Doomsday Book

Connie Willis
Star Rating
Reviewer's Rating
Jan 24, 2018

While the Doomsday Book is categorized as science fiction, it could easily be classified as historical fiction. Set in the near future, a time when pandemics have recently ravaged the world, Oxford instructors prepare to send a young historian, Kivrin, to fourteenth century England.

One of Kivrin’s instructors, Dunworthy, is convinced this mission is a mistake and tries his best to stop it. Kivrin is convinced she is thoroughly prepared to spend two weeks in a superstitious, unhygienic, fear and disease-ridden age.

Alternating between the twenty-first and fourteenth centuries, Willis explores such timeless themes as good and evil, family dynamics, and response to crises. The crisis of a rapidly spreading sickness pervades both time periods, further linking them as all race to understand and stop the illnesses.

As her instructors try to save her, Kivrin tries to save the people who took her in. All are racing against the clock.

Willis has done an amazing job of bringing the fourteenth century to life, from the language, to the dress, to the customs. I would recommend this book for anyone who enjoyed Michael Crichton's book Timeline.

Reviewed by Diane H.
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