Sybil, published in the same year as Friedrich Engels' non-fiction work The Condition of the Working Class in England, brought the inequalities of Victorian society-- the desperate poverty of industrial workers and the excesses of the wealthy-- sharply to the attention of the reading public. The 'two nations' refer to the rich and poor, which are so disparate in their opportunities and living conditions that they seem almost to belong to different countries. The gulf between them is given a poignant focus by the central romantic plot concerning the love of Charles Egremont, a member of the landlord class, for Sybil, the poor daughter of a militant Chartist leader.
Vivian Grey follows its eponymous hero from childhood through his attempt to succeed in the world of politics. The plot is a thinly-disguised re-telling of Disraeli's involvement with John Murray in the publication and failure of a new newspaper, The Representative.
Twins Endymion and Myra Ferrars a experience sudden and drastic fall in status owing to the politics surrounding the Reform Bill of 1832, and are orphaned, though they do not complain. Instead, through self-discipline and patience they achieve a triumphant rise to power-- Myra becomes the queen of a new Latin monarchy, and Endymion, coached throughout by his sister and the determined Lady Montfort, becomes Prime Minister.