Hilary Mantel, the British writer who announced a sequel to her Man Booker-winner Wolf Hall last week, now says she will write two more books.
That will make her historical fiction series about the life of Thomas Cromwell, the wily adviser to King Henry VIII, into a trilogy.
Wolf Hall, which marked the rise of the blacksmith’s son to become one of the most powerful men in Tudor England, weighed in at a hefty 672 pages.
Mantel says the sequels won’t be quite so long, but will continue to show Cromwell as a charming and cosmopolitan figure skilled at getting the king what he wants.
The first sequel, Bring Up the Bodies, will focus on the downfall of Anne Boleyn and will be released in May 2012.
"When I came to write about the destruction of Anne Boleyn [a destruction which took place, essentially, over a period of three weeks], 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," the author told the Guardian newspaper.
The third book, Mirror And The Light, will continue Cromwell’s story until his execution in 1540. That title had originally been intended for the second book.
Mantel said she had not envisioned a trilogy, but her thinking changed in the last month as she continued work on Bring Up the Bodies.
Wolf Hall was hailed as "an extraordinary piece of storytelling" when it won the Man Booker Prize in 2009. The book was also awarded the Walter Scott Prize for historical fiction.