The Paper Chase

The Paper Chase

The Printer, the Spymaster, and the Hunt for the Rebel Pamphleteers


Longlisted for the HWA Non-Fiction Crown

'A remarkable achievement' Spectator

In the summer of 1705, a masked woman knocked on the door of a London printer's workshop. She did not leave her name, only a package and the promise of protection.

Soon after, an anonymous pamphlet was quietly distributed in the backstreets of the city. Entitled The Memorial of the Church of England, the argument it proposed threatened to topple the government. Fearing insurrection, parliament was in turmoil and government minister Robert Harley launched a hunt for all of those involved. The printer was eventually named, but could not be found...

In this breakneck political adventure, Joseph Hone shows us a nation in crisis through the story of a single incendiary document.

'An elegant blend of scholarship and detection' Peter Moore, author of Endeavour
'Enthralling' London Review of Books
'An exciting story told with vigour' Adrian Tinniswood, Literary Review


  • A remarkable achievement...a fast-paced, captivating narrative... Hone demonstrates how uncovering 18th-century working lives can be every bit as enthralling as tracing the machinations of the greatest politicians of the age
    Marcus Nevitt, Spectator

About the author

Joseph Hone

Joseph Hone is a prize-winning writer and academic specialising in the history of the book. He studied and taught at Oxford, before holding fellowships at Cambridge, Harvard, and Yale. He is the author of The Paper Chase, which was longlisted for the HWA Non-Fiction Crown, and The Book Forger, publishing in 2024. In 2022 he was awarded the Philip Leverhulme Prize in Languages and Literatures. He lives in Newcastle with his wife and son, and spends much of his time either on the coast or scrabbling around in second-hand bookshops.
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