The Mirror & the Light

The Mirror & the Light

eBook - 2020 | First Canadian edition.
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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 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?
Publisher: Toronto, Ontario, Canada : HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, 2020.
Edition: First Canadian edition.
ISBN: 9781443413756
Branch Call Number: E-BOOK
Characteristics: 1 online resource (xiv, 883 pages) : genealogical tables
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc
Alternative Title: The mirror and the light


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Sep 16, 2020

Comment on the title: What irony in this title! Obviously, that's how Henry saw himself—-when in reality he was a spoiled, narcissistic, avaricious, psychopathic serial killer devoid of conscience and devoted only to his own selfish desires.
Comment on the book: Mantel has a (much appreciated) gift for making the reader feel like they have been transported back in time to Tudor England with a knowledgeable and vivid description of the splendor and the squalor. She takes your senses on a journey from the heights to the depths. At the same time, she puts you in the heads of Cromwell, his protagonists (few )and antagonists (many) with remarkable insight in such a way as to be believable. She offers explanation rather than apology for Cromwell’s oftentimes amoral behavior—-and shows as well a man capable of empathy, compassion, dedication, loyalty and forgiveness. All qualities lacking in his King. Done with the book—-I miss him already.

Aug 27, 2020

This book is a brilliant achievement. I think I enjoyed it the most of all the 3 books in the trilogy. It is a long, detailed read and you need some stamina to get through the nearly 900 pages in the 3 weeks you get to borrow it! But so impressive - I can't imagine the amount of work and research the author went to, to create this. Her writing is gorgeous, and the history is accurate and detailed. She really brings this whole fascinating era to life. I'll read it again at some point.

Aug 23, 2020

This historical fiction novel is about one of the most fascinating periods in British history- The Tudor period after the execution of Anne Boleyn. It is written in 'third person limited' voice from the perspective of the protagonist Thomas Cromwell. I am both enjoying it and struggling with the read as the author has chosen a style where she refers to Cromwell as “he”. She uses “he” even when there are other males in the passage and it is not clear who she is referring to. Moreover, by not using the name Cromwell or Thomas it feels like he is not even there in the story. It is a weakness in the style. I think I would have preferred hearing this book in audio format- I likely would have felt the main characters presence in this format.

Aug 12, 2020

A big read, lots of detail requires true commitment.

Aug 02, 2020

A satisfying read and end to the Thomas Cromwell trilogy. Not quite as good as Wolf Hall but almost.

Aug 01, 2020

A long, slow, gorgeous read. Brilliant characters & dialogue that is clever & witty. I think Wolf Hall is still my favourite but this was a great end to the trilogy.

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.

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.

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