fter 17 years of unjust and secret imprisonment in France, Dr. Alexandre Manette is released from the infamous Bastille and given over to the care of his former servant, Ernest Defarge, and his wife, Madame Defarge. The Defarges send for Manette's daughter, Lucie, to retrieve him. No one knows why the doctor was imprisoned many years ago; Manette has lost his memory and can offer no explanation. Meanwhile, the Defarges don't hesitate in showing Manette to others as an inspiration for the revolution they hope to incite. In Paris, Manette and Lucie are united and she promises to help him build a new life in England.
On their voyage home, Lucie and Dr. Manette are befriended by a young Frenchman, Charles Darnay. Darnay, the nephew of the despised Marquis St. Evremonde, has renounced his inheritance and is attempting to distance himself from the Marquis. Another passenger on the ship is John Barsad, a spy in the service of the Marquis. To ensure his nephew will never return to France, the Marquis gives Barsad false documents to plant in Darnay's belongings, incriminating Darnay as a spy against England. Upon their arrival in England, Darnay is arrested and brought to trial.