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'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.
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).
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The best of books, the best of readers
- Mr David Newton
A really enjoyable listen