Widely considered to be one of the first true English novels, Fielding's "Tom Jones," written in 1749, revolves around the life and experiences of an orphaned baby who grows up to be a kind-hearted, if overly vigorous, young man. Tom is brought up by the generous Mr. Allworthy on his Somerset estate, where Tom eventually falls in love with his beautiful neighbor, Sophia Western. Because of his partially unknown parentage, however, their respective guardians are against the match. When Tom is banished due to his occasionally heated temper and sexual encounters with local girls, he has an adventure full of danger and surprise, and he ultimately follows Sophia to London, who herself flees from an undesirable arranged marriage. Generally acknowledged as Fielding's greatest work, "Tom Jones" takes the hero through an inventive plot that will entertain and astonish readers to the revealing conclusion.
Tom Jones isn't a bad guy, but boys just want to have fun. Nearly two and a half centuries after its publication, the adventures of the rambunctious and randy Tom Jones still makes for great reading. I'm not in the habit of using words like bawdy or rollicking, but if you look them up in the dictionary, you should see a picture of this book.
For Coleridge the plot of Tom Jones was, along with that of Oedipus The King, the most perfect ever constructed. Fielding used all his art and all the craft he had amassed as a successful playwright for the eighteenth-century London stage to tell this hugely entertaining story of a foundling and how he arrives, through sexual misadventures and elaborate disasters, to claim his legitimacy, his fortune, and his true love.
From the Inside Flap