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The Mirror and the Light

The Wolf Hall Trilogy - The Mirror and the Light: An Adaptation in 30 Minute Episodes
Narrated by: Joseph Kloska
Length: 11 hrs and 38 mins
Categories: Fiction, Historical
4.2 out of 5 stars (9 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

4th Estate presents the essential adaptation of The Mirror and the Light.

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, Jane Seymour. 

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 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 and 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.

©2020 Teritus Enterprises Limited (P)2019 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic Reviews

"Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall novels make 99 per cent of contemporary literary fiction feel utterly pale and bloodless by comparison." (The Times)

"Hilary Mantel has written an epic of English history that does what the Aeneid did for the Romans and War and Peace for the Russians. We are lucky to have it." (Sunday Telegraph)

"Very few writers manage not just to excavate the sedimented remains of the past, but bring them up again into the light and air so that they shine brightly once more before us. Hilary Mantel has done just that." (Simon Schama, Financial Times)

What listeners say about The Mirror and the Light

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    4 out of 5 stars

Brilliant writing, but with sameness of tone.

Hilary Mantel is the leading historical novelist of the present time - there is no doubt of that in my mind. Her grasp of the personalities and issues in the reign of King Henry VIII is extraordinary, and she can write superb dialogue. However, I found a sameness of mood and tone throughout these episodes - this may not apply to the complete novel. The reader is excellent in my opinion.

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The Portrayals were believable.

I have often wondered why Cromwell so willingly became the Henry's foul. This gives an explanation into the possible thinking of him at the time. It's like he knew what his fate would be but couldn't/wouldn't extricate himself from it.

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I’m not sure

I know these stories are popular and read by very well read readers. I’ve seen the first two on tv and really enjoyed them. I tried to read this but realise I’m not intelligent enough I just can’t follow it specially with it being read. Pity. I’ll just have to wait for the tv series.

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  • T M ISRAEL
  • 28-04-2020

Brilliant as usual from Hilary Mantel

Absolutely loved it! History brought to life in way where you feel you lived it.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 20-04-2020

Stunning!

A captivating book told using beautiful prose. Having listened to all three books, I am now bereft and can not imagine what might replace this exquisite trilogy in my daily listening time.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-03-2020

loved the book loved the narration

Well worth the wait, loved the narration which I found atmospheric and engaging. Fingers crossed more people will reflect same once this huge feast of a book is consumed. I miss Cromwell already!

3 people found this helpful

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  • Belinda Reid
  • 03-07-2020

Excellent read

Enjoyed this very much, as I did the whole trilogy. fFascinating, impossible to put down.

1 person found this helpful

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  • MrsFrank
  • 05-04-2020

Long winded

I struggle with Hilary Mantel's style and find the he said, she said dialogues confusing. I preferred the abridged version of Wolf Hall and think an abridged version of this book might be preferable.

1 person found this helpful