The final volume of Hilary Mantel's trilogy, The Mirror & the Light, went straight to number one in the UK top sellers. The book on the fall of Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII's minister, was released last week, on March 5.
According the bookseller magazine The Bookseller, in the first three days in bookstores, 95,141 copies were sold, corresponding to 1.55 million pounds (1.74 million euros). In the hardcover edition alone, 84,327 copies were sold, which makes The Mirror & the Light the book with this type of binding that was most quickly sold in 2020, a feat that will hardly be exceeded, since Mantel's novel is unanimously considered this year's big release in the UK.
This also means that the number of sales for the final volume of the Thomas Cromwell trilogy may be greater than that of Margaret Atwood's The Testaments, last year's great editorial success. The sequel to The Handmaid's Tale, which was only published in hardcover (the English hardcover edition only recently hit bookstores), sold over 103,000 copies in the first seven days and spent three consecutive weeks at number one before to be revealed winner of the Booker Prize together with Bernardine Evaristo's Girl, Woman, Other.
On Amazon, The Mirror and & Light it also occupies number one top since its launch. The publication of the novel increased the demand for the first two volumes of the trilogy: Wolf Hall, the first, now occupies number 11 on Amazon and Bring Up the Bodies, the second, number 18, according to Bookseller.
The Mirror & the Light appears eight years after Bring Up the Bodies and 11 years after Wolf Hall. The publication of the 900-page volume was marked the night before, March 4, with an event at the Waterstones bookstore in Piccadilly. Hilary Mantel, who was present, signed copies of about 200 fans who went to the London bookstore.
The inaugural volume of the trilogy, Wolf Hall, won, in the year of its launch, the Booker Prize. In 2018, he was a finalist for the Golden Booker, created to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the award (and attributed to Michael Ondaatje's The English Patient), and in 2019, it was considered by the British newspaper The Guardian to be the best published English fiction work after 2000, in a list disputed by authors like JK Rowling, Bob Dylan, Ali Smith or Colson Whitehead.
The sequel, Bring Up the Bodies, also won the Booker Prize, a feat that many believe can be repeated this year with The Mirror & the Light. The longlist of the important English language fiction prize will be announced on July 28 and the winner on October 27.
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