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Book Review: A Tale of two cities

Posted by Pascal Landshoeft

Sep 10, 2014 7:30:00 AM

"When dictatorship is a fact, revolution becomes a right."- Victor Hugo 


downloadA tale of two cities is part of a Dickens collection which I acquired at the market in Stratford-upon-Avon in Great Britain while I visited with good friends of mine. A day to remember especially as I had to take the whole collection of roughly twenty books back with me to Ireland. Another example that we live in a global village and how everything is connected. Three Germans get to the birth town of William Shakespeare where a collection of Charles Dickens books from 1875 is bought to be brought to Ireland in 2013. Call me sentimental but I think this shows how amazing the world and life is.

A tale of two cities is one of the most sold fiction books in history and was written by Charles Dickens. It was first published in Dickens own literary magazine "All Year around" in 31 installments in 1859. Dickens himself is one of the most known writers of the Victorian period and his characters like Scrooge from "A Christmas Carol" are still known until today.

A tale of two cities is set during the French Revolution in 1775. The reader follows several British and French protagonists who are revolutionaries, spies, husbands, rapists, simple merchants and children. The main spots of the unfolding story are London and Paris. All of the characters are linked with each other and shine a light on how the aristocracy systematically undermined the working class in France and how the French and British competed in their agendas of Revolution and maintaining the status quo. The American war of Independence lingers as a subplot which is used as a motive for spying and accusations amongst the characters.

Someone who knows and cherishes Dickens for his humor and many characters might be disappointed in this book as it is one of his more serious works with lesser characters. 

I didn't want to give away too much of the plot in this review as the twists and turns are highly interesting. A tale of two cities is crime, spy story, a bit of a historic novel and family tragedy of the Downton Abbey style all rolled into one. I admit that I have to reread it as I read too quick and with not enough attention. A classic which should be given proper attention while read. 

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Topics: Book Reviews