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A Tale of Two Cities (1859), Dickens' greatest historical novel, traces the private lives of a group of people caught up in the cataclysm of the French Revolution and the Terror. Dickens based his historical detail on Carlyle's great work - The French Revolution. `The best story I have written' was Dickens' own verdict on A Tale of Two Cities, and the reader is unlikely to disagree with this judgement of a story which combines historical fact with the author's unsurpassed genius for poignant tales of human suffering, self-sacrifice, and redemption.