London, 1720s: Welcome to 'Romeville,' the underworld of the great city. The financial crash sees the rise of Jonathan Wild, self-styled 'Thief-taker General' who purports to keep the peace while brutally controlling organised crime. Only two people truly defy him: Jack Sheppard, apprentice turned house-breaker and his lover, the notorious whore and pickpocket Edgworth Bess. From the condemned cell at Newgate, Bess gives her account of how she and Jack formed the most famous criminal partnership of their age; rousing the mob of Romeville against its corrupt master. Bess dictates her narrative to Billy Archer, an aspiring poet, who has his own story of treachery and doomed romance to deliver.