"The Pleasure Merchant is a hilarious, sensuous, and ultimately ferocious quasihistorical novel about that most crucial of periods: the dawn of the modern era. The merchant class flexed its muscles, scientists turned their attentions to the workings of the human mind, sexual mores were challenged in public and in secret, and in every corner of society the unseen hand of the marketplace dominated all. Tanzer's clever slicing of the era reveals every social stratum of her world-their conflicts, their compromises, and their kinks. Read this book to learn what you've been soaking in your whole life."
-Nick Mamatas, author of Love is the Law and I Am Providence
"[Tanzer is] the modern Brontë sister."
-The Novel Commentary
"Forgive me, but I'm having some difficulty ascertaining exactly where magnetic north lies on your moral compass."
Apprentice wig-maker Tom Dawne's dream is to complete his training, marry his master's daughter, and set up a shop of his own. Unfortunately for him, when one of his greatest creations is used to play a cruel prank on a powerful gentleman, Tom is dismissed-and forced by fear of poverty and the need to clear his name to serve the very man whom he suspects set him up.
Tom quickly realizes he has bitten off more than he can chew... though as it turns out, it's not actually more than he desires. As Tom becomes less of a servant and more of a surrogate son, his ambitions change, and so do his pleasures, until it's no longer easy for Tom to tell if he's pulling the strings... or trapped in a bizarre web of someone else's making. Matters become no clearer when Tom meets the mysterious professional libertines who seem to lurk at the center of all his troubles: a man willing to procure anything for anyone, so long as it gives them pleasure, and his obscure assistant, whose past has been irretrievably lost.
Some might even say it was stolen...
From British Fantasy and Wonderland Book Award nominee Molly Tanzer (Vermilion; A Pretty Mouth) comes a novel of despair and desire: The Pleasure Merchant; or, The Modern Pygmalion, equal parts psychological thriller and sensual parlor drama.