The Mirror and the Light (a vivid description of the kingship of Henry VIII (died in 1541) is the third volume in the Thomas Cromwell series of novels by Hilary Mantel (the British novelist who has won two Booker Prizes). The story is the biographical account of Thomas Cromwell the Putney brew/blacksmith's son who rose to prominence and fell before the ax of the executioner in Tudor England. This third novel deals with: a. The execution of Henry's second wife Anne Boleyn who is the mother of the future Queen Elizabeth I b. Henry's wooing and marriage to the ill fated Jane Seymour who died giving birth to Edward VI. C. Cromwell's role in the marriage of Henry to Anne of Cleves. Henry hated his new bride and as a result of disfavor Sir Thomas Cromwell was executed. d. Story of the conflict between Protestants and Roman Catholics. Cardinal Reginald Pole wanted to replace Henry and become King of England. e. An intimate look at Cromwell's private life featuring his children. He was the father of an illegitimate Belgian girl and had other children. Mantell is a great writer of historical fiction and knows the Tudor period like the back of her hand. Her style is poetic and literary. You often have to read her long sentences two or three times to get the meaning. Reading her is slow and her prose is a challenge to master. Several times you have to catch yourself to remember whom is talking to whom. Nevertheless, this book is like you are listening in to intimate conversations among high born sixteenth century ambassadors, and aristocrats. Mantel also enjoys following various characters as they meditate on the past and speculate on the future. Anyone reading her should have a basic understanding of the Tudor times she so well presents to us. There are many characters to keep straight and many stories to follow during the course of almost eight hundred pages. Nevertheless, this is a wonderful book. Enjoy and learn!