After eighteen years as a political prisoner in the Bastille the aging Dr Manette is finally released and reunited with his daughter in England. There two very different men, Charles Darnay, an exiled French aristocrat, and Sydney Carton, a disreputable but brilliant English lawyer, become enmeshed through their love for Lucie Manette. From the tranquil lanes of London, they are all drawn against their will to the vengeful, bloodstained streets of Paris at the height of the Reign of Terror and soon fall under the lethal shadow of La Guillotine.
Charles Dickens was born in a little house in Landport, Portsea, England, on February 7, 1812. The second of eight children, he grew up in a family frequently beset by financial insecurity. When the family fortunes improved, Charles went back to school, after which he became an office boy, a freelance reporter, and finally an author. With Pickwick Papers (1836–37) he achieved immediate fame. In a few years he was easily the most popular and respected writer of his time. It has been estimated that one out of every ten persons in Victorian England was a Dickens reader. Oliver Twist (1837), Nicholas Nickleby (1838–39), and The Old Curiosity Shop (1840-41) were huge successes. Martin Chuzzlewit (1843–44) was less so, but Dickens followed it with his unforgettable, A Christmas Carol (1843), Bleak House (1852–53), Hard Times (1854), and Little Dorrit (1855–57), which reveal his deepening concern for the injustices of British society. A Tale of Two Cities (1859), Great Expectations (1860–61), and Our Mutual Friend (1864–65) complete his major works.
Ian Richardson (1934–2007) was a Scottish actor best known for his role on the BBC hit series House of Cards. He also provided narration for several C. S. Lewis novels. He died in 2007.