Jack Sheppard is a historical romance novel based on the real life of the 18th-century criminal Jack Sheppard. The events of the story begin with the notorious criminal and thief-catcher Jonathan Wild encouraging Jack Sheppard's father to a life of crime. Wild once pursues Sheppard's mother, and eventually turns Sheppard's father over to the authorities, and he is soon after executed. Sheppard's mother is left alone to raise Sheppard. Paralleling these events is the story of Thames Darrell. On 26 November 1703 Darrell is removed from his immoral uncle Sir Rowland Trenchard, and is given to Mr. Wood to be raised, so both Darrell and Sheppard spend their adolescence living with Mr. Wood. Several years pass and Sheppard becomes a thief robbing various people. He and his companion Blueskin, from Jonathan Wild's group, attack the Wood's household, and Blueskin murders Mrs. Woods. This upsets Sheppard which results in his separation from Wild's group. Sheppard befriends Darrel again and spends his time trying to correct Blueskin's wrong, ingeniously escaping Wild's posse.