When Charles Dickens's A Tale of Two Cities ends, the dying hero Sydney Carton foresees that the woman he loves will someday have a son and name it after him. Evrémonde brings that child to life, and follows the course of young Sydney as he strives to live up to his exalted name. It chronicles the harrowing escape of his parents, Charles and Lucie Darnay, from revolutionary France and their family's ongoing struggle to recover from the tragic loss of their friend Mr. Carton.
Relocated to Austria, and soon enduring French occupation and the ravages of the Napoleonic wars, the family is consumed by the urgency to conceal their fugitive status and aristocratic identity. Differences arise between husband and wife, parents and children, on how best to do so. Their conflict permits the new Préfet of Police in Vienna-a troubled figure with a particular interest in their youngest daughter-to capitalize on the various weaknesses of each family member, as they succumb to their unique fears and neuroses about the past. Ultimately he is successful in rooting out the family's origin, and proves to be everything Charles Darnay has long feared his escape would come to bear.