LONDON (Reuters) - Booker Prize winner Hilary Mantel, whose “Wolf Hall” retold the life and thoughts of Thomas Cromwell, is planning not one sequel, but two, she said in an interview published on Friday.
The 59-year-old revealed she was planning a follow-up to Wolf Hall on the day after she won the coveted Man Booker Prize for Fiction in 2009.
That book, she said at the time, would be called “The Mirror and the Light” and would follow Cromwell on his rise to the peak of power in Tudor England and end with his execution.
Now The Mirror and the Light will become the third book in a planned trilogy, and a new work, “Bring Up the Bodies,” will be published in between, Mantel told the Guardian newspaper.
“When I came to write about the destruction of Anne Boleyn ... the process of writing and the writing itself took on an alarming intensity, and by the time Anne was dead I felt I had passed through a moral ordeal,” she said.
“I can only guess that the effect on the reader will be the same; the events are so brutal that you don’t want to take a breath and turn the page, you want to close the book.
“So I parted with my writing far earlier than I would usually, to ask my agent and publisher to read and judge if I had in fact finished a book.
“They had the same reaction as I did, so it’s decided that the second book will be Bring Up the Bodies, and the third book remains as The Mirror & the Light.”
Bring Up the Bodies will be published by 4th Estate, an imprint of HarperCollins, in May 2012.
Wolf Hall was unusually long for a Booker winner at over 650 pages, but critics were virtually unanimous in praising its portrayal Cromwell’s rise from the son of a blacksmith to one of King Henry VIII’s most trusted aides.
Mantel said Bring Up the Bodies would be “shorter, more concentrated” than Wolf Hall.
Reporting by Mike Collett-White, editing by Paul Casciato