Doomsday Book

Doomsday Book

eBook - 1993 | Bantam pbk. ed.
Average Rating:
Rate this:
A time-traveler is stranded in medieval Europe during the Black Death.
Publisher: New York : Bantam Books, 1993, c1992.
Edition: Bantam pbk. ed.
ISBN: 9780307784445
Characteristics: 1 online resource (498 p.)
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Jul 27, 2020

Connie Willis is one of my favorite authors and this book is an incredible look at the devastation of the plague in 14th century England. Willis does time travel like no one else does and I cannot recommend this book highly enough! She puts a very real and very human face on the people facing an unprecedented crisis. For those frustrated by the lack of familiar 'modern' technology in the future portions of the novel, please remember that this was written in 1992! The detail she puts into the Medieval village is incredible and her parallel pandemic set in the future is, like so many other novels dealing with this subject matter, an eerie reminder of the devastation we are facing today. For those who love medieval history, time travel, and a compelling story please dive in to this book!

Hillsboro_JeanineM May 20, 2020

A compelling read about time travel and a viral "plague". One story set in 2054 and the other in 1320 - both in England. Fascinating that there's a passage about civil rights infringement by a group of Americans held in quarantine followed by a character's thought about that entitlement and the 30 million Americans that had died in a previous pandemic. This book was written in 1992 so pre-swine flu and SARS.

Dec 17, 2019

This book is about TIME TRAVEL, but time travel like I’ve never read/seen it portrayed in media before. It just seems so…sensible? Set in a near-future version of Oxford, everything is basically the same except there’s TIME TRAVEL, and a very academic version of time travel, used by historians to visit other time periods. Maybe later books get more into the nitty-gritty, but this one does an exceptional job at giving you just enough information to make sense, but not so much that you’re bogged down by a series of logic problems.

For the first time, the history department is sending someone back to the Middle Ages, which has long been off-limits due its many dangers. You know, like the Plague. Also the fact that people living in England in the 14th century literally spoke an ENTIRELY DIFFERENT LANGUAGE than what we consider “English” today. But Kivrin, a graduate student, is not to be stopped, even by the trepidations of her advisor Professor Dunworthy. Obviously, things…do not go as planned.

Willis is such a meticulous writer and can so sweep you off your feet that every quick turn is accompanied by a “oh OF COURSE!” The dialogue is realistically witty and though the book runs towards the longer side, she brilliantly maintains tension throughout.

LoganLib_Meg Jul 16, 2019

I particularly like time travel which is why i chose this book. The story switched between current day and Kivrin who is trapped in the past and the current time. I was frustrated when it switched to current time as I wanted to know what happened to Kivrin. I would read more in this series.

Feb 09, 2019

It took a bit of forbearance to make it through the initial stage-setting and to overcome my mild dislike for the device of time travel, but once I got further in I was really impressed by Willis' ability to build the world of the middle ages with such detail. She used the time travel device to draw parallels and contrasts between modern day perspectives and a time when religion/superstition occupied the place that science does today. Her insights into human fear and hope and the drive for salvation (whether physical or psychological) gave me confidence in her ability as a story teller and so I stuck with it. I'm really happy I did; I feel I've gained some insight into the lives and perspectives of people from that time as well as our own, and I feel the richer for it.

Oct 06, 2018

I've shied away from Science Fiction as a genre. However Doomsday Book was on a library list and I decided to read it. If all SF books were this engaging I'd be really happy. This book had a wonderful plot, great characters, was well written and researched, other than the length which I thought was needed, it was well worth the time it took me to read at almost 600 pages. I'll be looking at more of Connie Willis' books.

Aug 15, 2018

It is 2054, and the history program at Oxford is sending Kivrin back to the year 1320 to experience two weeks in the Middle Ages. Immediately following the event, however, it's clear something has gone wrong -- they're unable to confirm a successful transmission, and a previously-unknown epidemic suddenly breaks out in the present-day, making it impossible to recall her.

A charming and well-done time travel novel, and one I wish I'd read years ago. It's admittedly a bit unfair to hold it against the author for being unable to foresee the future, but it was amusing to note that the technologies of 2054 did not include even mobile telephones.

Dec 14, 2017

Loved this book. I agree that it could have been shorter and and with fewer characters (I never quite "got" the bell-ringers) who made the plot very busy. But I'm a sucker for both time travel and medieval history and this book delivered on both counts.

Aug 09, 2017

The book tells two stories -- one following the adventures of a time-traveling historian who goes back to the 1300's and one following the university staff who run the equipment used to send her back. I found both stories sort of interesting, maybe a little more so in the future part. However, I cannot recommend this to casual readers. it's way too long, with loads of paragraphs and pages telling us tedious details about the family of the medieval characters, and I especially found the child Agnes trying and a lot of ink is wasted on her "exploits." Plus, the author wasn't very clever in foreseeing the future. Lots of frustrating time is spent in the 2048 part trying to find a video-phone that isn't overloaded or in use. Seems cell 'phones must die out in that world since no one has one. And they still rely on books to research stuff, so the Internet has also disappeared. A disappointing read considering all the praise it's gotten.

Mar 04, 2017

A highly engrossing mixture of historical fiction, science fiction, a bit of romance, even academic politics...! Once time travel has been invented, the best way to study history is to go back and live it, though some places are more difficult to live of course.
Probably the best work by this author, full of wit and questions of faith and human resilience.

View All Comments


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Subject Headings

KCLibrary owns a similar edition of this title.

View originally-listed edition

Report edition-matching error

To Top