The Mirror & the Light
This is Hilary Mantel's latest and final installment in the Wolf Hall trilogy, and it is amazing! If you haven't read the previous novels, and you're a fan of Tudor history, now is the time to read these fantastic works of fiction. Set in King Henry VIII's tumultuous and world changing court, Thomas Cromwell, is a commoner and the King's trusted advisor, and in the latest novel, his Lord Privy Seal. The books are a challenging and immersive; Mantel won the Booker prize for BOTH the first two in the trilogy, and I feel sure she'll get it for this one as well. The writing is amazing; you really feel like you're in Tudor England, And you'll admire Cromwell, he is so very human. -- Kathleen
"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.