Extended Audio Sample

A Tale of Two Cities Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 0 (400,237 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Charles Dickens Narrator: Simon Prebble Publisher: Craig Black Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Set against the backdrop of the French Revolution, A Tale of Two Cities is a sprawling tale of London and revolutionary Paris with a complex plot portraying the results of terror and treason, love and supreme sacrifice.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”—opening line of A Tale of Two Cities

It was the time of the French Revolution, a time of great change and great danger. It was a time when injustice was met by a lust for vengeance, and rarely was a distinction made between the innocent and the guilty. Against this tumultuous historical backdrop, Dickens’ dramatic story of adventure and courage unfolds.

Unjustly imprisoned for eighteen years in the Bastille, Dr. Alexandre Manette is reunited with his daughter, the gentle Lucie Manette, and safely transported from France to England. It would seem that they could now take up the threads of their lives in peace. As fate would have it, however, the two are summoned to the Old Bailey to testify against a young Frenchman, Charles Darnay, falsely accused of treason. Strangely enough, Darnay bears an uncanny resemblance to another man in the courtroom: Sydney Carton, a dissolute barrister. It is a coincidence that saves Darnay from certain doom more than once, as the two men’s fates become intertwined with that of the Revolution.

And there is Madame Defarge, a female revolutionary who has an implacable grudge against the aristocratic Evrémonde dynasty and who knits as she watches the beheadings.

The storming of the Bastille, the death carts with their doomed human cargo, the swift drop of the blade of La Guillotine—this is the French Revolution that Charles Dickens vividly captures. Brilliantly plotted, the novel is rich in drama, romance, and heroics that culminate in a daring prison escape in the shadow of the guillotine.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Beginning and ending with some of English literature’s most famous lines, Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities thrives on tension and conflict, all set against a bloody backdrop of the French Revolution…Through the senses, Dickens transports us deeper and deeper into another era with each turn of the page. Smell the acidity of red wine as it spills on the streets and ominously stains the faces, hands, and feet of peasants who lap it up in desperation; feel the competing emotions of heartache and hope as one of Lucie’s suitors stands trial; hear the cries of the raging mob and the clangs of their weapons as they storm the Bastille; see the glint of the guillotine as it falls swiftly to its victim below. The novel’s sense of urgency and intimacy will draw you in and propel you through one of the most tumultuous times in history.”

    Oprah’s Book Club

  • “What can be said about a book which provides us with the single finest opening line in English literature, outside of Genesis 1:1 in the KJV? Dickens was, without any doubt whatsoever, the finest writer of historical literature / romance fiction of the nineteenth century.”

    AllReaders.com

  • Oprah’s Book Club Selection, 2010
  • Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award

Listener Reviews

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Review by Jamie | 1/28/2014

    " It took me a month to read this book, of and on. It needed the time. I forget how wonderful Dickens' writing is. How descriptive. How brilliant. How truthful. The language isn't written like this anymore. We don't have the patience for it anymore. But, if you have the time to give, this is a story worth savoring "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Review by Bernardo Sulzbach | 1/15/2014

    " Full review on my blog. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Review by Denis Materna | 1/15/2014

    " I read this some time ago. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Review by Rohit Mishra | 1/11/2014

    " After I finished this book I had two emotions; one, I felt happy for the first time that I was literate, and two, I realized the flaws in me that I can't ever write something like that. "

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About the Author
Author Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens (1812–1870) was born in Landport, Portsmouth, England, the second of eight children in a family continually plagued by debt. A legacy brought release from the nightmare of debtors’ prison and child labor and afforded him a few years of formal schooling. He worked as an attorney’s clerk and newspaper reporter until his early writings brought him the amazing success that was to be his for the remainder of his life. He was the most popular English novelist of the Victorian era, and he remains popular, responsible for some of English literature’s most iconic characters.

About the Narrator

Simon Prebble, a British-born performer, is a stage and television actor and veteran narrator of some three hundred audiobooks. As one of AudioFile’s Golden Voices, he has received over twenty Earphones Awards and won the prestigious Audie in 2010. He lives in New York.