March Book Review

Doomsday Book 

Sorry for the delays in posting. February was busy and the book was long!

The Doomsday Book was a great read. It had many elements that I like; adventure, science fiction, history, and strong characters, including strong female characters. 

Set in both 2048 and 1384 (around the time of the black death). A history student at Oxford, Kivrin, prepares to got on a study trip, as many of her fellow students have done and continue to do, as part of learning. 

She gets all the necessary inoculations, clothing and together with her professor she prepares a detailed history for herself, along with a new name so she can blend in. She’s all set to go to 1320’s England and observe how people lived in that time by living among them. Yes, they do have some sort of ‘prime directive’ equivalent they are to observe so as not to alter history in any way. 

Unfortunately, a miscalculation sends her to 1384 right as the beginning of the plague. She arrives at the start of a cold winter, with shortages, and rats in the grain storage. Her professor back in Oxford is unaware of the error for quite some time, but when Kivrin doesn’t return when she’s supposed to, he begins to worry.

In the meantime, in 2048, an archeological dig just outside the city has unearthed victims of the black death who it seems are still contagious. As a mutated version of the plague rages through Oxford, effectively closing it off to the rest of the world, a race begins to figure out where Kivrin is in time and how to bring her back. 

The science seems sound, and the excitement builds throughout the 592 pages, but what really stays with you after reading the book is depth of human behavior and emotion described in a very accessible way. Ms. Willis has an innate understanding of human motivations and psychology. It’s makes her characters seem so very real. 

I won’t tell you the ending, suffice it to say, you’ll stay up late reading just to find out.