The Baby Merchant

Kit Reed

Tor Books

The baby business is booming. Billions of dollars are spent each year on strollers, cribs, and clothing, not to mention assisted reproduction and adoption. With fertility rates dropping precipitously in the US and babies becoming ever more valuable as a combination of status symbol and perfect accessory, there's clearly a developing market for someone like Tom Starbird. Tom is The Baby Merchant
--though he'd never think of himself in such terms. In his mind, Tom creates perfect families by matching famous couples with prime--but neglected--newborns. Tom's a master of surveillance and secret "pickups". His small staff is extremely well-paid, especially the doctor who implants the government-required tracking chip into each infant's developing skull.

Sasha Egan is a talented artist feeling trapped by an accidental pregnancy. Determined to place her child with a loving family, Sasha is jolted by the arrival, at her chosen home for unwed mothers, of the unborn baby's father. Behind Gary's insincere protestations of love, Sasha detects the hand of her powerful, wealthy grandmother. Nearly nine months pregnant, Sasha disappears, going to ground at a seedy motel.

Jake Zorn is a crusading TV journalist who has broken some of the biggest scandals of the day. His life is perfect--except that he and his rainmaker attorney wife, Maury, cannot have children. They've tried everything; repeated miscarriages drove Maury to a terrible act that makes adoption agencies turn them away.

Tom Starbird is Jake's last chance, but it's too late--Tom wants out of the baby business. Jake Zorn knows more than a few hard truths about Tom Starbird, and he's not afraid to expose them to the nation.

Desperate to find a baby for the Zorns, Tom Starbird settles on Sasha Egan as the perfect supplier.

Soon Sasha's baby will be born. And many lives will be forever altered.

At the publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied.


Read an Excerpt

OneThe Provider1.Waking up on the worst day of your life so far you won't know why you are uneasy, only that everything looks OK, but something is not right. Sun's up, coffee's good; Sasha Egan is in pretty good shape, considering. Nothing wrong, exactly, but she can't quite shake the feeling."Go away," she says to no one. "Just go away."About the obvious: Sasha is nothing like the sweet little hicks murmuring in the solarium, but here she is, trapped with a gaggle of betrayed prom queens and unwitting cheerleaders, castoff girlfriends and beaming fundamentalist kids bobbing in


Praise for The Baby Merchant

"The Baby Merchant is a thriller about the horrors of pregnancy that can stand beside Levin's Rosemary's Baby and Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale. Kit Reed supposes a near future in which children have replaced real estate as the next hot commodity. It's one helluva hell-on-earth."--Thomas M. Disch

"Kit Reed's work freaks me out. The Baby Merchant is whip-smart and thoughtful, nervy and nervewracking, and it keeps me up until late, wanting to know how it turns out and begging to know how she does it. Then, in the morning, I blearily wander the streets, forcing total strangers to read her so they can be freaked out too. Don't make me come to your town."--Daniel Handler

"Now I know why we emerged from the caves into the light, discovered the wheel, and lit the first fires: to become a species that would produce Kit Reed; so that Ms. Reed would write The Baby Merchant. What a long, wearying, but worthwhile trip it has been."--Harlan Ellison

"A smart, twisty thriller in a future far too easy to imagine. The merchant himself, Kit Reed's Tom Starbird, is the deep, dark center of the book and, like Highsmith's Tom Ripley, is someone I will remember for a long, long time."--Karen Joy Fowler, author of The Jane Austen Book Club on The Baby Merchant

"A heart-felt, heart-stopping novel ripped from tomorrow's headlines, The Baby Merchant explodes our national obsessions with celebrity, children, and cold hard cash."--Elizabeth Hand, author of Mortal Love

Praise for Thinner Than Thou:

"A clever what-if, Reed's tale is provocative as well as amusing."--People

"'Super-Size Me' meets 'Soylent Green.'"--Entertainment Weekly

"Health clubs replace houses of worship in Kit Reed's not-so-science-fiction novel Thinner Than Thou."--Vanity Fair

"Reed has a singular gift for this kind of Swiftian satire, and her book is as funny as it is outraged."--San Francisco Chronicle

"A zesty send-up of our contemporary obsession with attaining eternally svelte self-images. A feast of entertaining food for thought."--The Associated Press

"Reed's visionary tale is brilliant."--Booklist

"Stinging and mordantly witty satire."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"A timely, witty page-turner which tells us the truth about ourselves and our society while making us laugh aloud. Reed remains one of the most cheerful and accurate of modern social observers."--Michael Moorcock

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Kit Reed

  • Kit Reed is the author of the Alex Award-winning Thinner Than Thou and many other novels. Her most recent short fiction collection is Dogs of Truth. Reed has been nominated for the World Fantasy Award; collections of her short fiction have been finalists for the James W. Tiptree Award. Kit Reed lives in Middletown, CT and teaches at Wesleyan University.

  • Kit Reed Kate Maruyama





    Available Formats and Book Details

    The Baby Merchant

    Kit Reed

    • e-Book



    Tor Books