Mantel's final Cromwell novel set for March 2020

Mantel's final Cromwell novel set for March 2020

Hilary Mantel’s long-awaited final novel in her Thomas Cromwell trilogy will be published in March 2020, 4th Estate has revealed, following fevered speculation around a teaser campaign billboard in London’s Leicester Square.

The Mirror & the Light will be published simultaneously in Canada by HarperCollins and in the US by Henry Holt, bringing the trilogy, which began with Wolf Hall in 2009 and was followed by Bring Up the Bodies in 2012, to a "triumphant conclusion".

It has been confirmed that the billboard sign, featuring the series' Tudor rose and the Wolf Hall quote 'So now get up', tweeted in a photo by Waterstones Piccadilly on Tuesday (21st May), was created by 4th Estate as a teaser for the announcement.

The final chapter of the Cromwell trilogy will be 864 pages long and will be published on 5th March 2020 retailing at £25. Following on from the success of 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. 

“With The Mirror & the Light, Hilary Mantel brings to a triumphant close the trilogy she began with Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies,” the HarperCollins imprint said. “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.”

Her editor Nicholas Pearson, who is publishing director at 4th 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 BodiesThe 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 literary agent Bill Hamilton of A M 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.”

The Bookseller's books editor Alice O'Keeffe said: “I consider Hilary Mantel to be one of the greatest contemporary novelists writing today and so the news is just thrilling. It’s the best book news since Margaret Atwood announced The Testaments.”

Bea Carvalho, Waterstones fiction buyer, told The Bookseller: “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.” 

Retailers have already unveiled their special editions with Waterstones selling the final trilogy as a signed clothbound version retailing at £50 as well as a signed version at the usual r.r.p. of £25.

Mantel is the two-time winner of the Man Booker Prize for her best-selling novels, Wolf Hall, and its sequel, Bring Up the Bodies, which also won the 2012 Costa Book of the Year. Playful Productions / Royal Shakespeare Company adapted Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies for the stage to colossal critical acclaim.

Wolf Hall has been translated into 36 languages since 4th Estate published it in 2009 while Bring Up the Bodies, which came three years later, has been translated into 31 languages with sales for both books have reached over 5 million worldwide, HarperColllins said.

Mantel is the author of 14 books, including A Place of Greater SafetyBeyond Black, and the memoir Giving up the Ghost. Oxford Films has been commissioned by the BBC to make a film exploring the life and work of the author, to coincide with the publication of The Mirror & the Light.