After writing Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickelby, the author next turned to historical fiction, using the notorious Gordon Riots of 1780, a clash between Catholics and Protestants, as the backdrop for this novel. It's a dark story but one that yields rich prose and a murder mystery. Narrator Sean Barrett has the kind of elastic, wide-ranging voice that is well suited to Dickens's writing style. Barrett can affect a sprightly youngster, a wise but weathered old man, a scheming politician, and an assortment of women, all of whom play major roles in this classic tale. It's a joy to listen to him alternate between characters and his own deep, robust voice, an accomplishment he keeps up for 25 hours.