Confessions of the Fox

Confessions of the Fox

Set in the eighteenth century London underworld, this bawdy, genre-bending novel reimagines the life of thief and jailbreaker Jack Sheppard to tell a profound story about gender, love, and liberation.

Recently jilted and increasingly unhinged, Dr. Voth throws himself into his work, obsessively researching the life of Jack Sheppard, a legendary eighteenth century thief. No one knows Jack’s true story—his confessions have never been found. That is, until Dr. Voth discovers a mysterious stack of papers titled Confessions of the Fox.

Dated 1724, the manuscript tells the story of an orphan named P. Sold into servitude at twelve, P struggles for years with her desire to live as “Jack.” When P falls dizzyingly in love with Bess, a sex worker looking for freedom of her own, P begins to imagine a different life. Bess brings P into the London underworld where scamps and rogues clash with London’s newly established police force, queer subcultures thrive, and ominous threats of an oncoming plague abound. At last, P becomes Jack Sheppard, one of the most notorious—and most wanted—thieves in history.

Back in the present, Dr. Voth works feverishly day and night to authenticate the manuscript. But he’s not the only one who wants Jack’s story—and some people will do whatever it takes to get it. As both Jack and Voth are drawn into corruption and conspiracy, it becomes clear that their fates are intertwined—and only a miracle will save them both.

An imaginative retelling of Brecht’s Threepenny Opera, Confessions of the Fox blends high-spirited adventure, subversive history, and provocative wit to animate forgotten histories and the extraordinary characters hidden within.

Title:Confessions of the Fox
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9780399592270
Format Type:

About Jordy Rosenberg

Jordy Rosenberg is an Associate Professor at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, where he teaches 18th-century Literature and queer/transgender theory. He has received fellowships and awards from the Marion and Jasper Whiting Foundation, The Ahmanson Foundation/J. Paul Getty Trust, the UCLA Center for 17th- and 18th-Century Studies, the Society for the Humanities at Cornell University, and th


    Confessions of the Fox Reviews

  • Jessica Woodbury

    Historical fiction tends to be very cis, straight, and white. There are a few authors out there intent on changing that and Jordy Rosenberg's new novel is one of the most ambitious ones yet. It was pi...

  • Blair

    Jack Sheppard is a real historical figure, 'a notorious English thief and gaol-breaker of early 18th-century London'. In Confessions of the Fox, Professor R. Voth turns up a hitherto-undiscovered biog...

  • Caidyn (SEMI-HIATUS; BW Reviews; he/him/his)

    This review can also be found on my blog!CW: racism, sex work, graphic sex scenes, surgery, and gender dysphoriaAll at once, this book was made for me but also not. It was a hard book for me to read a...

  • Jane

    Confessions of the Fox has a fascinating premise: a recently heart-broken professor has uncovered and is annotating a long-lost manuscript that exposes the gender-defying true story about two notoriou...

  • Patty

    What is this? Well, a damn hard book to review, to start. On one level we have what is presented as the 'recently discovered autobiography' of Jack Sheppard, real-life petty thief and escapee from jai...

  • Wotgermaine

    This is a queering and de-whiting of the historical legend of Jack Sheppard, the master gaolbreaker, thief, and carpenter of 1720’s London. Wait, it’s the framing narrative of the academic who fin...

  • Bogi Takcs

    This was not for me, and for different reasons than I'd expected. Review coming soon IY"H. Sorry it took me such a long time to read, I would have DNFed were it not for the ARC and the fact that sever...

  • Valerie Best

    Recently dumped college professor, Dr. Voth, discovers the diaries of 18th century master thief Jack Sheppard. The novel is Dr. Voth’s painstaking transcription of the manuscript and their own incre...

  • Taryn Pierson

    If you’re into criminals with hearts of gold and also really enjoy scholarly research and footnotes, you will love this book. It’s two stories in one—the first is about Jack Sheppard, a thief in...

  • M.

    An experimental alternate-history anti-colonial prison-abolitionist hella-queer (and very sexy) feminist trans novel. It's thrilling to watch Rosenberg at play. Among other things (form (the interacti...