Set in late eighteenth-century England, Philippa Stockley’s American debut gives us a wickedly delightful but deadly serious battle of the wills and the sexes. It begins with the arrival in London of the mysterious Mrs. Foxon the run from a scandalous French pastwho takes a new identity, determined to reinvent herself. She must pit her formidable skills for revenge against Earl Much, a British aristocrat with no less notorious a past and easily her match in sinfulness and intrigue. Between these two swirls a story featuring venal lords, wronged maidens, and reprobate clergymen, transporting readers from bawdy houses to country estatesplaces where the pleasures of the flesh are both high comedy and serious business.
A Factory of Cunning takes readers to the world immortalized in Dangerous Liaisons. And, like Michel Faber’s The Crimson Petal and the White, the vividly rendered setting and characters give the thrill of a fresh discovery.
PRAISE FOR A FACTORY OF CUNNING
""Deliciously wicked.""--The Washington Post Book World
""A Factory of Cunning is a well-made entertainment for people who don't go soft at the prospect of corsets and powdered wigs. The 18th-century milieu Stockley describes is so ruthless and exploitative that any shred of sentiment attached to the better-dressed past will be burnt to ashes on contact. Stockley's fidelity to the period and its language is nearly faultless.""--Salon.com