Determined that her baby son Tom shall not share her fate and remain in slavery, Roxy secretly exchanges him with his playmate Chambers, the son of her master. The two boys' lives in the quiet Missouri town of Dawson's Landing remain entwined even though they take very different directions. The indulged Tom (now heir to a fortune rightfully that of Chambers) goes to Yale, where he learns how to drink and gamble, while Chambers looks set to remain a subservient drudge. But then a strange sequence of events begins - one in which the much-derided lawyer, 'Pudd'nhead' Wilson, has a key part to play - and changes everything. Darkly ironic, blending farce and tragedy, Pudd'nhead Wilson is a complex and fascinating depiction of human nature under slavery.
Born Samuel Langhorne Clemens in 1835, Mark Twain spent his youth in Hannibal, Missouri, which forms the setting for his two greatest works, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Trying his hand at printing, typesetting and then gold-mining, the former steam-boat pilot eventually found his calling in journalism and travel writing. Dubbed 'the father of American literature' by William Faulkner, Twain died in 1910 after a colourful life of travelling, bankruptcy and great literary success.