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The Outcasts of Time

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  3,273 ratings  ·  443 reviews
December 1348. What if you had just six days to save your soul?

With the country in the grip of the Black Death, brothers John and William fear that they will shortly die and suffer in the afterlife. But as the end draws near, they are given an unexpected choice: either to go home and spend their last six days in their familiar world, or to search for salvation across the f
Hardcover, 383 pages
Published January 2nd 2018 by Pegasus Books (first published June 15th 2017)
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Cheryl There is no romance in this book. One character does talk about his wife as a loving husband.
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Average rating 3.69  · 
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Nov 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs-read
Upon completion, my first thought was, thank goddess for Kindle highlighting!

Not because the concepts were difficult to understand but because they were so meaningful. Ian Mortimer, as many know, is a wonderful historian, and he doesn't disappoint with this work.

The Outcasts of Time is indeed a work of fiction but is replete with very specific historical details. These lush historical elements run throughout every avenue of this story.

Even though this story includes a time travel element, it i
Andrew Smith
If you were told you had but six days left to live and that you could spend them with your family or you could ‘see what no living man has seen’, what would you choose? Such a choice was presented to John of Wrayment, in plague ridden 14th Century England, and he chose the latter.

So starts this entertaining romp set in and around the city of Exeter, Devon. The kicker to the choice he makes (courtesy of an encounter with a disembodied voice) is that each of his six days will be spaced 99 years af
Scarlett Readz and Runz....Through Novel Time & Distance
Two brothers end up being “The Outcasts of Time”. Why? Well, they were given a choice. Either stay in the year of 1348, the time of the terrible Black Death (plague) in Europe, or live 6 individual days in a consecutive 99 year interval into the future. So 1447, 1546, 1645…and so on.

With the plague around and the loss of all their family and friends, they have witnessed unbelievable wretches. As it was during those days, they believe they are destined for Hell until they hear this voice that of
Lucy Banks
Mar 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

In-depth race through history, under the guise of a novel.

Once again, this was one of those books that I started, with no idea what to expect (it's much more fun that way, isn't it?). At the start, my head was fully blown. However, there were points in the middle when I was left scratching my head a little. Allow me to explain...

The book follows two brothers at the time of the plague (I think it's 1300s?), travelling
Mel (Epic Reading)
DNF @ 40%

Let me start by saying I love historical books. Especially ones that teach me about things I may not have known or help to bring to light nuances that I had perhaps not thought of before. However, writers absolutely must bring me into the time period in a way that is interesting and intriguing. Telling me about tin mining, church/state representation, clothing and the food is just dull.

The Outcasts of Time starts during the time of the Black Plague with two travelling brothers. Th
Pamela  (Here to Read Books and Chew Gum)
On the surface, Ian Mortimer’s The Outcasts of Time has everything an historical novel should have.  It was full of sumptuous description, historical accuracy, and a well-developed protagonist used to illustrate his own zeitgeist.  It is a shame then that no strength of writing could make up for the one thing that The Outcasts of Time was really lacking.  A plot.

Within the first few pages, I was already worried that Ian Mortimer would go the way of so many historians turned novelists, and my wor
K.J. Charles
A sort of time travellers guide to history, as two brothers make a pact with the Devil to live out their last days at 99 year intervals, which in the narrator's case brings him from the Black Death to the Second World War. The opening sequence in the Black Death years is by far the strongest section: horribly vivid, visceral and powerful. Unfortunately, as we move further away, the book depends more and more on people explaining who the king is now, plus in every day we meet a bunch of new peopl ...more
It is several weeks since I finished this book and I’m still trying to decide what to make of it. I found it by turns puzzling, frustrating, impressive, thought-provoking, didactic and moving. Positioned as historical fiction, at times it seemed more like social history, political treatise, fantasy or philosophical debate. John’s and William’s journey is really a device to take the reader on a journey through time, charting changes in clothing, food, technology, architecture and religious debate ...more
I took a few days to think about my reaction to this, as I didn't want to say anything without consideration. But my gut reaction still stands: the structure here is repetitive and boring, and as a time travel piece, it's dull and theologically didactic. Once the narrative gets away from Mortimer's wheelhouse, even the detail and the events get rather sketchy and vague. But this is, to me, typical of writers pretending they're not working in a genre: they don't know the history of the tropes and ...more
Nov 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This novel is beautiful in its prose, fascinating in its historical detail, and emotive in its themes on humanity and the passing of time. I was first drawn in by the promise that renowned historian Ian Mortimer would be taking readers on an adventure through time. Finding that this book does that while also making thought provoking statements on the human condition, I was helpless to put it down once I started it.

The story of John of Wrayment and his brother begins in 1348 during a devastating
All but a tiny portion of The Outcasts of Time was as wonderful as I imaged and hoped it would be.

I came to this book as a fan of historian Ian Mortimer's playful brand of everyday people's history, having read and loved The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England and The Time Traveller's Guide to Elizabethan England, so I was prepared to be entertained. What I wasn't prepared for was the gentle way that Mortimer used his fiction (was this really his first?) to challenge my perceptions our o
Dec 15, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Oh I so wanted to like this book - I love the Time Traveller's Guides but sadly the fictional offering is much weaker. There is no plot to speak of just a 7 day 700 year wander through time. Secondly and probably there is far too much moralising and a surprisingly romantic view of the how much better life /people were in the past - it felt almost UKIP'y; an Anti-Whig view of history! And religion...don't start me on the treatment of religion...
On the upside there are interesting facts that make
Too many rapes.

Rapes are just... not the only way to have women in your story, bro.

I kind of hate myself for keeping on reading but I liked the idea, the general plot. Now I want to read the book with that same premise but by a woman. Or at least by someone who knows how to write women as people, rather than plot devices (that get raped).
3.5 stars - It was really good.

The man who has no knowledge of the past has no wisdom.

Such a fascinating synopsis and start to the book - A 14th century man contracts the plague and is visited by a supernatural being that explains his soul is currently destined to go to Hell. He has 7 days left to live; he can choose to live them out in his current time with his family, or spend each remaining day in a new century (plague-less), always 99 years in the future of his “yesterday” with the chance
Mar 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received a free E-Arc from Netgalley.

Ian Mortimer is a fantastic historian - looking at the past with new eyes and in so doing shedding light on events that are often, erroneously, presented as a fait accompli. For this reason, I was very excited to be given the opportunity to read and review his first work of fiction.

The Outcasts of Time is a deeply intriguing novel, looking not at the past through our perception, but rather the future (which is now our past) through the eyes of a man who liv
Apr 23, 2019 marked it as abandoned  ·  review of another edition
Abandoned at 34%

I will not be rating this book because I did not finish it. However, I want to say a few things about it based on what I did read. The positives first. It is rich in historical detail (which is probably not surprising considering the author is a historian) and is has a fascinating premise involving time travel across six centuries. On paper it has all the ingredients to be an amazing, thought-provoking read and I honestly thought that was what I was going to get, particularly aft
Mar 04, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a decent book, but not really for me. Two brothers just infected with the plague in 1348 get the chance to live out their last six days each 99 years further into the future, all while seeking redemption. They do explore a little, and learn a bit about each new era they are in, but I wanted more out of that aspect of the book and less of the redemption story.
Sep 09, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really like social history and I enjoyed that aspect of this book, I felt however that the whole thing was just a vehicle for the author to show off his knowledge, as there was very little plot to speak of.
I must try Ian Mortimer's non-fiction as I think I would like that more.
Mar 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ian Mortimer is a social historian and the author of the popular Time Traveller's Guide books that provide light hearted introductions to a range of historical periods. The Outcasts Of Time is his first essay into the world of fiction.

The book begins in 1384 with the protagonist, John, and his brother, William, wandering through a countryside devastated by the Black Death which they both contract before too long. However, through some unexplained supernatural agency, John gets to live each of t
Ten stars and multiple tears. This is a book that takes time. I read it in the span of a month to let it seep through my mind. There's no plot per se beyond the premise in the blurb and the writing style is quite slow at times (it gets much better in the latter half). But this novel made me question my life, my way of understanding people and time, plus the very essence of what it means to be human. There are some books you just need to read in a certain moment of your life and this was one of t ...more
Sep 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The journey taken by the reader throughout this book is extraordinary. One of those rare feats in the meshing of genres of fiction, Mortimer successfully combines time travel, historical fiction, road trip, and adventure with the examination of humankind, morality, religion, acceptance, and philanthropy.

The main character, John of Wrayment (whose name occasionally gets butchered by time), and his brother William are the titular outcasts of time—our time travelers. They immediately feel true and
Ophelia Sings
Mar 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This reader is accustomed to travelling through time with the wonderful Ian Mortimer. His acclaimed Time Traveller's Guides provide vivid windows on the past which are at once entertaining, sobering and endlessly informative. But Mortimer, it seems, is not content with transporting us to one era at a time; in The Outcasts of Time, the reader is taken on a whistle-stop through six centuries of tumultuous history. It's an ambitious undertaking, but a wholly successful - and powerfully moving - one ...more
Apr 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Outcasts of Time is about two brothers living in the 1300s. On their way home from a war, they are afflicted with the deadly black plague and have a supernatural experience where they are given the choice of how they want to spend their last few days on earth – return home to die with their families, thereby infecting their loved ones and sacrificing their lives too, or live one day at a time for the next several centuries, doing good in the world but giving up the chance to see their relati ...more
This book was a bit puzzling and strange, but I liked it. I actually had a hard time putting the book down. However, there is no strong basis for my liking the book, as I felt the plot was weak and the main characters philosophical thoughts took over and became excessive times. The character was likeable and I enjoyed the time travel aspect, even though it was rushed. I am left bemused on why I liked the book.
Bewitching, thought-provoking and increasingly powerful. A fantastic premise. 4.5 stars.

Mar 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In this fantastic novel, historian Ian Mortimer expands on his Time Traveller's Guide series by offering us a fictional guide to centuries of change. It begins in 1348, at the height of the Black Death, as brothers John and William find themselves in dire straits in their home county of Devon. John is married with children, and wants to return home to find out if his family are okay, as all around the brothers people are dying from the plague. The brothers are veterans of the siege of Calais, an ...more
"We are living on a frozen tears of our ancestors."
Well, this quote summes up a good chunk of the book for ya.

Trigger warning! for: abuse, multiple sexual assaults, violence.
Also, if a religious talk tires you up, be prepared. Cause Johnny-boy can deliver that to a great extent.

I feel things.
And I don't know what to do with that at the moment...

Knowing at least a little about Mortimer's previous books, this work of historical fiction comes as no surprise. I haven't read any of his Time Trave
This is an entertaining read, a mix of historical fact & fiction with the added surprise of some time-travelling thrown in.

Brothers John & William are living in the plague ridden fourteenth century. Given the choice of spending their last days with their family - & maybe carrying the plague to them - or searching for salvation in the future, they choose the latter. Each morning they awake another 99 years has passed & I liked this different take on time -travel.

The different times visited are b
Gina Boyd
It’s hard for me to be hard on a book, because writing books is HARD. I listened to the audio book and thought the reading, narration, voices, direction, were all well done. The book itself, though, felt like—and I’m using this term in the way people who aren’t dorks like me use it—school. I found myself not lost in a story but plodding through details.

I’m glad to have read it, because I learned things and did end up caring about John, but I kept wondering how much better and different the book
lucky little cat
Jun 26, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: History nerds, cathedral gawkers, and other such innocents
Recommended to lucky little cat by: Esquire Top 10 Fiction Books in 2018, drat them
Sedate time travel novel that spotlights various nuggets of English history.
and your father smelt of elderberries
The French Taunter mulls it over.
Two Everyman brothers flee the plague-ridden Middle Ages, but take a sizable load of guilt and responsibility along with them.

The rest of the novel is an episodic trek through the ages, cleverly anchored with precise details from each century. For example, the brothers are astonished to find that a century after their own, their home village prospers enough for everyone to
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AKA James Forrester.

Dr Ian Mortimer is a historian and novelist, best known for his Time Traveller's Guides series. He has BA, MA, PhD and DLitt degrees from the University of Exeter and UCL. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, and was awarded the Alexander Prize by the Royal Historical Society in 2004. Home for him and his family is the small

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