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

Dr Joseph Hone is a writer and academic based at Newcastle University, where he researches and teaches the literature of the long eighteenth century. He was educated at Oxford and has held fellowships at Cambridge, Harvard, Yale, and the Institute of English Studies in London. His first book, Literature and Party Politics at the Accession of Queen Anne (2017) was shortlisted for the University English Book Prize. He is currently preparing the early verse of Alexander Pope for a major new edition.
Learn More

Sign up to the Penguin Newsletter

For the latest books, recommendations, author interviews and more