The Mirror & the Light

The Mirror & the Light

Book - 2020
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"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"--
Publisher: New York :, Henry Holt and Company,, 2020.
Edition: First U.S edition.
Copyright Date: ℗♭2020
ISBN: 9780805096606
Branch Call Number: FIC MANT
Characteristics: xvii, 757 pages : genealogical table ; 24 cm
Alternative Title: Mirror and the light


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Jul 01, 2020

This was an interesting conclusion to the series. Although it continued with the pursuit of wives, it makes the reader see that many other challenges were going on. The reformation and the battle between the religious, the fear of others who want to take the throne make being a king difficult, but I was reminded of other leaders who demand loyalty but don't return the favor. Loyalty needs to be a 2-way street and Henry never saw that.

Chapel_Hill_MarthaW Jun 23, 2020

This entire trilogy has been such an impressive feat of writing. It is so obvious to the reader on every single page how much research went into the creation of this book, and yet it never feels forced, or like Mantel is trying to show off how much work she did. Rather, it does what research is supposed to do to historical fiction: it makes the world feel complete and real and lived in. Much as I was surprised and delighted upon reading the first book to see how sympathetic, modern-feeling a character Mantel had managed to turn Thomas Cromwell into, it was an equally enjoyable experience as a reader to watch his fall from grace, and his slow transformation into a character who kept making decisions that made me say -- "No, no no no, bad idea!" I found the concluding chapter incredibly moving, and the writing throughout -- as it has been throughout the entire series -- was absolutely beautiful. This is a long, slow read, but it's so worth it.

May 31, 2020

Brilliant trilogy! Selfishly I’m glad I was able to keep the book during the pandemic... it’s the only way I was able to finish it! (Also so sorry to everyone who is waiting for the book) I’m a fan of the wolf hall books, and if anyone hasn’t seen wolf hall series that aired on PBS - check out the DVD or stream it on hoopla.

Apr 21, 2020

Crowning her trilogy, Mantel's "The Mirror and the Light" brings the story of Henry VIII and his councillor Thomas Cromwell to a brilliant conclusion. The tale is, as always, deeply sensual and steeped in the landscape, the animals, the soundscape, the food, the colors, even the illuminations of the manuscripts of the time, as well as the visceral terror of deadly court scheming and religious upheaval. In the aging Cromwell we even get insight into a deeply reflective mind, his fantasies, and the re-contextualization of his deepest memories. A stunning historical read.

Mar 22, 2020

The third book in the series, which began with Wolf Hall (2009) is a stand-alone book, but I would have enjoyed it more if I had read the first two books in the series. This book is told through Cromwell’s eyes, as he worries about King Henry’s continually changing friendships. And after 1700 pages in this final book in the series you know a lot about him.

debwalker Oct 29, 2019

Mantel follows Thomas Cromwell's journey.


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