9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Doomsday Book (School & Library Binding)
Kivrin, a time travelling scholar, has got permission to visit Oxford in the fourteenth century. She's been inoculated against diseases including the plague just in case, but she is so keen to go she doesn't tell anyone that she had a bad reaction to the plague shot so it may not have conferred immunity. She's accidentally sent to a village just as the first people fleeing the town reach it and one of them is sick... the plague starts to spread.
We've met and got to like several local townspeople by now, through Kivrin's language memory tapes which imperfectly translate for her. What can she do to help?
Back in her own time there is a spreading flu which prevents anyone getting Kivrin back and winter makes travel difficult both in advanced Britain and in 1320. The Oxford bellringers turn out regardless and bells are a constant theme throughout the book.
There are funny moments with pompous officious people being mocked in both eras and there are sad moments aplenty. There is plenty of squalor and hardship in 1320 and Kivrin can't believe how the poor people live, in wattle huts that barely keep wind off and don't keep heat in.
Read this, a wonderful achievement.
Then to cheer yourself up read To Say Nothing of The Dog, a lighter romp through Victorian England by more time travellers, which is equally good.
Both have won SF awards.