A Tale of Two Cities- Book 1, 2, & 3 (Illustrated) is a novel by Charles Dickens, set in London and Paris before and during the French Revolution.
The novel depicts the plight of the French peasantry demoralized by the French aristocracy in the years leading up to the revolution, the corresponding brutality demonstrated by the revolutionaries toward the former aristocrats in the early years of the revolution, and many unflattering social parallels with life in London during the same period. It follows the lives of several characters through these events. The 45-chapter novel was published in 31 weekly installments in Dickens's new literary periodical titled All the Year Round. From April 1859 to November 1859, Dickens also republished the chapters as eight monthly sections in green covers. All but three of Dickens's previous novels had appeared only as monthly installments. The first weekly installment of A Tale of Two Cities ran in the first issue of All the Year Round on 30 April 1859. The last ran thirty weeks later, on 26 November.
Book the First: Recalled to Life
Dickens's famous opening sentence introduces the universal nature of the book and the drama depicted within:
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way - in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.
Book the Second: The Golden Thread
Five years later, two British spies, John Barsad (later determined to be Solomon Pross) and Roger Cly, are trying to frame French émigré Charles Darnay for their own gain; and Darnay is on trial for treason at the Old Bailey. They claim, falsely, that Darnay gave information about British troops in North America to the French. Darnay is acquitted, however, when Barsad, who claims he would be able to recognize Darnay anywhere, is unable to tell Darnay apart from a barrister present in court, Sydney Carton, who looks almost identical to him.
Book the Third: The Track of a Storm
Darnay, being called by a former servant who has been unjustly imprisoned, decides to come back to France to free him. But shortly after his arrival, he is denounced for being an emigrated aristocrat from France and imprisoned in La Force Prison in Paris. Dr. Manette and Lucie—along with Miss Pross, Jerry Cruncher, and "Little Lucie", the daughter of Charles and Lucie Darnay—come to Paris and meet Mr. Lorry to try to free Darnay. A year and three months pass, and Darnay is finally tried.