Fourth Estate to publish Hilary Mantel's The Mirror & the Light on 5 March 2020
Expectations will be high for the third and final episode in Mantel's exploration of the life and times of Thomas Cromwell after the previous two instalments both won the Booker prize.
The Mirror & the Light will be published by HarperCollins' Fourth Estate on 5 March, with simultaneous publication in Canada by HarperCollins and in the US by Henry Holt.
According to HarperCollins: '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.'
Mantel said: "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 realised the richness and fascination of this extraordinary life. Since then I have been on a long journey, with the good companionship of archivists, artists, booksellers, librarians, actors, producers, and - most importantly - millions of readers through the world.
"I hope they will stay with me as we walk the last miles of Cromwell’s life, ascending to unprecedented riches and honour 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."
Nicholas Pearson, publishing director at Fourth Estate, said: "When I first read the opening pages of Wolf Hall, I was drawn into history in a way I hadn’t experienced before. Hilary Mantel allows us to inhabit the past as it happens - we watch Cromwell and those in his orbit as their lives unfold, making decisions the consequences of which they cannot know.
"Readers around the world have relished this experience in the years since, both with that novel and its successor, Bring Up the Bodies. The Mirror & the Light is every bit as daring and thrilling as the novels which precede it. Completely immersive, as it charts the final years of Cromwell, it also casts a fresh light on the politics of power and the way we live now."
Mantel’s agent, Bill Hamilton of AM Heath, said: "It is hugely exciting to see Hilary’s masterwork, written over 14 years, brought to its triumphant conclusion. This is a great literary landmark.’
Wolf Hall has been translated into 36 languages, Bring Up the Bodies 31 languages and sales for both books have reached over 5 million worldwide.
Bea Carvalho, Waterstones fiction buyer, said: "We are enormously excited that the long-awaited third book in Hilary Mantel’s brilliant trilogy has finally been announced: it is the publication which our customers ask us about most frequently, and we’re thrilled that this conversation can now begin in earnest as we count down to March 5th 2020.
"2019 has seen a stellar line-up of new titles which continues into the autumn – it’s incredible to be able to look forward to such a momentous publication next year too. The Mirror & the Light is set to be one of the biggest releases of 2020 and indeed the decade to come. We can’t wait to read it, and to share it with our customers."
A TV treatment of the book is also in the works. Following on the BAFTA and Golden Globe winning television adaptation of Wolf Hall, Playground Entertainment is in active development with the BBC on the adaptation of The Mirror & the Light, to be written by Peter Straughan and directed by Peter Kosminsky and using the same production team.
Wolf Hall won the Booker in 2009, Bring up the Bodies in 2012, and if Mantel were to triumph with her final Cromwell ovel she would become the first writer to win Britain's top literary prize three times. The challenge now for HarperCollins, and for retailers, is to build excitement for the final episode after an eight-year gap since the last instalment.
Pictured: Hilary Mantel (cr Els Zweerink)