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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Living history
This is one of the best books I have ever read. Kivrin, a time-travelling historian, is mistakenly sent back to a Medieval village near Oxford as the Black Death is about to strike, and sees all around her succumb to the Plague. At the same time, in her home time, a flu pandemic is laying waste to Oxford, stopping any attempts to find her and bring her home. Unlikely as...
Published on 24 Mar 2006 by R. Plachcinski

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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Bit of a Chore to Read, but Ultimately Quite Moving
The book was touching but often quite tedious to plod through. I usually enjoy Sci-Fi, factual history and historical fiction. Unfortunately the plot required a considerable suspension of disbelief. For example, though part of the novel is set in 2054 people are hard to get hold of, protagonists have to wait for long-distance telephone calls, characters are out of contact...
Published on 10 Dec 2011 by W Steedman


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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A BRITISH VIEW, 5 Jun 2006
By 
K. Brazier (Canterbury, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Doomsday Book (Paperback)
I picked this book up in the States a few years ago, read it several times, and have now ploughed through nearly as many reviews as pages! From an English point of view, Connie Willis's view of bureaucracy is spot-on, weather perfect (it's always raining here, and the characters' obsession with minutiae of life - Finch and the lavatory paper - well observed. The Americanisms add to the joy of her writing (Colin's muffler - isn't that a scarf?) I lived near Oxford as a girl, and still wonder where the actual village was...

The story is a gem, and has me weeping every time I re-read it. Kivrin is as real as can be imagined, as is Dunworthy, Colin and Fr Roche. Don't be put off by the bad reviews!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best I read, 8 Dec 2004
By A Customer
What can I say, one of the best books I've read.
Characters are real and interesting, Kivrin is simply wonderful. I missed her, having finished the book and that's what counts. If one doesn't miss the main characters, the book hadn't hit the spot. I miss most of them. I was left amazed by the detailed, interesting and flowing description of Medieval England and enjoyed every moment. The Plague seemed real and I got to feel, to a great extent, the demanding reality that was real for people then.
Finishing the book, I felt that I've lost a friend. Kivrin is the sort of girl whom I would have wanted to meet and get to know better, had she been real. I think there isn't a greater complement for a Writer.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended, 4 July 2006
By 
Whether you are into fantasy or historical fiction this book should have something for you, though I feel it belongs more in the latter category than the former if you were to try and categorise it in just one box. I read this, enjoyed it and have recommended it numerous times. Each time the person I recommended it to thanked me as they also thoroughly enjoyed it.

The fantasy/sci-fi plot may be a little contrived in order to get a modern view on a historic tragedy, but the writing is of high quality, moving, and historically informative. It's a moody piece that helps you understand what it must have been like to live during the tragic years when the Black Death was raging through the English countryside wreaking havoc amongst the insular communities.

I'm not sure that the particular storyline about an epidemic in the modern world was totally necessary, as this did prove a little distracting, but I suspect it was meant as a comparison piece to contrast with the events of the past also being played out.

Criticism is a subjective process. I would therefore urge you to give this book a try as I suspect most of you may well enjoy it.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Time-travel is not always what it's cracked up to be!, 13 July 1997
By A Customer
The heroine of Connie Willis's award-winning Doomsday Book is a grad student in history at an English university in the near future. She's gotten approval to go back in time to the 12th century to do on-site research. Armed with her implanted language decoders and her anti-plague shots, she's sent back by an operator who is coming down with a contemporary plague and makes a mistake, putting her smack-dab in the middle of an area soon to be over-run by disease. As she struggles to get back to her own time, her mentor struggles to get her back as well, but bodies are piling up---all over time. A gripping, emotional read that transcends the barriers of genre fiction. Science-fiction is the category that's been assigned to this title, but it is so much more...mystery, romance, historical fiction... A terrific read that will stay with you. You know the cliche, "I couldn't put this book down!" Here, it's true---I hated coming to the end, I loved all the characters so. Jo Manning (drmwk@juno.com)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A masterwork but light on the SF, 26 Jan 2014
This book could be more appropriately categorized as historical fiction rather than sci-fi (for those who like pidgeon-holing), but either way, it certainly deserves to be in a collection of "Masterworks". Willis uses the sci-fi tool of time travel as a vehicle to allow her to transport the reader from now (or her 1992 vision of what "now" would be like in 2054, that is) back to the 14th century. So the book cleverly splices together two parallel tales, with scenes and characters from the 21st and 14th centuries seeming to mirror each other, despite the 700 year gap. As others have pointed out, there are a few unexplainable holes in the 21st century side of the story which make it less credible than it could have been, but this is more than made up for by her superbly researched portrayal of the 14th century. This is obviously the period which Willis is really interested in exploring and portraying in this book, and this seems to be reflected in the quality of the writing: the 14th century part of the novel flows naturally, draws you in, makes you believe you're actually there, and will leave you utterly shocked and emotionally drained (which is just what I want from a book!).

Such a good book that I was almost tempted to go for the full 5 stars, despite some of the 21st century chapters which occasionally dragged on a little and left me feeling almost indifferent to the fate of some of the characters.

By the way, some bright spark decided to publish a major spoiler on the back cover of this SF Masterworks edition, thereby ruining the mid-novel surprise which Connie Willis lines up for the reader. Infuriating! (so buy the book but don't read the blurb on the back)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the descriptions of how tough life was back in the 14th century are beautifully presented, 20 Jan 2014
By 
Ter (Aberdeen) - See all my reviews
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Not quite what I expected, but nevertheless a very good book. I liked the focus on how difficult it would be to communicate in different times. There were a few strange parts to the book, for example I was convinced that umbrellas were going to play a part somewhere as they were continually mentioned. Some of the language was more north American than English e.g. muffler, and eggs and bacon (wrong way round for Brits!).

Written before communication technology grew, so a lot of the problems were based around inadequate phone services - not a problem anymore really. There were some "complaining" characters who were stretched a little. But, despite all of those strange aspects, the overall book was very enjoyable to read. The descriptions of how tough life was back in the 14th century are beautifully presented.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Book of Two Halves, 3 Jan 2014
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I am not normally a fan of Science Fiction but I enjoyed this book and it even drew me back for a second read. Despite this I have only awarded it three stars. This is largely because the two halves are so very different. The fourteenth century sections are compelling and despite a few anachronisms the narrative is fascinating and easy to follow. For the 21st century however it is a different book. It is not in the slightest bit futuristic and is very repetitive and rather dull; so much so that I found myself flipping ahead page after page. Oddly enough this was less of a problem than one might think as it is a long book and there is enough to read without endless stuff about chiming carols and plastic holly. Not quit SF and not quite historical but worth giving it a try.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jan Bird on..., 10 May 2012
By 
JanBird&DebMeades (Stretford, Gtr Manchester, UK) - See all my reviews
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Domesday...one of my all time favourite reads, read two or three times and will read again after a suitable interval and the way my memory's going these days, the intervals are getting shorter and shorter, so maybe there's something to be said for growing old then...not. I utterly love this book, she's a cracking writer. I adore time travel anyways and she makes it so interesting and informative. An entertaining way with history. 10/10
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One you can't put down, 29 April 2012
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I read this book when it first came out, and rated it as one on the most enjoyable reads ever. Yes there are a few of holes in the plot, but this does not detract from the enjoyment. The time travel "net" is a completely unrealistic device, but it is no more than that, a device to allow the characters to interact with the 14th century. I am now reading the book again, and enjoying it every bit as much as I did the first time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent, absorbing and well written, 6 April 2012
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M. Notman "northernfag" (sheffield uk) - See all my reviews
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I loved this book- its showing its age a little (set partly in the future but no mobile phones?- written in 1992!)-but that doesnt take away from the wonderfully atmospheric, gripping and very well written story that much. The characters are well rounded, likable (for the most part), and the historical parts are pretty well researched. Its a shame that theres not a sequel as this would make a great series.
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