This was the first of Dickens' works that I've read (December 2008). Up until now I've held a caricature of the Dickens' novel in my mind from the books I've seen on film. I have to admit, I didn't find the dark, drab tale of poverty and aristocratic oppression that I've seen in other films (e.g. Nicholas Nickleby, A Christmas Carol, etc). The story takes place in the "Two Cities" of London and Revolutionary Paris, and follows a mixed French/English family seeking to escape the oppression of the French Revolution. I was surprised to be taught so much about the excesses of the more extreme of the Revolutionary parties, the Jacobins (portrayed by Mr. and Madame DeFarge). Dickens clearly intended to communicate the cruel character of those that overthrew the French monarchy and aristocracy in the name of "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, or Death". The plot of the tragic hero of the novel, Sydney Carton represents a type of the sacrificing hero, finding its archetype in Christ, and much imitated elsewhere in literature. This is what I most appreciated about the novel; Dickens is earnest to embody his disapproval of the Leninist idea that the best government is that ruled by a group of idealists with unlimited authority to preserve their ideals by censoring or exterminating evidence of contrary thinking. In addition, he was a very biblically literate man (certainly by today's standards), and the metaphor that Sydney Carton provides of the afflicted figure moved by his unselfish love to lay his life down for a friend resonates with the Holy Spirit's presence in me, who loves find well-told stories that communicate glimpses of the character and role of Christ; a theme that has been implanted in us by virtue of our creation in the image of God Himself.