This program is read by Ben Miles, who played Thomas Cromwell in the Royal Shakespeare Company adaptation of Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies
*This program includes a bonus conversation between Ben Miles and Hilary Mantel*
“If you cannot speak truth at a beheading, when can you speak it?”
With The Mirror & the Light, Hilary Mantel brings to a triumphant close the trilogy she began with her peerless, Booker Prize-winning novels, 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.
The story begins in 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, 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, a man with only his wits to rely on, 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. All of England lies at his feet, ripe for innovation and religious reform. But as fortune’s wheel turns, Cromwell’s enemies are gathering in the shadows. The inevitable question remains: how long can anyone survive under Henry’s cruel and capricious gaze?
Eagerly awaited and eight years in the making, The Mirror & the Light completes Cromwell’s journey from self-made man to one of the most feared, influential figures of his time. Portrayed by Mantel with pathos and terrific energy, Cromwell is as complex as he is unforgettable: a politician and a fixer, a husband and a father, a man who both defied and defined his age.
A Macmillan Audio production from Henry Holt and Company
English author, Dame Hilary Mary Mantel, was born in Glossop, Derbyshire in 1952. She attended St. Charles Roman Catholic primary school in the mill village of Hadfield. Her parents were actually Irish descent, but were born in England. Mantel's father divorced her mother and left when she was eleven years old. She never saw him again. Her mother did not marry, but spent her life with Jack Mantel, from whom Hilary took his name as her surname. Her schooling ended with a bachelor's degree in Jurisprudence in 1973. She then worked in social work in a geriatric hospital.
Her books include historical fiction, including a trilogy about Thomas Cromwell's rise to power under King Henry VIII. They were Wolf Hall, Bring Up the Bodies, and The Mirror and the Light (which was just released in the UK in March of 2020). She twice won the Booker Award.
In keeping with her unconventional life, Hilary married Gerald McEwen, a geologist in 1972, and they lived in exotic places such as Botswana and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. They were divorced after he gave up geology to be her business manager, but then remarried.
Get 5% off your total order by adding 3 or more audiobooks from Wolf Hall Trilogy