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Publisher's Summary

This Audible Exclusive production revisits one of Dickens' popular novels: A Tale of Two Cities. In Dickens' driving narrative we see many themes that permeate life today as well as characters who provide a window into the past. This, coupled with Simon Callow's expert narration, is a treat for those new to Dickens and lifelong fans alike. Featuring an exclusive introduction written by Callow, whose passion for Dickens shines through. 

This release marks the start of the Dickens Collection, an exclusive series of unmissable performances available throughout 2018. 

About the book 

'It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.' 

So begins Charles Dickens' most famous historical drama: a gripping tale of war, social injustice and the choice between darkness and light. After being unjustly imprisoned for 18 years, French doctor Manette is released from the Bastille jail in Paris and embarks upon a journey to London in the hope of finding the daughter he never met. Young Lucie Manette is a pretty and dutiful girl who soon attracts the attention of two very different gentlemen. Now reunited with the father she believed to be dead, happiness appears to be within reach. But as they are all drawn back to the bloodstained streets of Paris, misery and the threat of La Guillotine loom once again. 

In Callow's introduction, we discover how Dickens' own volatile personal circumstances of the time are mirrored in A Tale of Two Cities. He tells of Dickens' personal feuds and explains why this novel sees Dickens at his most theatrical. 

About the author 

With his father incarcerated, Charles Dickens had to abandon his studies at a young age and set to work in a factory so as to support himself. Despite his short-lived education, Dickens went on to write 15 novels, various articles, novellas and short stories. He lectured and led campaigns for children's rights and education and arguably became the ultimate self-made man. Dickens had strong values, and they pervade A Tale of Two Cities, which can be seen as not only an inspirational text but one which will continue to stand the test of time. 

About the narrator 

Simon Callow is a multi-award-winning actor, writer and theatre director. He is best known for his performances in Amadeus, Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls and Four Weddings and a Funeral. Simon has vast stage experience and clearly loves what he does. His fervour began at a young age working as box office staff, and it wasn't long before he made the transition from behind the scenes to centre stage - never looking back. 

Callow is also known for his literary talents and has published various biographies including those of Oscar Wilde, Charles Laughton and Orson Welles. He has narrated over 20 audiobooks and brings his wealth of experience and characteristic charm to this exciting performance.

Public Domain (P)2017 Audible, Ltd

What listeners say about A Tale of Two Cities

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classic Dickins

love the story, so unlike most of Fickins novels. a social commentary with little comedy. fabulously narrated.

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Just,,, Wow !

First off,,, the narrator was excellent. Tone, inflection, and pace,,, I can hardly imagine it to have been better... and as for Dickens classic tale,, since I started on Audio books,, this story, (more then any other), gave me that great joy that comes, only when you stop consciously listening, (or reading) a story,, and become so invested in it, that the world you exist in, is replaced by the vision of the narrative,,
as if you were a disembodied observer of the events,, as they unfolded. Magnificent.

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Excellent narration made this book

I want to read/re-read the classics, but for something set in another time, I think an audiobook really works. Not always grasping what is going on, I can let the narrator’s voice carry me through sections, with the occasional rewind, without getting bored or losing interest. I listened to this in a day. It was great.

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absolutely captivating!

One of the best stories I've ever heard. The narration by Simon callow is one of the best I have ever heard. is way with characters voices differentiating between moods voices etc made this an absolute pleasure to listen to.

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slow buildup but the plot by the end is amazing

while this book is definitely worthy of 5 stars, this audiobook was a bit hard to follow, it was hard keeping track of all the characters, but by the end it all came together epically. it's the kind of book you need to listen to a second time. chapter 1, the introduction, has a spoiler, so better to skip chapter 1 and listen to it at the end. good voices by the narrator (though some strong english accents were a bit hard to understand). it truly is an epic tale based on actual history, it's hard to imagine that accusations and beheadings were occuring in the many dozens every day during the french revolution. definitely worth a listen and a re-listen and again and again.

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Great novel

A magnificent piece of writing enhanced by an excellent narrator. Highly recommended. One of the best audible books that I’ve listened to.

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Breathing

The story of course is wonderful but the narrator has a habit of taking deep breaths that I found very distracting especially while listening with headphones.

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Tale of two cities

Beautifully read!!! I even shed a few tears at the end. It is worth the listen.

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  • Cat Substrate
  • 2020-09-24

The foreword spoils the last line straight away.

The editor arrogantly puts his commentary essay as the first chapter. His essay just barges right into the listeners ears full of spoilers. This forward should be an afterword.

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  • Gillian
  • 2018-02-08

Very Good But Not The Best On Audible--

Just look it up: A Tale of Two Cities has been done in a gazillion different versions on Audible. And while I enjoyed Simon Callow's version very much, I have to say that Simon Vance and John Lee turn in better performances of this superb work. Heck, I even appreciate Simon Prebble's narration far more.
The only thing is, and perhaps I'm the only one here: Callow, who has a background in acting on the stage, is a bit over the top. He brings a grand, grand, GRAND theatricality to this book by Dickens that sometimes gets in the way of a marvelous book of obsession, love, intrigue, and sacrifice. The man obviously loves and respects Dickens and totally brings in his acting chops, and yes, sometimes the work wallows in melodrama, but I was taken out of the story a few times by having to lower my volume because when a character bellows, Callow bellows. When a character shrieks, Callow shrieks. You get the picture.
Still, I appreciate the effort, and I did indeed enjoy my 15 hours with Dickens (and Lucie, and Dr. Manette, and especially the finally eloquent Carton... and oh yes: the shifty, wicked Defarges!).
It's just that Simon Vance is a tad, maybe only a tad, better...

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  • Austin Barker
  • 2020-10-24

Among the best in its class

I have meant to read Tale of Two Cities for some time. I love Dickens' style. It was not for nothing that at the end of the book I put this book in tandem with Victor Hugo's Les Miserables. Dickens' tale thoroughly acquainted me with the barbarous realities of the French Revolution, and provided an eery mirror into the class warfare of 2020 America. The battle between the haves and have-nots, the antipathy toward political opposites, the irrationality of the proletariat, the blood-lust and casual disregard for human life, the distrust for neighbors, and the hypocrisy of exchanging one oppressive tyranny (aristocracy) for another (anarchy) all seem eerily familiar.
This was the right moment (as if there were a wrong) to re-acquaint myself with the perils of social revolution without a moral compass to guide the effort.
Sydney Carton is marvelously admirable. The pacing of the plot is vintage Dickens. You'll need a program to make sense of the cast of characters and to untangle the web of connections. One of my favorite scenes is the stalwart Miss Pross resisting and defeating the despicably evil Madame Defarge. I was cheering Pross on! It was in this section that Dickens illustrates a hallmark of great authors. Woven into the action was this nugget about how "the strength of love is always stronger than hate." I love it when an author drops heavy, compressed doses of truth into the flow of the story! Similarly, I could not help but agree every time Miss Pross showed her contempt for the French language, accurately regarding it as "nonsense."
(this, partly in jest on my part, how much in jest and how much in sincerity I do not myself know).
In summary, this book (which I enjoyed as an audiobook) was worth the wait, and is a worthy candidate for re-reading someday when I'm old, and maybe retired, and have nothing better to do than re-read well-written classic novels of yesteryear.

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  • Daniel E. Lieneck
  • 2018-03-11

Love it

It was great renewing my love for this book. Well narrated and an enjoyable listen.

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  • Anne A Stearns
  • 2020-03-06

Exercising the mind

The tale of two cities kept me entranced as I exercised. It kept me coming to continue the story

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  • Jillian
  • 2021-03-10

Fantastic Narrator

Such a high quality production! This gentleman really feels out emotional timing and carries this book in a superb way. I cried during the ending: he was that great at communicating Dickens’ tone. A must listen!

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  • Ann M Toebbe
  • 2019-05-29

Totally enjoyable

Great story, wonderful performance. The reader’s characterizations are deep and dramatic but even more, his relish of every word, every sentence, every pause brings this great work’s humor, suspense, and moral depth
alive.

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  • Garrett Lamb
  • 2022-05-20

Great Listen

Excellent narration by Simon Callow. I would listen again. The dialogue is so very Dickensian.

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  • Ed
  • 2022-05-13

Callow is spectacular

Dickens’s energy and passion are communicated beautifully by Callow. The various accents, ever consistent, add to the tale. A moving story, so well delivered, is a treasure.

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  • Melissa Jones
  • 2022-05-05

Excellent!!!

Great book (you can't go wrong with the classics), and amazing narrator. His character voices were wonderful, and he had the perfect voice for this story.