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A Tale of Two Cities

Charles Dickens
A Tale of Two Cities
Book genre:
Historical novel
First Published:
January 1, 1859
Original language:

What's the book "A Tale of Two Cities" about?

"A Tale of Two Cities" is a novel written by Charles Dickens, published in 1859. Set in London and Paris before and during the French Revolution, the story revolves around the lives of several characters whose fates are intertwined by love, sacrifice, and the tumultuous historical events of the time.

The novel begins with the famous line, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times," reflecting the stark contrast between the conditions in London and Paris during the late 18th century. The central characters include Charles Darnay, a French aristocrat who renounces his family's title and moves to England, and Sydney Carton, a dissolute English lawyer who becomes infatuated with Darnay's wife, Lucie Manette.

As the story unfolds, Darnay is accused of treason in France and faces the guillotine, while Carton undergoes a profound transformation and makes a selfless sacrifice to save the lives of those he loves. Against the backdrop of political upheaval and social injustice, Dickens weaves a tale of love, redemption, and the struggle for justice.

"A Tale of Two Cities" explores themes of resurrection, the cyclical nature of history, and the power of love to transcend adversity. It's considered one of Dickens' most famous and enduring works, known for its richly drawn characters, intricate plot, and evocative portrayal of the French Revolution.

Listen to an excerpt from the book "A Tale of Two Cities"

It was the Dover road that lay, on a Friday night late in November, before the first of the persons with whom this history has business. The Dover road lay, as to him, beyond the Dover mail, as it lumbered up Shooter’s Hill. He walked up hill in the mire by the side of the mail, as the rest of the passengers did; not because they had the least relish for walking exercise, under the circumstances, but because the hill, and the harness, and the mud, and the mail, were all so heavy, that the horses had three times already come to a stop, besides once drawing the coach across the road, with the mutinous intent of taking it back to Blackheath. Reins and whip and coachman and guard, however, in combination, had read that article of war which forbade a purpose otherwise strongly in favour of the argument, that some brute animals are endued with Reason; and the team had capitulated and returned to their duty.

With drooping heads and tremulous tails, they mashed their way through the thick mud, floundering and stumbling between whiles, as if they were falling to pieces at the larger joints. As often as the driver rested them and brought them to a stand, with a wary “Wo-ho! so-ho-then!” the near leader violently shook his head and everything upon it—like an unusually emphatic horse, denying that the coach could be got up the hill. Whenever the leader made this rattle, the passenger started, as a nervous passenger might, and was disturbed in mind.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is this book available for free?

Yes, this book is in the public domain and can be accessed without any restrictions or royalties. The copyright term has expired. In most countries, copyrights last for the life of the author plus 70 years. Therefore, books published before the date of 1924 are generally in the public domain in the US if the copyright was not renewed.

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You can download this book for free, for example, on the Gutenberg Project website. This version is available to download and read in various ebook formats, including PDF, epub, TXT and others.

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