A Factory of Cunning

A Factory of Cunning

2.97 (246 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

Free delivery worldwide

Available. Dispatched from the UK in 4 business days
When will my order arrive?


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. Fox--on the run from a scandalous French past--who 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 estates--places where the pleasures of the flesh are both high comedy and serious business. A Factory of Cunning takes readers to the world immortal-ized 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.
show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 355 pages
  • 134.6 x 200.7 x 25.4mm | 340.2g
  • United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • Illustrations, black and white
  • 0156030675
  • 9780156030670
  • 1,789,852

Back cover copy

"A squelchingly well-researched period piece with sex, lust, overripeness and what one character calls the 'odour' of the scholar permeating every paragraph. It is also . . . a remarkable tour de force, jampacked with poetry, verbal fireworks, vitality and charm."--The Spectator [UK]
"The pages of this unscrupulous story are lined with lace, silk and muslin -- all of it stitched together in a fabric of shimmering deceit."-- The Washington Post Book World
In this elaborate and finely woven novel set in 18th Century London, Mrs. Fox, a French noblewoman with a scandalous past, squares off against Earl Much, a debauched British aristocrat, in a battle of will and deceit that will claim many casualties along the way.Intent on improving her station in Georgian society, Mrs. Fox trades upon her considerable powers of wit and seduction in order toprofit from theappetites of men. Her rival, however, is a crafty and resourceful man who has devoted his life to collecting priceless objects and ruining young women, and he will not be so easily beaten. Reminiscent of the world brought to life in Dangerous Liaisons, A Factory of Cunning is seductive, calculating, and thoroughly entertaining.
Philippa Stockley studied English at Oxford and period costume history at the Courtauld Institute. She produced her first illustrated novel at six and her first stage design at ten. A professional painter and designer, as well as an editor at the Evening Standard, she lives in London.

show more

Review quote

"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
show more

Rating details

246 ratings
2.97 out of 5 stars
5 9% (21)
4 25% (62)
3 34% (83)
2 20% (49)
1 13% (31)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X