THE final part of Hilary Mantel's best selling trilogy of books about Thomas Cromwell is to be published in March next year.

The Mirror and the Light will follow Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, which both won the Booker Prize and were made into an acclaimed TV series.

In the new book, Mantel traces the final years of Cromwell, who was a powerful minister to King Henry VIII.

For the BBC series, Cromwell has been played by Mark Rylance, who won a BAFTA for his performance.

Ms Mantel said: "When I began work on my Thomas Cromwell books back in 2005, I had high hopes, but it took time to feel out the full scope of the material.

"I didn’t know at first I would write a trilogy, but gradually I realised the richness and fascination of this extraordinary life.

"Since then I have been on a long journey, with the good companionship of archivists, artists, booksellers, librarians, actors, producers, and - most importantly - millions of readers through the world.

"I hope they will stay with me as we walk the last miles of Cromwell’s life, ascending to unprecedented riches and honour and abruptly descending to the scaffold at Tower Hill.

"This book has been the greatest challenge of my writing life, and the most rewarding; I hope and trust my readers will find it has been worth the wait."

Nicholas Pearson, the publishing director at 4th Estate comments: "When I first read the opening pages of Wolf Hall, I was drawn into history in a way I hadn’t experienced before.

"Hilary Mantel allows us to inhabit the past as it happens - we watch Cromwell and those in his orbit as their lives unfold, making decisions the consequences of which they cannot know.

"Readers around the world have relished this experience in the years since, both with that novel and its successor, Bring Up the Bodies.

"The Mirror & the Light is every bit as daring and thrilling as the novels which precede it.

"Completely immersive, as it charts the final years of Cromwell, it also casts a fresh light on the politics of power and the way we live now."