Jessi's Reviews > Doomsday Book

Doomsday Book by Connie Willis
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Jul 12, 10

really liked it
bookshelves: audiobook, historical-fiction, science-fiction
Read on July 11, 2010

Summary: Kivrin, a young historian, journeys to the 14th century to study the dangerous century first hand. Due to a series of pitfalls in her own time, 2048, she is soon stuck. The novel simultaneously follows Kivrin's studies and her growing attachment to the family who takes her in and the parallel story of her tutor, Mr. Dunworth, as 21st century Oxford experiences an epidemic and he struggles to find a way to bring Kivrin safely home.

First Line: Mr. Dunworth opened the door to the laboratory and his spectacles promptly steamed up.

This book moves at a rather slow pace, but the narrator of the audiobook reads it so amazingly well - with perfect tempo, sarcastic humor, and deep emotion, that I was interested and engaged through all 22 discs. It fascinated me to read a story in which time-travel isn't a matter of magic, but rather of science. In 2048, historians routinely travel to various centuries to study the "contemps." Previously, the 14th century was classified as too dangerous for study, but Kivrin and the pompous head of the Medieval department cut a few corners to send her on her way. A series of mistakes and the interference of fate cause Kivrin to become stuck in the past while her tutor, Mr. Dunworthy, who had vehemently protested her going to 1320, frantically attempts to pull her out again. Mr. Dunworthy's cynicism and sarcasm had me chuckling through the whole book. His dedication to Kivrin and her faith in him was touching. Willis took the time, research, and effort to create two intricate and accurate worlds, with well-rounded and believable characters. This book is definitly worth the time and effort to read or listen to.
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