The Doomsday Book
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The Doomsday Book

4.02 (37,113 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

Five years in the writing by one of science fiction's most honored authors, Doomsday Book is a storytelling triumph. Connie Willis draws upon her understanding of the universalities of human nature to explore the ageless issues of evil, suffering and the indomitable will of the human spirit. For Kivrin, preparing an on-site study of one of the deadliest eras in humanity's history was as simple as receiving inoculations against the diseases of the fourteenth century and inventing an alibi for a woman traveling alone. For her instructors in the twenty-first century, it meant painstaking calculations and careful monitoring of the rendezvous location where Kivrin would be received. But a crisis strangely linking past and future strands Kivrin in a bygone age as her fellows try desperately to rescue her. In a time of superstition and fear, Kivrin--barely of age herself--finds she has become an unlikely angel of hope during one of history's darkest hours. Praise for Doomsday Book "A stunning novel that encompasses both suffering and hope. . . . The best work yet from one of science fiction's best writers."--The Denver Post

"Splendid work--brutal, gripping and genuinely harrowing, the product of diligent research, fine writing and well-honed instincts, that should appeal far beyond the normal science-fiction constituency."--Kirkus Reviews (starred review) "The world of 1348 burns in the mind's eye, and every character alive that year is a fully recognized being. . . . It becomes possible to feel . . . that Connie Willis did, in fact, over the five years Doomsday Book took her to write, open a window to another world, and that she saw something there."--The Washington Post Book World
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Product details

  • Paperback | 578 pages
  • 108 x 171 x 32mm | 280g
  • Bantam USA
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0553562738
  • 9780553562736
  • 10,793

Flap copy

For Kivrin, preparing an on-site study of one of the deadliest eras in humanity's history was as simple as receiving inoculations against the diseases of the fourteenth century and inventing an alibi for a woman traveling alone. For her instructors in the twenty-first century, it meant painstaking calculations and careful monitoring of the rendezvous location where Kivrin would be received.
But a crisis strangely linking past and future strands Kivrin in a bygone age as her fellows try desperately to rescue her. In a time of superstition and fear, Kivrin -- barely of age herself -- finds she has become an unlikely angel of hope during one of history's darkest hours.
Five years in the writing by one of science fiction's most honored authors, Doomsday Book is a storytelling triumph. Connie Willis draws upon her understanding of the universalities of human nature to explore the ageless issues of evil, suffering and the indomitable will of the human spirit.
show more

Review quote

"A stunning novel that encompasses both suffering and hope. . . . The best work yet from one of science fiction's best writers."--The Denver Post

"Splendid work--brutal, gripping and genuinely harrowing, the product of diligent research, fine writing and well-honed instincts, that should appeal far beyond the normal science-fiction constituency."--Kirkus Reviews (starred review) "The world of 1348 burns in the mind's eye, and every character alive that year is a fully recognized being. . . . It becomes possible to feel . . . that Connie Willis did, in fact, over the five years Doomsday Book took her to write, open a window to another world, and that she saw something there."--The Washington Post Book World
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About Connie Willis

Connie Willis has won six Nebula Awards (more than any other science fiction writer), six Hugo Awards, and for her first novel, Lincoln's Dreams, John W. Campbell Memorial Award. Her novel Doomsday Book won both the Nebula and Hugo Awards, and her first short-story collection, Fire Watch, was a New York Times Notable Book. Her other works include To Say Nothing of the Dog, Bellwether, Impossible Things, Remake, Uncharted Territory and Miracle and Other Christmas Stories. Ms. Willis lives in Greeley, Colorado, with her family and is hard at work on her next novel, Passage.
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Rating details

37,113 ratings
4.02 out of 5 stars
5 39% (14,338)
4 36% (13,296)
3 18% (6,598)
2 5% (1,984)
1 2% (897)

Our customer reviews

What a GREAT book I loved it. Funny considering the gruesomeness of some of it!! Such a clever plot though. It is set in 2 different time periods 2054 and the1300s, Kivrin a feisty history student is keen to go back to the 1300s to study more closely the period and as time travel has been discovered this can be done but not without a lot of research. Something goes dreadfully wrong and Kivrin is stranded in the middle ages, sick herself and bang smack in the middle of the Black Death! The storytelling is gripping and it was hard to put the book down, I had to find out what was going to happen! It was packed full of history and if you are interested in the middle ages you will love it. A very well earned 5 stars from me.show more
by Penny Cunningham
A captivating historical/sci-fi novel, the best part of which was the medieval setting. It's about a time traveller Kivrin who gets stuck in medieval England and is not able to get back to her time, while the Plague slowly approaches the village she is staying; while another deadly plague strikes in the future where she's come from, and the people who sent her have many obstacles to to deal with before they can go to her rescue. I'm not an expert on medieval England, so to at least to me the descriptions seemed quite believable, and the medieval characters were quite engaging, though the overall plot did take time to develop to something really interesting. I particularly liked the part towards the end of the novel, when the Plague finally strikes Kivrin's village. The future setting wasn't particularly interesting and had little developed characters. It serves more as a contrast to the mediaval England and also for heightening the overall suspense. Besides, the plausibility of the plot suffered due to the novel having been written in the eighties. There was not much of future technology described, but the lack of mobile phones especially jarred. Half of the problems in the novel could've been solved if the characters used any kind of a mobile communication device. All in all, this is a novel that is best to be approached with your heart and emotions, and not your mind. I'd recommend it for historical fiction and soft sci-fi fans. If you'll like this book, there's also a second novel, set in the same (future) universe and concerning time travel - 'To Say Nothing of the Dog' by Connie Willis.show more
by Dovile
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