An employee holds copies of the six shortlisted books for the Man Booker Prize as she poses for photographers in a bookshop in London October 5, 2009. The winner will be announced at the awards ceremony on Tuesday night. REUTERS/Toby Melville

British author Hilary Mantel is working on a sequel to Wolf Hall, her 650-page novel about Henry VIII's adviser Thomas Cromwell which won the coveted Man Booker Prize for fiction late Tuesday.

The 57-year-old said Wednesday that The Mirror and the Light would follow the politician on his rise to the peak of power in Tudor England and end with his grisly execution.

The Mirror and the Light (will) follow Cromwell's further rise and rise and sudden fall from grace, Mantel told BBC Radio at the beginning of a publicity blitz. He's going to end on the scaffold, like most of Henry's associates.

Mantel, the overwhelming favorite to scoop the prize, said there were clear parallels between the court of Henry VIII and British politics today.

I think the rules of the game of power, set for us by Machiavelli and well known to Thomas Cromwell, don't really change over the years.

But she added: I think what you have to remember about the 1530s, the stakes were so much higher. If you made a mistake, you didn't get to spend more time with your family, you got your head cut off.


Wolf Hall was one of six shortlisted books for the annual award, and judges said Mantel won a 3-2 majority in the final round of voting shortly before the winner was announced.

During her acceptance speech at a banquet in the medieval splendor of London's Guildhall, Mantel said that if winning the Booker was like being in a train crash, at this moment I am happily flying through the air.

Broadcaster James Naughtie, chair of the judging panel, said Mantel had been chosen based on the sheer bigness of the book, the boldness of its narrative.

It wasn't a unanimous decision. These things seldom are, but it was a decision with which we were all content. There was no blood on the carpet. We parted good friends.

Mantel said she would spend her 50,000 pound ($80,000) prize money on sex, drugs and rock'n'roll, and when asked on Wednesday when that would begin, she replied: This afternoon ... the first gap in the schedule.

Mantel wrote Wolf Hall from the point of view of Cromwell partly to explore what he may have been like as a person.

His public record is very well documented, but his private life remains in the shadows, she said.

Wolf Hall opens with Cromwell as victim of his violent father and picks up his story when he is in the service of Cardinal Wolsey.

He rises through the ranks to become one of Henry's most trusted aides, helping the monarch in his attempts to break with the papacy in Rome.

Mantel can expect sales of her work to increase sharply. Booker organizers said last year's winner, Aravind Adiga's The White Tiger, had sold around one million copies around the world largely thanks to the attention the award brought.

The prize honors English-language works by authors from the Commonwealth and Ireland.

This year's shortlist included two previous Booker winners -- South African-born J.M. Coetzee, who had won the award twice and was nominated for Summertime, and A.S. Byatt, who was nominated for The Children's Book.