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Publisher's Summary

Exclusively from Audible

'It was the best of times, it was the worst of times'; so the recording begins and ends with some of Dickens' best-known words, and between those lines is every Briton's view of the worst excesses of the French Revolution.

Set in London and Paris before and during the French Revolution, the audiobook tells the story of a French doctor who is imprisoned for 18 years in the Bastille in Paris. Upon his release, he moves to London with his daughter, Lucie, whom he had never met. She marries but there is conflict between her husband and the people who decades earlier caused her father's imprisonment.

Set against the backdrop of the conditions that led up to the French Revolution, it depicts the plight of the French peasantry demoralised by the French aristocracy and the brutality demonstrated by the revolutionaries during the Reign of Terror, towards the former aristocrats.

Dickens was one of eight children from a very poor family, with his father eventually being sent to debtor's prison. Dickens began work at the age of 12 to help clear the family debt. It was this troublesome childhood that provided him with much of the material for his novels and lent him a sympathetic voice for the poor.

Narrator Biography

Martin Jarvis is one of Britain's most admired actors. His audiobook output is legendary. He is described in Vanity Fair as 'the Olivier of audiobooks' and 'genius of the Spoken Word' in the LA Times. Award-winning recordings range from titles by Charles Dickens, P.G. Wodehouse and Michael Frayn to thrillers by Jeffrey Archer, Wilbur Smith, Ian Fleming and Dick Francis.

He has starred in many acclaimed West End and National Theatre productions and received the Theatre World Award as Jeeves on Broadway. Numerous UK television appearances encompass Law & Order, Doctor Who, Endeavour, Inspector Morse and The Forsyte Saga. In America: Murder She Wrote, Numb3rs, Cosmos and Walker, Texas Ranger. Films include Titanic, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Wreck-It Ralph. Videogames: Alfred in Batman, Finn McMissile in Cars. Martin was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE).

Public Domain (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall

There's a Reason Dickens is so Famous

I hadn't read Dickens since high school but now, 30 years later, decided to give him a try. The man really is an amazing author with wonderful characters, great plot and pacing, and a sense of humor. I will definitely read more of his books. The narrator of the audiobook made it even more enjoyable. This is the first time I have sought out a narrator's name so that I can find more of his books.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Gorgeous

Wonderful narration. I haven't heard many audio books, but it's hard to imagine this one being done any better. Rich characters and scenes, precisely drawn by Dickens.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Highly recommended

Loved this book on audio -- one of my favorite audio book experiences, a very pleasant surprise. Took me an hour or two of listening to become completely hooked, but after that I literally couldn't put it down -- stayed up till all hours to hear the final passages. The only audio book that ever made me cry. Just lovely.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Guy
  • virginia beach, VA, USA
  • 08-01-06

Great classic...

I tried to listen to this on CD a few years ago, but I would find my attention wandering. I gave it another try, and I'm glad I did. The narrator is wonderful, and this is a book I will listen to again in the future.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Tim
  • oakville, ON, Canada
  • 05-21-06

Very well read

Martin Jarvis does an excellent job narrating this title. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Thomas
  • INDIANAPOLIS, IN, United States
  • 05-06-17

Martin Jarvis's delivery makes this the best audio version.

Martin Jarvis's delivery makes this the best audio version of Tale of Two Cities. With a work that's been so frequently reproduced the reader is the relevant variable and Jarvis is the best.

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  • Mark
  • Toney, AL United States
  • 11-08-16

Exceptional

Amazing book - it was intense, terrifying, while at the same time it was one of the most poignant books I have ever read. And in the end it was uplifting. Many times, the classics are not really classic but rather they are just books that were written long ago. This one truly is classic. The narration by Martin Jarvis is wonderful. The pitiful situations that the characters all endure is terribly sad and gives some insight into the actions they all take at the pivotal moment in the book. Dickens probably truly cared about humanity and the human situation.

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Masterful Work Brilliantly Delivered!

Martin Jarvis brings out the heart of the story by not only narrating with a solid understanding of this classic but also by using distinct voices for each character. Worth the listen!

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I'll want to go back and read it

The story is great and the performance is excellent. If you want to listen to A Tale of Two Cities, I'd recommend listening to this version. However, I had never read the book on paper, and now I think that I will. It's rather long and can be a bit convoluted. Not in a bad way at all, just that I would have liked to have been able to go back a few pages or chapters and refreshed myself on who a character was or what event the narrator was referencing. Of course, this is a trade-off for any audiobook. I just think AToTC is just worth going back over more than others sometimes are.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

fabulous narration

Martin Jarvis' voices completely brought the characters and story to life. Often lending a merciful touch of comic relief to this rather somber novel.

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  • David
  • 05-25-15

Sublime

A wonderful story that is unenriched by a masterful performance from Martin Jarvis. One of the best audiobooks I have heard.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Richard
  • 01-23-13

Brutal and gripping story brilliantly narrated

I listened to this straight after listening to Pickwick Papers (another great reading by David Timson) and you would hardly believe they were both written by the same author. As well as being a great story it was also a great education as to how things were at that time and encouraged me to do more research of the period. I am so impressed by the amazing talent of Martin Jarvis. I've listened to him read, or I should say perform, Hard Times and Great Expectations and he really makes it an experience to remember. I just can't work out how he does it, surely he doesn't just sit down and read it off live...there must be overdubs and editing surely?!...it's brilliant anyway!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Joanna
  • 12-23-12

Delightful

I love books. Love to hold them, feel and smell the pages so I thought I would not like audio books. I gave this a try because of a promotion and now I'm converted. This particular book came to life in the expert hands of the narrator who managed to 'play' so many characters successfully. I thoroughly enjoyed it!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Welsh Mafia
  • 06-28-08

By which all others are judged.....

A cultural heritage which places the Victorian novel at the centre of all we do and the trained voice as the medium through which it is delivered....it's a shame that we are giving this away and our kids aren't being taught this stuff at school isn't it? In our day it was one Dickens per year in the class-room, Martin Jarvis as Uriah Heep on the telly of a Sunday tea time and an illustrated version on the bookshelf in the parlour.
Now look at us....Facebook, MySpace and Britain's Got Talent...nice to escape back into those characters, that story and most of all that voice.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Isobel
  • 11-24-17

Outstanding

I hadn’t read this book for quite a few years and had forgotten a lot of the detail of the story. This audiobook was an excellent way of getting reacquainted with it. Martin Jarvis’s narration was outstandingly good at conveying the different characters involved and carrying the moods. No-one quite does sentimentality quite like Dickens and I fall for it every time. This is an absolutely riveting yarn, and I was on the edge of my seat despite basically knowing how it all turns out. I think that is partly testament to the excellent narration.

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  • James Drayton
  • 10-12-17

Marvellous story expertly read

The performance of Martin Jarvis alone makes this a fantastic listening experience. He brings Dickens to life and fully involves us in the fabulous language and story. Superb.

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  • Fit.Wil.Dar
  • 10-09-17

Exceptional

The words, phrases and story are delivered in an exceptional way. I can't praise this audible experience enough.

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  • Zoot
  • 09-30-17

Bland

Not my favorite Charles Dickens book. Martin Jarvis was a great narrator, as expects, but I found the story quite convoluted and uninteresting. It was all just a bit flat with quite two dimensional characters and a climax that felt like a dud party-popper.

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  • William
  • 09-29-17

I can't believe it's taken me this long

I've been going onward with my journey in literature in american (Emerson, Thoreau, Joyce) and Russian (Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Solzhenitsyn) and never really thought much about British lit other than Sharpe or Aubrey-Maturin - but it was my mistake.

A tale of two cities is WONDERFUL in its length and breadth, in its characters and the slow inexorable movement of the unfeeling machineries of government. It's about life, death and rebirth - redemption to a degree too.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-25-17

brilliant story & great narration

great story and powerful reading make this a joy to listen to - highly recommended