Henry Fielding’s great novel is a masterpiece of the picaresque. It has a lovable rogue for a hero, whose all too recognisable human faults involve him in many a scrape. The story bounds along from the opening scene in which an unknown baby is discovered in Allworthy’s bed, through all Tom’s trials and tribulations. But the novel’s exuberant tone never lets the reader fear that’s its erring hero will come to any real harm, despite the machinations of the devious Blifils, who so nearly come between Tom and his true birthright. All comes right in the end, as Tom win the hands of his beloved Sophia, whose common-sense and virtue match her beauty.