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Set in London and Paris at the time of the French Revolution, A Tale of Two Cities (1859) sees the causes and effects of that great social upheaval from an essentially private point of view. Dickens's characters are fictional, their responses individual, their political activity minimal, but all are caught up in a web woven by their own activities and responsibilities, and all are drawn to the Paris of the Terror. A Tale of Two Cities is Dickens's second historical vel, which he considered 'the best story I have written'; it has his tightest and most shapely plot, and shows great narrative daring and experiment. This edition includes extensive tes on the background to the Revolution. Two appendices give variant readings and historical and fictional chrologies for the vel.