilary Mantels The Mirror and the Light, I felt that its publication is a similarly historic literary event. This third volume of Mantels Wolf Hall Trilogy ...more
Dec 09, 2015 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
"Farewell? A long farewell to all my greatness
This is the state of man: today he puts forth
The tender leaves of hopes: tomorrow blossoms,
And bears his blushing honours thick upon him
The third day comes a frost, a killing frost,
And when he thinks, good easy man, full surely
His greatness is a-ripening, nips his root,
And then he falls, as I do. I have ventured,
Like little wanton boys that swim on bladders,
This many summers in a sea of glory,
But far beyond my depth: my high-blown pride
At length
Jan 06, 2020 marked it as priority-novels  ·  review of another edition
Eagerly awaiting receiving this book in the mail.
Debbie Zapata
Mar 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020printbooks
Mar 27 ~~ Wow. More thoughts asap.

Mar 29 ~~ I waited until this book appeared, and then read the entire trilogy one right after the other, so I have been immersed in Cromwell's world since March 6 when I started reading Wolf Hall. I am still in mourning. Who would have thought a person could mourn a man who was supposedly a villain?!

All I ever knew about Henry the VIII was his dismal marriage history. I knew the name Cromwell but I never understood what he did, or the general history of the
The final chapter alone deserves all the stars in the world!! Im not over it, dont think Id want to be. An absolutely phenomenal conclusion to the series. I am in awe of what Mantel has accomplished with Cromwells character What have I, but what my king gives me? Who am I, but who he has made me? All my trust is in him.

What does God see? Cromwell in the fifty-fourth year of his age, in all his weight and gravitas, his bulk wrapped in wool and fur? Or a mere flicker, an illusion, a spark beneath
Mar 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I write this as I near the end of this weighty, massive, complex, intricate and robust book. Robust? Yes, if I had to sum up the entire novel in one word, that would be it: robust! Filled with the history of the early-to-mid 1500s and the lives and thoughts of the high-born, low-born, in-between-born; of the poor and wealthy; followers of the old religion and the new; of nobles and laborers, priests and poets, writers and mystics, musicians, artisans, scholars - and others - in the English ...more
John Banks
Mar 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a majestic conclusion to the Cromwell saga. From glorious passages that take ones breath away with their brilliance to its grand architecture that throws intriguing and revealing light and shadow back on the previous two works; this novel is a finely wrought work of art. Mantel gives us a lesson in what the novel can achieve and for me this stands alongside works by my favourites (Tolstoy, Dickens, Steinbeck, Morrison, Zade Smith).

The structure loops back on events from the earlier two
Michelle Cristiani
May 10, 2017 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tudors
I'm already upset there won't be a book 4. Wish Cromwell had lived longer.
I'm going to have some thoughts about this when I stop crying. For now I will say that it is beautiful; and brutal; and shocking; and slow in the lingering, loving, frogs-in-boiling-water sense of things.
Mar 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hilary Mantels portrait of Thomas Cromwell began with Wolf Hall (2009), continued with Bring Up the Bodies (2012) and now ends with The Mirror & the Light (2020), another epic read, and at 900 pages it still didn't feel long enough.

The trilogy is a rags to riches story, and a rise and fall tale. The Mirror & the Light opens with the execution of Anne Boleyn and, although Thomas Cromwell is at the apogee of his power, the intrigue which will bring him down is also evident. The king is
Garry Nixon
Mar 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: on-real-shelf
A large number of themes are skilfully interwoven, including: the nature of power, and why some struggle to find it, (as Tony Soprano said, 'Who'd be boss?'); the role of memory, especially as we get to middle age; fathers and adult children; what it means to be English. And all of this against the background of a changing world, as the power of Rome diminishes, and society moves from feudalism to capitalism. Henry, Cromwell, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleeves: they're all so wonderfully sketched, no ...more
Caidyn (SEMI-HIATUS; BW Reviews; he/him/his)
What a satisfying ending to this series.

Were there historical inaccuracies and liberties taken? Sure. Jane Rochford likely wasn't how she was portrayed in this series and there were things that never happened that were included in this. Cromwell also never for sure had an illegitimate child although Mantel talks about rumors that he did have one around the time his family died.

But I found this to be a very satisfying conclusion to this series. I loved reading it and how soothing it was to sink
Jay Moran
Mar 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Do you know why they say, 'There's no smoke without fire?' It's not just to give encouragement to people who like fires. It's a statement about the danger of chimneys, but also about the courts of kings - or any space where trapped air circulates, choking on itself. A spark catches a particle of falling soot: with a crackle, the matter ignites: with a roar, the flames fly skywards, and within minutes the palace is ablaze.

Last night, I completed The Mirror and the Light, thus bringing the
Chris Gager
Mar 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'll add to the list of people who have "reviewed" it before they've read it - a neat trick! It's due at "my" library in about a week and I'm first on the list - YAY! Four stars for now, but who knows. If it's as good as the first two it'll be a five. If it's a let-down it'll be a three.

Heard an interview with Mantel this morning(3/8/20) on NPR. She's sounds a bit fragile. I've read that she's had a number of health challenges over the years.

Thursday 3-13-20 ... Looks like I'll be starting
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Tudor History Lovers: * April & May 2020 - The Mirror and the Light, by Hilary Mantel 5 35 Apr 01, 2020 03:30PM  
Jenneke 1 5 Mar 30, 2020 05:29AM  
The Mookse and th...: 2020 Women's Prize Longlist: The Mirror & The Light 43 93 Mar 23, 2020 09:35PM  
Reading the 20th ...: The Mirror and the Light - SPOILER Thread 41 41 Mar 18, 2020 05:25AM  
Tudor History Lovers: Release of The Mirror and the Light 5 30 Oct 03, 2019 04:12AM  
Any word on a release date? 11 510 Jul 12, 2017 12:48PM  

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Hilary Mantel is the bestselling author of many novels including Wolf Hall, which won the Man Booker Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction. Bring Up the Bodies, Book Two of the Wolf Hall Trilogy, was also awarded the Man Booker Prize and the Costa Book Award. She is also the author of A Change of Climate, A Place of Greater Safety, Eight Months on Ghazzah Street, An ...more

Other books in the series

Thomas Cromwell Trilogy (3 books)
  • Wolf Hall (Thomas Cromwell, #1)
  • Bring Up the Bodies

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