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LONDON: Hilary Mantel (pictured), who on Tuesday night became the first woman and first Briton to win the coveted Man Booker prize for fiction twice, vowed on Wednesday to bring her epic trilogy set in the court of King Henry VIII to a satisfactory close.
Her comments could have the bookmakers offering odds on the 60-year-old making it an unprecedented three Booker wins when the final instalment, provisionally titled “The Mirror and the Light” hits the shelves, probably in 2015.
For now, the focus is on “Bring Up the Bodies”, the second volume of her sweeping historical fiction charting the meteoric rise and equally dramatic fall from grace of blacksmith’s son-turned-king’s chief minister Thomas Cromwell.
The novel, published by HarperCollins imprint Fourth Estate, won what is one of the most important accolades for fiction in the English language, and followed the Booker success of the acclaimed “Wolf Hall” in 2009.
Asked how The Mirror and the Light might differ from her two previous Tudor histories, Mantel told BBC’s Today programme: “It’s going to be a complex book, I guess in texture more like Wolf Hall than like Bring Up the Bodies. “I have four years to cover here and what I want to do is hold up a mirror to everything that has gone before and also shed new light on it.
“What I’m trying to do is make three books that stand up independently and yet the third volume will have to contain them all ... It will be complicated, but I’m not intimidated. I think I can bring it home in style.” Mantel won a cheque for £50,000 in London’s medieval Guildhall banqueting hall, and can expect to see sales of Bring Up the Bodies surge. Before Wolf Hall won the 2009 Booker it had sold around 36,000 copies, but after the award its sales surged to around 600,000 copies.