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Publisher's Summary

One of the most respected and awarded of all contemporary science-fiction writers, Connie Willis repeatedly amazes her many admiring fans with her ability to create vivid characters in unusual situations. With Doomsday Book, she takes listeners on a thrilling trip through time to discover the things that make us most human.For Oxford student Kivrin, traveling back to the 14th century is more than the culmination of her studies - it's the chance for a wonderful adventure. For Dunworthy, her mentor, it is cause for intense worry about the thousands of things that could go wrong. When an accident leaves Kivrin trapped in one of the deadliest eras in human history, the two find themselves in equally gripping - and oddly connected - struggles to survive. Deftly juggling stories from the 14th and 21st centuries, Willis provides thrilling action - as well as an insightful examination of the things that connect human beings to each other.
©1992 Connie Willis; (P)2000 Recorded Books
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Critic Reviews



Hugo Award, Best Novel, 1993
Nebula Award, Best Novel, 1992
"Ms. Willis displays impressive control of her material; virtually every detail introduced in the early chapters is made to pay off as the separate threads of the story are brought together." (The New York Times Book Review)
"A stunning novel that encompasses both suffering and hope....The best work yet from one of science fiction's best writers." (The Denver Post)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By mudcelt on 11-02-09

Timely, beautiful, terrible and haunting

Now more than ever, I am recommending that everyone I know listen to this book. It is an amazing, satisfying, beautiful and terrible story mostly about a time traveler who is trapped in a small medieval village that is stricken by the plague. Meanwhile, current day Oxfordshire is also suffering from an especially virulent flu and attendant quarantine. The book was written in 1992 and much of the action takes place in a squalid, medieval village and yet it is all terribly timely. The characters and setting are beautifully written and this is one of the most moving books I've ever had the pleasure of reading or listening to.
Three more selling points for this great book: 1) I love a good, long book from Audible and "Doomsday" is a wonderful 26 hours and 30 minuets of listening to one of my favorite narrators, Jenny Sterlin. 2) "Doomsday won a Hugo Award in 93 and Nebula Award in 92 and 3) Connie Willis has written another book with some of the same characters that is much lighter in tone yet still very worth reading and a good way to recover from the terrible, searing beauty of "The Doomsday Book". That other book is also available on Audible :"To Say Nothing of the Dog"
Listen to "Doomsday" first, save "To Say Nothing of the Dog" to cheer you up and you can then finish off with Jerome K Jerome's sweetly funny "Three Men in a Boat". There- I've just come up with a great plan for your next 50 or hours of Audible listening. You can thank me later. After you've thoroughly enjoyed all of these amazing books.

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175 of 189 people found this review helpful


By Wyonia on 10-17-08

WELL DONE...but a real bummer

I listened to this on vacation and the beach, and it promised to be pure, guilty-pleasure ear candy. I was not disappointed by the writing, the concept, or the reading (the narrator is fanTAStic).

However, I would put a warning label on this that the whole second half of the book is (vague spoiler alert) sort of a sinkhole of depressing events. I wouldn't recommend this to anyone looking for a "pick-me-up" or a happily-ever-after type story.

I guess a book about the plague wouldn't be a typical candidate for that anyway, but for history buffs like me, taking a time machine back to the Middle Ages sounds like such a "fun" idea...and this just isn't a "fun" story.

Still, DEFINITELY worth a read...when you're in the right mood for a downer.

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85 of 93 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By lesley on 03-18-10

enthralling tale of time travel

do not be put off by the old fashioned start to this book as it improves as it goes on and the plot unfolds. I will be searching out another book by this author. Agreat listen

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful


By N. Price on 11-22-11

Disappointing comedy of manners

This listener found Jenny Sterlin's voice flat and uninteresting, which was a drawback for such a long book. There's also a passage of a few paragraphs which gets repeated in the first section of the download, an indication of a lower standard of audio production than most recent Audible recordings.

As for the story itself, I was very disappointed. The pace is extremely leisurely and while the depiction of the pettiness of academic life is mildly amusing, the story failed to grip. Every time I was getting into it, I found myself shaken out by jarring inaccuracies of language or geographical detail. Clearly, these haven't bothered other listeners, but this one found that they severely impeded his ability to suspend disbelief.

A British character who refers to cars as "automobiles"? Cases that are called "valises"? A hospital accident and emergency department called "Casualties" rather than "Casualty"? A pub in the centre of Oxford which is nearly empty a few days before Christmas?

The geography is particularly bad. The heroine, who has travelled back to the fourteenth century to a location 10 miles west of Oxford, imagines that she might be able to see the sky glow of London "50 miles away". From that location, mediaeval London would be 70 miles away. I can't imagine much of a sky glow at that period but, besides, the Chiltern Hills would have blocked any such view even had it been available.

In her cover story, she is supposedly travelling from Yorkshire to Evesham via Oxford, which is a strange and indirect route to take, and is travelling on the road from Oxford to Bath, which runs in entirely the wrong direction.

Such details are individually trivial but cumulatively produce an impression of an author who really doesn't know Oxford and has a poor grasp of British idiom.

I was hoping for history and adventure, but while these are present, they are mostly subordinated to a mild and uninvolving comedy of manners. Disappointing.

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8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Emily on 03-15-17

A pretty good historical story...

Would you listen to another book narrated by Jenny Sterlin?

Probably not. I wasn't that keen on her narrating style. While she did a good job with various voices and character, at times I just felt a bit... bored or sleepy by her style. She picked up toward the end but it was slow going at the start.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Not really. Once the character went into the past it got more interesting but I nearly gave up on it at first.

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