Get a first look at one of the biggest literary events of 2020.

By David Canfield
January 06, 2020 at 10:00 AM EST
David Levenson/Getty Images

Hilary Mantel is getting ready for readers to see the Light.

The award-winning author is set to wrap up her acclaimed, best-selling, and already-superbly-adapted fictionalized Thomas Cromwell trilogy with The Mirror & the Light. Coming after Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies — both of which, remarkably, won the Booker Prize — this finale promises to deliver the ending readers have long been waiting for.

This new book will cover the last four years in Cromwell’s life, launching from the point of Anne Boleyn’s gruesome death. As the official synopsis teases: “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?”

One of 2020’s biggest literary events, The Mirror & the Light marks the end of a triumphant decade in publishing for Mantel, who calls it “the greatest challenge” of her writing career. “When I began work on my Thomas Cromwell books back in 2005, I had high hopes, but it took time to feel out the full scope of the material. I didn’t know at first I would write a trilogy, but gradually I realized the richness and fascination of this extraordinary life,” she said in a statement last spring, when The Mirror & the Light was officially announced. “I hope they will stay with me as we walk the last miles of Cromwell’s life, ascending to unprecedented riches and honor and abruptly descending to the scaffold at Tower Hill. This book has been the greatest challenge of my writing life, and the most rewarding; I hope and trust my readers will find it has been worth the wait.”

Bring Up the Bodies was published in 2012, making Mirror an eight-years-in-the-making follow-up.

EW can exclusively debut the U.S. cover of the book, which may contain some clues for keen readers on what to expect. Check it out below. The novel publishes March 10, 2020, and is available for pre-order.

Henry Holt

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