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Spitalfields, 1840.

Catherine Sorgeiul lives with her Uncle in a rambling house in London's East End. She has few companions and little to occupy the days beyond her own colourful imagination. But then a grisly murderer strikes, dubbed The Man of Crows, and as Catherine hungrily devours the news, she begins to believe she can channel the voices of the victims - and the murderer. But the murders continue to panic the city and Catherine gradually realizes she is snared in a deadly trap, where nothing is as it first appears. With an elegant style and a thrilling plot, The Pleasures of Men, reveals the dark, beating heart of corrupt London in Queen Victoria's reign.



"Properly thrilling and extraordinarily well written"
THE INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY

"Intense, intelligent and hugely entertaining, The Pleasures of Men will add Williams to the ranks of queens of contemporary fiction"
THE GUARDIAN

"A dark story of murder and obsession"
ELLE

"Mesmerising...Williams captures the city in thrall to a madman...elegant and compelling"
THE LADY



 


Reviews & Praise 

Waterstones Book of the Year

"The Pleasures of Men shares with Wolf Hall an ambitious, challenging concern with form combined with a pitch-perfect historical ear... This intoxicating and disturbing novel is properly thrilling and extraordinarily well-written. Kate Williams is already an accomplished biographer; The Pleasures of Men shows a soaring talent let loose."
THE INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY - Full Review

"Intense, intelligent and hugely entertaining, The Pleasures of Men will add Williams to the ranks of queens of contemporary fiction"
THE GUARDIAN

"Sumptuous period detail and a narrative crammed with intrigue and speculation, this is the debut novel Kate Williams was born to write"
THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH - Full Review

"Wonderfully ripe, imaginative and gripping, with a spider's web of a plot and a spine-tingling atmosphere of menace and suspense"
THE TIMES

Kate talks about The Pleasures of Men with Mariella Frostrup.
BBC RADIO 4 OPEN BOOK CHOICE - Listen

Kate talks to Simon Mayo about The Pleasures of Men
RADIO 2 BOOK CLUB CHOICE - Listen

"Kate Williams Joins the Queens of Historical Fiction"
THE GUARDIAN - Full Review

Historian Kate Williams talks to David Robinson
THE SCOTSMAN - Full Review

"A spine-tingling, seductive thriller. Catherine Sorgeiul's obsession with a series of murders of young girls in London's East End enmeshes her in deceit, betrayal and danger."
FANNY BLAKE, WOMEN AND HOME

"This is a novel as crowded with sensation as a Victorian parlour was with furniture. For Catherine – bored, listless, starved of affection, locked away in her uncle’s house – even just imagining the handiwork of the Man of Crows somehow frees her imagination" 
THE SCOTSMAN

"With a remarkable imaginative intensity that seizes attention from the start, this dark, disturbing story will not easily be forgotten"
BBC HISTORY MAGAZINE

"Mesmerizing...Williams captures the city in thrall to a madman...elegant and compellling"
THE LADY

"A sure footed evocation of an era and a deft critique on repression"
THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH

"This is the London of the "Hungry Forties", not yet the pompous capital of imperialism; rank, cholera-racked, clinging precariously to a squalid Regency glamour... The Pleasures of Men shares with Wolf Hall an ambitious, challenging concern with form combined with a pitch-perfect historical ear. This intoxicating and disturbing novel is properly thrilling and extraordinarily well-written. Kate Williams is already an accomplished biographer; The Pleasures of Men shows a soaring talent let loose."
THE INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY







"Historian Kate Williams successfully makes the move from non-fiction, creating a sinister picture of a society and protagonist on the brink of hysteria"
PSYCHOLOGIES

"Part bodice-ripper, part slasher, the elaborate plot moves along at a brisk clip with a nod to Sarah Waters"
THE DAILY MAIL

"A charged, fast-paced ride through the dark underbelly of Victorian London in the footsteps of a serial killer. Fans of Sarah Waters will love it." 
GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

"An eerie murder mystery set in the corrupt heart of Victorian London"
EITHNE FARRY, GOOD BOOK CLUB - MARIE CLAIRE

"Intense, intelligent and hugely entertaining, The Pleasures of Men will add Williams to the ranks of queens of contemporary fiction"
THE GUARDIAN

"A dark story of murder and obsession"
ELLE

"This is a fast-paced thriller written by an expert on all things Victorian. Fans of Sarah Waters and Michel Faber will revel in this charged and colourful Victorian epic....Williams creates an extraordinary world with unforgettable characters and a dark heart. Highly recommended."
BOOKSELLER

"Not since Sarah Waters have I seen so much lesbian sex in a historical novel"
MARIELLA FROSTRUP, RADIO 4 - OPEN BOOK

"A dark world of murder and betrayal" 
THE DAILY EXPRESS ★★★★

"Chilling"
HISTORY TODAY

"Exploring a substantial theme: a woman’s attempt to define herself in a society created entirely by men"
THE GUARDIAN

"A stirring read from the Queen of Victoriana"
LANCASHIRE EVENING POST

"The Pleasures of Men shares with Wolf Hall an ambitious, challenging concern with form combined with a pitch-perfect historical ear... This intoxicating and disturbing novel is properly thrilling and extraordinarily well-written. Kate Williams is already an accomplished biographer; The Pleasures of Men shows a soaring talent let loose."
THE INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY

"Intense, intelligent and hugely entertaining..it will add Williams to the ranks of queens of contemporary fiction."
THE GUARDIAN

"wonderfully imaginative, gripping, with a spider's web of a plot and a spine-tingling atmosphere of menace and suspense."
THE TIMES