Mastodon The Writing Desk: Book Review ~ The Mirror and the Light (The Wolf Hall Trilogy) by Hilary Mantel

7 May 2020

Book Review ~ The Mirror and the Light (The Wolf Hall Trilogy) by Hilary Mantel

Available on Amazon UK and Amazon US

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, Jane Seymour.

I feel like I’ve been on quite a journey, which began in 2015 with a visit to Wolf Hall, and ended on page 875 of Hilary Mantel’s literally heavyweight finale. In turns whimsical, chilling, funny and thought provoking, I’m going to miss carrying this book around.

Who could forget her description of Henry VIII slouching down the corridor in pink slippers ‘like pigs on the way to market’?  I don’t think I’ll ever see the formidable portrait of Thomas Cromwell without hearing Henry's scathing call of ‘Crumb!’.

There are so many larger than life characters it was sometimes necessary to refer to the list at the front to keep track of them all – and I’m mystified by the inclusion of a fictional daughter, who seems to add little to a rich and engaging story.

To really appreciate this trilogy, I recommend you begin with Wolf Hall, and set aside a few months and about a foot of bookshelf space.

Tony Riches
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About the Author

Hilary Mantel is the two-time winner of the Man Booker Prize for her best-selling novels, Wolf Hall, and its sequel, Bring Up the BodiesWolf Hall has been translated into 36 languages, Bring Up the Bodies into 31 languages, and sales for both books have reached over 5 million copies worldwide. Find out more at Hilary's website 

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