Introduction and Notes by Doreen Roberts, Rutherford College, University of Kent at Canterbury Tom Jones is widely regarded as one of the first and most influential English novels. It is certainly the funniest. Tom Jones, the hero of the book, is introduced to the reader as the ward of a liberal Somerset squire. Tom is a generous but slightly wild and feckless country boy with a weakness for young women. Misfortune, followed by many spirited adventures as he travels to London to seek his fortune, teach him a sort of wisdom to go with his essential good-heartedness.