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`Download Ebook Ö The Mirror & the Light ò If you cannot speak truth at a beheading, when can you speak itEngland, MayAnne 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 cravesCromwell 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 With The Mirror 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 Near the beginning of this book, there s a scene in which an exotic cat, imported from Damascus, tries to escape from the confines of Thomas Cromwell s garden in London by climbing a tree near the wall As he watches his servants try to capture the cat with a net, Cromwell puts his money on the Damascene cat outwitting their attempts because, like her, he himself has travelled far to get where he is, and he would fight anyone who tried to remove him from his high position.That particular cat was Near the beginning of this book, there s a scene in which an exotic cat, imported from Damascus, tries to escape from the confines of Thomas Cromwell s garden in London by climbing a tree near the wall As he watches his servants try to capture the cat with a net, Cromwell puts his money on the Damascene cat outwitting their attempts because, like her, he himself has travelled far to get where he is, and he would fight anyone who tried to remove him from his high position.That particular cat was never mentioned again, but the scene remained in my mind, and I found myself looking out for further scenes involving cats Part of the motivation was curiosity to see how far Hilary Mantel can push a metaphor but another part of my motivation involved finding reasons to keep reading this book I had been completely charmed by the writing in Wolf Hall, and evenenthralled by Bring Up the Bodies so it was a surprise to me to find that I was a reluctant reader in the early chapters of this third book in the Cromwell series I wondered if it was because in this book, Cromwell is older, tireder, and consequently the reader needs to worry for him When he backs away from a fire, for instance, I worried When he remembers the light shining on the blade of Anne Boleyn s executioner s sword, I worried When he gets a fever, I worried When he starts making mistakes, I almost gave up.I also found myself concerned for Hilary Mantel s well being I wondered how she could bear the double strain helping Cromwell outwit his enemies and simultaneously outwitting her own fatigue in the face of the huge task she set herself here But she has succeeded marvelously As one of the characters says, so many words and oaths and deeds, that when folks read of them in time to come they will hardly believe such a man as Lord Cromwell walked the earth.Or such a writer as Hilary Mantel Although slowed down by my anxieties for both Cromwell and Mantel, I continued to read with increasing pleasure , and continued to keep an eye out for cats Soon I came across an episode where Cromwell talks of having had seven lives so far, now that he s been promoted to the office of Privy Seal But then I worried that he d be promoted again He was.As well as cats, there are similes and metaphors involving birds A character is shown working through a mass of paperwork like a raven through a rubbish heap Stab, stab, stab with his pen, not a beak till everything before him is minced or crushed or shattered like a snail shell burst on a stone The reader will have reason to remember raven like Richard Riche.Further on, another all black bird called a chough was mentioned The chough is known for its extraordinary manoeuvrability in flight and its unusual faithfulness to its nesting site We learn that Cromwell has placed a chough on his family s coat of arms because it was Cardinal Wolsey s emblem, and Cromwell is utterly faithful to Wolsey, his first master Like the chough, Cromwell is very good at manoeuvring he can twist and turn events to his advantage, and even people s minds, especially the king s But Cromwell has to twist and turn to evade his hoard of enemies too, and there s a fine description of a deer hunt which describes his position well Hart may ruse, and he may fly, he may plunge into the chilly stream, but the hounds run on and never changeand as they run, they revile him, baying their taunts in a language he can understand, calling him a varlet and a knave In normal hunting practice, the hart has a fair chance to escape but as the king gets too heavy and too unfit to ride his horse to the hunt, the rules of the hunt are adapted, and the deer are driven to where the king stands with his crossbow ready The reader fears that the only way for his enemies to trap Cromwell will involve such foul means.In Bring Up the Bodies, there was an extended falconry metaphor which I enjoyed a lot because in that book Cromwell was always the hunter and his enemies were always the prey As this book progresses, the enemies increase constantly and appear in the most unlikely places One of those enemies is described as a hawk What s she Margaret Pole doing Needlework, like any beldame Her hawk s profile is lowered over her work, as if she is pecking it Margaret says, You are a snake, Cromwell Oh no, no, no A dog, madam, and in your scent.If he s to be hunted, he ll be hunter too Besides the allusions to various creatures in that scene, there s also another style element that I d begun to noticeandFrom the beginning of this trilogy, Hilary Mantel has used a third person narrative but with a first person point of view, and during this volume, the third person voice has morphedandinto a first person voice So I wasn t surprised when, at about the half way mark, a we voice begins to appear He has been waiting for a clear day to see the apple trees prunedThe middle of the tree we call the crown We take out any shoots that are frictious against each other, those that are growing backwards, inwards, any way they shouldn t This passage occurs during a period when Cromwell is busy suppressing rebellion in the north of the country and it is easy to see the resemblance between the pruning process and the rooting out of rebellious factions Later we find that he is keeping a sort of journal which he refers to as The Book Called Henry I wondered if the we sections that had crept into the narrative were Mantel s clever merging of her book with his I even wondered at times if Mantel had herself merged completely with her character At one point he advises his nephew who works in the king s chambers, to use everything, discard nothing The reader feels Mantel has used everything she found while researching her subject, and discarded nothing I made a lot of margin notes while reading this book but now I think I ll discard the rest of them as the review is too long already Incidentally, there was a reference to margin notes which caught my eye, being someone who uses the margins of her books freely When an English version of the Bible was being prepared for printing, the printers were asked to set the line to the edge of the page because, as Cromwell says, it does not make for a good appearance, but no white space means no perversion by marginalia.I m afraid my copy of The Mirror and the Light has been greatly perverted Henry VIII by Hans Holbein who has a cameo role in the narrative Cromwell seemed to imply that Holbein had slimmed the regent down considerably Even so, he s a massive figure Pity the poor horses that had to bear his weight. I really don t understand how and why anyone would give an unpublished book 1 star and 4,5 stars for that matter Isn t it high time Goodreads did something about it Aaaand he s back Thomas Cromwell aka Cremuel aka Crumb aka he, Cromwell aka he The upjumped blacksmith s boy, now Master Secretary, is newly elevated to Baron as The Mirror The Light kicks off, a reward for his part in disposing of Anne Boleyn I could go into raptures about Mantel s exceptional prose here sinewy, there sweeping or the finely detailed historical research, or her vivid, textured Tudor England setting as close to time travel as literature gets But the real tr Aaaand he s back Thomas Cromwell aka Cremuel aka Crumb aka he, Cromwell aka he The upjumped blacksmith s boy, now Master Secretary, is newly elevated to Baron as The Mirror The Light kicks off, a reward for his part in disposing of Anne Boleyn I could go into raptures about Mantel s exceptional prose here sinewy, there sweeping or the finely detailed historical research, or her vivid, textured Tudor England setting as close to time travel as literature gets But the real triumph of this trilogy is the use of perspective, which reaches its acme in this final instalmentHe, CromwellThis is the special sauce, this close 3rd person It s how we ride around on Cromwell s shoulder, seeing everything from his unique point of view It is not objective It s immediate and intimate It is also, for some readers, a major irritant, but if you have made it to book 3 you re at least used to it by now.In this final volume we go deeper into Cromwell s psyche than we have ventured before He s a lotreflective, not regretful exactly he s too pragmatic for that but he s seen things, done things, that prick his conscience and these things dwell in the tenebrous corners of his mind Spectres of the past Harbingers of what s to come.Every now and then we take wing, arise from Cromwell s shoulder and soar above the barges on the Thames, over the fields of Britain, or the alehouses where sedition foments Sometimes his thoughts lead us further into the past, to times of heroes, saints or Roman invaders And always he s exhuming, turning over memories,recent history Venice, all slick cobblestones and mist or Putney on a murky night, a cellar and a knife As we loop back to scenes from the earlier books, our view is shifted ever so slightly, casting light in new places, where fresh details glint and catch the eye Which means The Mirror The Light isn t merely a continuation of this story, it also enfolds and contains everything that came before, adding richness and complexity to the whole At around 900 pages, this is nothing if not comprehensive There is much minutiae of politics, religious reform, scheming and conspiring, and a huge cast of characters, all of which will no doubt test the patience of some readers But this is it, fin, no , and so ardent fans, savour every page of this masterful, shining achievement It does not disappoint It sticks the landing Andthough it lacks the seductiveness of Wolf Hall, it gradually becomes the highpoint of the series Mantel does the impossible here she accelerates through time, expanding Thomas Cromwell s life in both directions as he ages and becomes haughty, as Henry VIII rushes through his wives, as England veers through myriad catastrophes in the backdrop Light spoilers will follow What a relief for me to finally, 11 years after Wolf Hall, to read T It does not disappoint It sticks the landing Andthough it lacks the seductiveness of Wolf Hall, it gradually becomes the highpoint of the series Mantel does the impossible here she accelerates through time, expanding Thomas Cromwell s life in both directions as he ages and becomes haughty, as Henry VIII rushes through his wives, as England veers through myriad catastrophes in the backdrop Light spoilers will follow What a relief for me to finally, 11 years after Wolf Hall, to read Thomas Cromwell s wikipedia page And Henry s, and Queen Jane s, and all the rests.We open with Anne Boelyn s death it s a bit of a stagger, assuming, like me, you haven t read Bringing up The Bodies again, and you finished in 2012 There s a curious effect here I remember the characters faintly, spirits from long ago, but after the initial slog of figuring out who everyone was again, they seemed axiomatic Mantel s Henry VIII is a particularly indelible character, whose caprices, weight, and self regard shift and expand as the book draws along, as the unseen net begins to circle around Cromwell As effective as the great scenes of court the future Queen Mary and the delightful ambassador Chapuys crackle especially are, Cromwell s early childhood memories, particularly those with the eel boy, an oft referenced interaction that takes harrowing form at book s end, spark just as well Cromwell is the beating heart of this, his unconscious voice and his dialogue flowing in and out of the text in a way that seems effortless and shows Mantel s absolute mastery of her famous lead He is a broad, fascinating character a moving scene with the daughter of his former master, Cardinal Wolsey, is partnered with a bizarre, fascinating rant about how effectively he keeps the books The ending, which I won t spoil, is gorgeous, unique, and smart.This is an ideal series for our life in quarantine, with soap opera twists and a fascinating educational aspect, though I will caution that there are quite a few scenes of plague related plots An attendant becomes sick The court makes sure to find who he has been in contact with, to keep them at home I, here in whatever 2020 has become, felt time collapse