The Doomsday Book, Paperback
3.5 out of 5 (1 rating)


For Kivrin Engle, 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. Winner of the Hugo Award 1993 Winner of the Nebula Award 1993 "A tour de force" - New York Times Book Review "Ambitious, finely detailed and compulsivly readable" - Locus "It is a book that feels fundamentally true; it is a book to live in" - Washington Post


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Orion Publishing Co
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Science fiction
  • ISBN: 9780575131095



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Very enjoyable cross between science fiction, historical drama, and university politics. Kirvin is a bright student at Oxford, desperate to be sent back to medieval times to do investigative research. The two unfolding stories, of Kirvin's experience in the 14th century and of the near-future attempts to rescue her despite quarentines, politics and bell ringers, are both engaging and interesting.It was a Big Fat Sci Fi book, and there were definitely times I thought the story could move faster. Also, the modern world is beautifully, if bitchilly drawn - the accompanying cast of self obssed bell ringers, ambitious academics, and womanising students are all excellent caracatures - but the historical world sometimes feels cliched and shallow in comparason. I kept expecting some character development in the past - how would Rosemund escape her marriage, what would happen between the lady and her lover - but actually their role in the story is just to exist, be cute-and-slightly-annoying (at least in the case of Agnus) and then die. Which is very convenient - it leaves Kirvin free to go home with no strings tying her to the past - but terribly bleak. Oh well, it's a book about the plague, I can't complain they all die of the plague.

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