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Publisher's Summary

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. 

The Telegraph (UK) Best Books of the Year - 2020
Minneapolis Star Tribune Holiday Book Recommendations - 2020
Time Magazine Best Books of the Year - 2020
An NPR Best Book of the Year - 2020
The Guardian (UK) Best Books of the Year - 2020
USA Today Best Books of the Year - 2020
The Times Literary Supplement Books of the Year - 2020
Kirkus Reviews Best Books of the Year - 2020
Man Booker Award - Nominee
New York Times Book Review Notable Books of the Year - 2020

A Macmillan Audio production from Henry Holt and Company 

"Ben Miles - Group Captain Peter Townsend in The Crown - has, in addition to narrating this final volume, taken on the massive task of delivering Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies as well. He also played Cromwell in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Wolf Hall Parts One & Two, and captures again the man’s voice, its taint of baseness, its ups and downs and quiet ruthlessness." (Washington Post

"Miles’ familiarity with Mantel’s portrayal of Cromwell pervades his performance of The Mirror & the Light, which traces Cromwell’s fall from greatness, beginning with the aftermath of Anne Boleyn’s beheading and ending with his own. Miles’ voice carries the power-hungry statesman’s monumental final act with ease and a delicate nuance, as only someone with a deep understanding of the story could." (BookPage)

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2019 Hilary Mantel (P)2019 Macmillan Audio

Critic Reviews

"The many listeners enthralled by the earlier two volumes in Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall trilogy will find all their expectations met in this final installment... Here is a narrative achievement of the highest order." (AudioFile magazine, Earphones Award winner)  

Featured Article: It Was the Best of Scribes—The Best British Authors


With its esteemed history and bold contemporary scene, Britain lays claim to some of the most exciting literature in audio. With the hundreds of incredible British writers throughout the centuries, a person could devote their whole literary life solely to British authors and still never run out of amazing things to listen to. Whether you're an avid Anglophile or just want to discover the best English novelists for yourself, here’s a list of the best for you to choose from!

Editor's Pick

Every event of Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies has new meaning now
"I waited and waited for the final installment of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall trilogy about Thomas Cromwell; listeners, it’s here and it’s revelatory. We all know where Cromwell’s life is tending (you can’t "spoil" history), and so wise listeners will keep a hanky within reach. But the combination of Hilary Mantel’s immersion in Tudor England, and Ben Miles’s ability to become Cromwell (as seen in Wolf Hall on Broadway and the West End) is uniquely magical. (Inside baseball: she quoted Ben-Miles-as-Cromwell in the dialogue of the book!) The Mirror and the Light is 40 hours long...and ends too soon." —Christina H., Audible Editor

What listeners say about The Mirror & the Light

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Ben Miles is not as good a reader...

Hilary Mantel's writing is just as good as in the first two books of this trilogy, Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, but I'm fairly disappointed in Ben Miles's narration. The other two were EXCELLENTLY read by Simon Vance & Simon Slater, and I had high hopes for Ben's reading, since he played Cromwell in the stage plays created from the first two books (though I was not thrilled about that casting choice; they should have had a big, thuggish-looking guy like Ray Winstone) because I knew from her interviews that he had worked closely with Hilary Mantel on the character. (I saw the plays and was not terribly impressed with them. I'd say the TV series, with Mark Rylance, was better.) Ben's reading is not ABSOLUTELY terrible, but there's one thing he's doing that is making me CRAZY: he's pronouncing Wriothesley just like it looks (long i, and enunciating the th sound), even though it's a running joke throughout the books, which Ben should know since he was in the plays, that it's pronounced Risley; I'm sure every fan of the books cannot fail to remember that Cromwell's men all tease Wriothesley with the name Call-Me Risley (and he is specifically named that in this book too). I just DO NOT UNDERSTAND how Ben could have gotten that wrong! And even if he did, whoever is producing or directing this performance should have corrected it. I flinch every time I hear him say it, and it's more or less ruining it for me. Luckily, I am also reading the e-book, even though the whispersync is not available, and I have to keep forwarding through to find where I left off each time. Since I'm spending more time with the print edition than the audio, I can just about stand it.

37 people found this helpful

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Ben Miles is a Narration Disaster

The previous readers of this series gave us a Thomas Cromwell who was a calm, calculating, witty, urbane man marked by no tell tail class accent. A well learned lawyer who is fit to deal with princes, as Chapuys reminds him. Ben Miles decision to give him a Putney Accent (?), if it's even that, rings hollow and destroys the character. I'm sending this back - I suggest you get Simon Vance back to redo this book.

32 people found this helpful

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Please re-record this book!

I will pay a second time for either Simon Vance or Simon Slater. I don’t think I can finish this recording.

22 people found this helpful

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What happened

What happened to Simon Slater narration? Listening to this book compared to the first two book, it's like someone else wrote this. Something happened, I am so disappointed. The book is okay, but not as good a listen as Wolf Hall and Bringing up the Bodies.

22 people found this helpful

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Rating the Book Not the Narration

The writing is brilliant as expected. The narration and it's production are not good. The attempted accents are horribly distracting and the mouth noises are disgusting. This Cromwell sounds like Michael Cain. He keeps weirdly pronouncing Wriothesley even though it has been established by the "call me Risley" nickname to be pronounced Risley. I might get a refund on this one and stick to the sight reading.

14 people found this helpful

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Final chapter of the Thomas Cromwell Trilogy

Just received the long awaited follow up to the Wolf Hall Trilogy So far I have listened to 10 minutes of the 38 hour story and it opens with a big “WOW”- the execution of Anne Boleyn. I was worried that this sequel would disappoint. No worries

10 people found this helpful

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Long awaited book

I was so looking forward to hearing this book as I have the other 2 books. She seems to take the humanity out of Cromwell and put an all together different character in. I didn’t like the narrator and would’ve liked to hear one of the last two, who narrated her other books, read this. Overall not a horrible story line.

9 people found this helpful

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The narrator is far better in this one.

I was initially dismayed by the previous reviews but I find this narrator far more engaging. Jury us still out on the story.

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Thirty-six hours!

An incredible deal! For just one credit i have a week's diversion as I socially isolate myself from the pandemic!

9 people found this helpful

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Excellent!

While I was a bit put off by the narration change (and agree with others that the inconsistent pronunciation of Call Me's last name is particularly irksome) overall, it still does the job - after listening for awhile I was able to get into this final installment, which is a stunning capstone to the Wolf Hall trilogy. Don't let the narration dissuade you from trying it!

8 people found this helpful