A Factory of Cunning - Philippa Stockley
First published in 2005, this story tells how in the years before the French Revolution, London is an unsettled, dangerous place: the scene of an exquisite, thrilling tale of revelation and revenge.
One freezing May morning, two veiled women step off the boat from Holland. A French lady, calling her Mrs Fox, and her maid: they are on the run. Fearing for her life, Mrs Fox must make her way in a strange new city . . . but both her past and present crackle with danger.
Immoral and beautiful, Mrs Fox has always used men to support and amuse her. Trusting on her wits to keep ahead of the hangman, she manipulates others to survive: gullible Lord Danceacre; sweet Violet Denyss; and degenerate predator, Earl Much.
Yet in the Earl, Mrs Fox has met an adversary whose sadistic viciousness is a match for her own attempts to destroy him. Games are played with ever higher stakes, until someone must pay the penalty - but will it be the innocent or the damned? Through a dark, quick world of liars and lechers, where infidelity and intellect cross swords with desire or death, Mrs Fox hurtles towards a horrible climax.
Here is London, 1784 . . . Welcome to a factory of cunning.