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The Pleasures of Men
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Kate Williams' first novel, The Pleasures of Men, is a gothic thriller with a splash of brutal murder.Spitalfields, 1840.A murderer nicknamed The Man of Crows.A heroine with a mysterious past and a vivid imagination.Catherine Sorgeiul lives with her Uncle in a rambling house in London's East End. When a murderer strikes, ripping open the chests of young girls and stuffing hair into their mouths to resemble a crow's beak, Catherine is fascinated, and devours news of his exploits. As the murders cause panic throughout the city, she comes to believe she can channel the voices of his victims and that they will lead her to The Man himself. But she's already far closer than she realises - and lurking behind the lies she's been told about her past are secrets more deadly and devastating than anything her imagination can conjure.Dark and compelling, The Pleasures of Men marks Kate Williams as a stunning new voice in historical fiction.'Wonderfully imaginative and gripping' The Times'Intense, intelligent and hugely entertaining' Guardian'Intoxicating and disturbing ... Shows a soaring talent let loose' Independent on Sunday'Fans of Sarah Waters will love this' Good Housekeeping'A spine-tingling and seductive thriller' Woman & HomeKate Williams is an academic and historian who specialises in social history. Her first two historical biographies, England's Mistress, and Becoming Queen, were widely acclaimed and the Independent called her 'one of our finest young historians.' She discusses history regularly on TV and radio, including Newsnight, BBC Breakfast, The One Show and the Today Programme, covered the Royal Wedding for the BBC and presented a Timewatch programme on Queen Victoria. She is the social historian on Restoration Home with Caroline Quentin. Kate has a DPhil from Oxford and two MAs from London, and teaches on the MA in Creative Writing at Royal Holloway.
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About the Author

Kate studied at Oxford and London and is the author of two non-fiction books: England's Mistress: the Infamous Life of Emma Hamilton and Becoming Queen. She lives in London. The Pleasures of Men is her first novel.

Reviews

Pitch-perfect . . . This intoxicating and disturbing novel is properly thrilling and extraordinarily well-written * Independent on Sunday * A dark story of murder and obsession * Elle * An eerie murder mystery set in the corrupt heart of Victorian London * Marie Claire Good Book Club pick * Part-bodice-ripper, part-slasher, the book's elaborate plot moves along at a brisk clip with a nod to the likes of Sarah Waters and Peter Ackroyd * Daily Mail * A sure-footed evocation of seamy Victorian London * The Sunday Telegraph * A sinister picture of a country, and protagonist, on the brink of hysteria * Psychologies * As crowded with sensation as a Victorian parlour with furniture * The Scotsman * A spider's web of a plot and a spine-tingling atmosphere of menace and suspense * The Times * Mesmerising, elegant and compelling * The Lady *

Biographer Williams (Becoming Queen) does something new with a familiar trope in her promising first novel, a thriller set in 1840 London. A Jack the Ripper-like serial killer, dubbed the Man of Crows, leaves his stabbed victims displayed with their hair stuffed into their mouths, their chests gouged in the shape of a star, and a penny placed on the exposed heart. The search for the murderer's identity largely falls to Catherine Sorgeiul, an orphan living with an ostensibly kindly uncle. Still adjusting to the tumult of the big city, Catherine also struggles with her own sexuality and the hypocrisies of early Victorian society, even as the body count rises. In one distinctive touch, the author has Catherine identify so closely with the Man of Crows' victims that she writes narratives in their names. Readers looking for more psychological sophistication than is usual in such historicals will be pleased. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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