Many of the characters are well-known: Valjean, the criminal trying to escape his reputation; Javert, the police agent trailing him; the unfortunate Fantine and her daughter, Cosette; the rascally Thenardier; and, above all the splendid street urchin, Gavroche. Among the unforgettable descriptions are those of the Paris sewers, the battle of Waterloo and the fighting at the barricades during the July Revolution. There are few more complete, or more vivid, pictures of France at the beginning of the nineteenth century. "Les Miserables" is at once a thrilling narrative and a social document embracing a wider field than any other novel of its time.
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