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The Mirror & the Light (Wolf Hall Trilogy)…
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The Mirror & the Light (Wolf Hall Trilogy) (original 2020; edition 2020)

by Hilary Mantel (Author)

Series: Wolf Hall Trilogy (3)

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2,101886,455 (4.35)288
""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"--… (more)
Member:AnnShirley
Title:The Mirror & the Light (Wolf Hall Trilogy)
Authors:Hilary Mantel (Author)
Info:Henry Holt and Co. (2020), 784 pages
Collections:Your library
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The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel (2020)

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» See also 288 mentions

English (85)  Dutch (1)  All languages (86)
Showing 1-5 of 85 (next | show all)
A quite astonishing achievement. ( )
  stevieboy573 | Aug 14, 2022 |
Jesus said, “for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.

How is it that I felt so sorry for Cromwell. He had done it to others; he, Cromwell, knew Henry’s MO was betrayal. But as I neared the end of this third and final installment in Cromwell’s story, I began to feel my chest tighten, as if I were the one headed to the Tower, as if Henry were coming for me.

Hilary Mantel is a consummate storyteller. She makes you feel these times, when the poor are desolate and to be rich and landed is to be in constant danger of running afoul of someone whose ambition exceeds your own. I suppose being a tavern owner might be safe and comfortable, but few occupations would have exempted you from either the deprivations or the intrigues. No one thrives, they only survive.

What makes Cromwell interesting is the way he embraces the dichotomy within himself. He does what can only be thought of as immoral acts, but he is a moral man. He takes his honor more seriously than the “gentlemen” he is deemed inferior to. He keeps his word, he cares for others, sometimes to his own detriment.

That's the point of a promise, he thinks. It wouldn't have any value, if you could see what it would cost you when you made it.

He operates in a world in which he values friendship, while most do not. He is no fool, he sees the dangers, but as his position rises, so his pride augments as well, and he loses his edge, his wariness, his awareness--and he loses his inner warning voice, Wolsey leaves him. He becomes more like Wyatt.

Wyatt thinks himself shrewd, but he does not grasp what friendship is, as the world goes now. Friendship swears it will stand and never alter, but when the weather changes men change their coat. Not every man has a price in money; some will betray you for a kind word from a great man, others will forswear your company because they see you limp, or lose your footing, or hesitate once in a while.

This is history, and Henry VIII’s story is so well known, that if you do not know the ending going in, it is not the fault of the historians or film makers. That detracts not a whit from the beauty or interest of this novel. If you like your history personal and realistic, if you wonder what roams through the heads of distant people, you cannot do any better than this series of books. God help me, I even felt I understood Henry VIII.

If Henry is the mirror, he is the pale actor who sheds no lustre of his own, but spins in a reflected light. If the light moves he is gone.

It is sad to know that he, Cromwell, is indeed gone, recommitted to the past in which he belongs, brought forward into the light for only a moment so that we can walk with him in a world we would have been afraid to have paced in reality.
( )
  mattorsara | Aug 11, 2022 |
I didn't want this book to end, I know how it ends, but saying farewell to Cromwell was more poignant than I expected. The Tudors is an era I have read a good amount on so I'm familiar with the history, what Hilary Mantell does so beautifully is breathe live into those who are long gone.

The novel covers the period between the death of Anne Boleyn up to Cromwells own execution. Despite knowing the events that led up to it, the story is so well crafted that from Cromwells perspective that when his arrest eventually happens it is as much a shock for the reader as for the man himself.

It is simply one of the best historical novel series for this era. ( )
  restimson | Jun 22, 2022 |
The only fault I have with the whole series is the use of pronouns. A group of men talking, and there are no quotations and only 'he said'. I really had to pay attention to the context and how things were said in order to figure out who was speaking.
I loved that Cromwell is portrayed more sympathetically than is usual. I don't know the truth of the matter - people writing for history tend to color the accounts with their personal feelings - but I would like to believe he was as honorable as he seems. ( )
  LeslieHolm | May 19, 2022 |
I read the first two in the Thomas Cromwell series and thought they were okay but this one I just did not care for. I had a very difficult time getting through it. I do not care for her style of writing at all as it can be very confusing. It is rarely clear who is talking, etc. I read one review of this that said it was 'bloated' and I have to agree. Perhaps if it were 300-400 pages instead of nearly 800 it would be a bit better. Just very disappointing. ( )
  Nefersw | Jan 14, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 85 (next | show all)
She [Mantel] is still exuberantly rethinking what novels can do. Not since Bleak House has the present tense performed such magic. The narrative voice rides at times like a spirit or angel on thermals of vitality, catching the turning seasons, the rhythms of work and dreams, cities and kitchens and heartbeats.
 

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Mantel, Hilaryprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Mehren, HegeTranslatorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Damsma, HarmTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Goretsky, TalCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Humphries, JulianDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kloska, JosephNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Löcher-Lawrence, WernerTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Levavi, Meryl SussmanDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Miedema, NiekTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Miles, BenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Posthuma de Boer,TessaCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sivenius, KaisaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Smith, BenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Toebak, NanjaCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Epigraph
Frèrès humains qui après nous vivez
N'ayez les cuers contre nous endurciz.

Brother men, you who live after us,
Do not harden your hearts against us.

François Villon

Look up and see the wind,
For we be ready to sail.

Noah's Flood, a miracle play.
Dedication
To Mary Robertson, in honour of enduring friendship
First words
Once the queen's head is severed, he walks away.
Quotations
There is a cushion cover on which she was working on a design, a deer running through foliage. Whether death interrupted her or just dislike of the work, she had left her needle in the cloth. Later some other hand - her mother's, or one of her daughter's - drew out the needle; but around the twin holes it left, the cloth had stiffened into brittle peaks, so that if you pass your finger over the path of her stitches - the path they would have taken - you can feel the bumps, like snags in the weave.
In Southwark, Brandon says, where his family have a great house and the glassmakers have their shops, they are at constant peril from the fires that blaze away when their kilns are opened. "Catch a wisp of straw," Brandon says, "and - the whole district goes up."
Well, at those temperatures, Cromwell thinks. A blacksmith's forge is dangerous, and smiths are always blackened and burned, but you don't find them pierced to the heart with their own product, or hurtling to their deaths from church towers, as glaziers do every day of the week.
Henry looks away.... "I have told you before this, how Pole's family laid a curse, after young Warwick was beheaded. My brother Arthur died at fifteen. My son Richmond at seventeen."
He writes, and he thinks no one reads; but friends of Lucifer look into his book. At dusk he locks his manuscript in a chest, but the devil has a key. Demons know every crossing-out amd every blot.His ink betrays him. The fibres in his paper are spies.
The women prick off, on papers they keep, the days when they expect their monthly courses.
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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"--

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Haiku summary
A king and his man
manipulate the pieces.
The board shifts; heads fall.
(PeggyDean)

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