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A Tale of Two Cities [Kindle Edition]

Charles Dickens
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (541 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Novel by Charles Dickens, published both serially and in book form in 1859. The story is set in the late 18th century against the background of the French Revolution. Although Dickens borrowed from Thomas Carlyle's history, The French Revolution, for his sprawling tale of London and revolutionary Paris, the novel offers more drama than accuracy. The scenes of large-scale mob violence are especially vivid, if superficial in historical understanding. The complex plot involves Sydney Carton's sacrifice of his own life on behalf of his friends Charles Darnay and Lucie Manette. While political events drive the story, Dickens takes a decidedly antipolitical tone, lambasting both aristocratic tyranny and revolutionary excess--the latter memorably caricatured in Madame Defarge, who knits beside the guillotine. The book is perhaps best known for its opening lines, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times," and for Carton's last speech, in which he says of his replacing Darnay in a prison cell, "It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known." -- The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature

Product Description


'I shall treasure the richly detailed explanatory notes. It's an edition which will surely sell to the general reader; yet many truer Dickens specialists than I will be excited by the scope and subtlety of the introduction.' Dr P. Merchant, Christ Church College, Canterbury

'The large clear print, very full notes, and inclusion of Dickens's number plans make it the best paperback available for student use.' Professor Norman Page, University of Nottingham

I read it every other year. It is the best story of the best hero. It does not pale. (You (Mail on Sunday Magazine))

Book Description

With an exclusive introduction by Peter Ackroyd, these out of print editions are brought back to life with a fresh and timeless new look.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 886 KB
  • Print Length: 341 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1481820672
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Public Domain Books (1 Dec. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (541 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #126 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Second time of reading; 45 years on! 6 Jan. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A Tale of Two CitiesI first read this book when I was about 15 years old and I am now nearly 60. I have attempted to re-read it several times over the years but have never managed to get into it until I received a Kindle for Christmas! I have really enjoyed reading it in this format. I think it is because the text is in smaller 'chunks' and you don't become phased by a large page of heavy prose. It is certainly a very moving, albeit tragic story, on many levels. Dickens' description can be a little too graphic, however you do get a feeling of 'being there'. I look forward to re-reading other classics that I read at school. By the way, surprise surprise, I cannot remember anything of my original reading of this book!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Joe Average - which is sad in a Dickens book, 3 April 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
Flowery and plain, that's the problem with this book. It's best moments are when the narrative is plain, its worst is when the esteemed Charlie speaks so figuratively that it's hard to know what he's actually directly referring to, and most of all in the opening chapters. However, this does ease as the story progresses and improves a hundredfold.

All in all, an averagely-good yarn. Whether he actually 'nailed it' re the terrible back-droppy events (and head-droppy perhaps): well, some say he did, such as Schama and Chesterton, others, too many to name, say he didn't. I don't suppose that matters now that much, it is after all a novel, around a century and a half old, and not a direct source for history or constitution studies.

For new Dicko' completists, nothing will stop you getting this, and that's fine, for those wanting an engaging read, save it for the worst days of January and February, I think a hot June day with the kids yelling for a jar of lemo' and a game of frisbee throwing would see the book hit the back of the couch and drop behind a cushion.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very approachable Dickens 27 Nov. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Wonderful novels they are, but works like "Little Dorrit", "The old curiosity shop", "Dombey and Son" etc tend to be lengthy reads. In "A tale of two cities", Dickens weaves an intricate, fascinating and (occasionally) amusing tale, with brevity and deftness. London is at once delightful and grim, France is a playground for the self-seeking and (sometimes) vicious "aristos" and a hell on earth for the poor - revolution brews and its echoes are felt in London. A justifiable uprising turns sour and the human impulses to good and bad are clearly revealed.
I am delighted to revisit this splendid novel via the "magic" of Kindle.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Powerful Novel 13 Feb. 2012
By Kublai
Format:Kindle Edition
It takes a while to get going, but when I'd finished reading I could say this was deservedly a classic. Dickens has a disdainful comic voice to his writing, which can be irritating at times, but then very apt at others. He recreates the world of the French revolution memorably, and gets you thinking about society and the currents which run through it. His characters all come alive in their own right so that you have a clear sense of them - even the minor ones - and it is enjoyable to see how their paths all entwine and come together for the conclusion. And the last pages were some of the best I have ever read in fiction.
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Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I struggled with the first third of this novel but I was determined to read at least one Dickens through to the end. I cannot pretend that it was my most enjoyable read but I am glad that I competed it and would recommend it.
Most of it is set in the years preceding the French Revolution and the most dramatic and engaging parts of the story occurring during the height of those events; so the historical setting was of interest and persuaded me that this was the novel to tackle.
It is of course, great writing, full of witty observations, characterisations and wry humour. There are some stand out passages and quotes that made it worth the effort. But for me, Dickens is always going to be, a bit of an effort. I really can't put my finger on it. It isn't that I struggle with the language of the 19th century novel but really until the last quarter of the book, I felt like an observer, never wholly involved in the plight of the protagonists. It's all very clever stuff but to me, often feels self indulgent, a few too many overly convoluted sentences. I know a lot of confirmed fans will disagree strongly with this statement but it is my honest impression. If you have avoided Dickens and are now considering making a start with A Tale of Two Cities, do persevere if you find it a bit of a slog at first, it is worth it. But don't beat yourself up if you don't manage to stay the course either. Took me the best part of 40 years to manage it and I read Milton for fun!
A note on this Kindle copy: no obvious typos or formatting issues to report. A very good copy, plus it's free so what do you have to lose?
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5.0 out of 5 stars Thriller, romance, historical novel, spy story 24 Mar. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
You are browsing through the Kindle Store, trying to choose between Lee Childs, Katie Fforde, Hilary Mantell, John Le Carre, when up pops A Tale of Two Cities. Is it worth spending time with Dickens' tale of London and Paris set at the time of the French Revolution?

I have to say emphatically, "Yes". It's a classic of English literature which fully deserves its status. Thriller, romance, historical novel, spy story, tale of redemption, this superlative narrative delivers them all.

The core story is that of Dr Manette, rescued from a pre-revolutionary prison, and Charles Darnay, a Frenchman teaching his native language in England, also reprieved, from trumped up espionage charges, at the start of the book. The happy lives they build around Lucie, Manette's daughter are endangered when Darnay returns to Paris in the throes of revolution to repay a debt of honour. Around them, a typically Dickensian supporting cast including lawyers, bankers, grave robbers, embittered revolutionaries, dissolute aristocrats and saturnine road menders all play their parts.

One of the chief joys of the book is simply being in the presence of a master story teller brilliantly demonstrating his art and craft. It is beautifully structured, starting almost with an overture as Dickens sets out two of his major themes, of personal secrecy and of revolution, with, firstly, an almost heartbreaking passage in which he suggests that one of the great tragedies of death is that individuals will never truly understand what is in each other's hearts, and secondly with the breaking of a wine barrel at a bar prophesying the blood of the revolution which is to come.
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