In Blackout, award-winning author Connie Willis returned to the time-traveling future of 2060, the setting for several of her most celebrated works, and sent three Oxford historians to World War II England: Michael Davies, intent on observing heroism during the Miracle of Dunkirk; Merope Ward, studying children evacuated from London; and Polly Churchill, posing as a shopgirl in the middle of the Blitz. But when the three become unexpectedly trapped in 1940, they struggle not only to find their way home but to survive as Hitler's bombers attempt to pummel London into submission.
Now the situation has grown even more dire. Small discrepancies in the historical record seem to indicate that one or all of them have somehow affected the past, changing the outcome of the war. The belief that the past can be observed but never altered has always been a core belief of time-travel theory, but suddenly it seems that the theory is horribly, tragically wrong.
Meanwhile, in 2060 Oxford, the historians' supervisor, Mr. Dunworthy, and 17-year-old Colin Templer, who nurses a powerful crush on Polly, are engaged in a frantic and seemingly impossible struggle of their own - to find three missing needles in the haystack of history.
Told with compassion, humor, and an artistry both uplifting and devastating, All Clear is more than just the triumphant culmination of the adventure that began with Blackout. It's Connie Willis' most humane, heartfelt novel yet - a clear-eyed celebration of faith, love, and the quiet, ordinary acts of heroism and sacrifice too often overlooked by history.
BONUS AUDIO: Includes an introduction written and read by author Connie Willis.
Also listen to the first book, Blackout.
©2010 Connie Willis (P)2010 Audible, Inc.
"By the time the three historians and Mr. Dunworthy have unraveled the mystery and arrived at the full-on, three-hanky finale, you’ll no longer be a disinterested observer. Drawn in Willis’s skillful storytelling, you’ll be back in 1941, wondering what’s about to happen next." (The Village Voice)
"Katherine Kellgren's delightful English accent is perfect for the many characters she portrays." (AudioFile)
“As vivid an evocation of England during World War II as anyone has ever written.... You’ll find here a novelist who can plot like Agatha Christie and whose books possess a bounce and stylishness that Preston Sturges might envy.” (The Washington Post)
the narrator was the reason I stuck with this flurry of factoids. I think Connie Willis' research overwhelmed the story telling. Little vignettes are well drawn and provides window in what Londoners were like but too many scattered plot lines and places . long stretches of no "conflict" not any character development for all of Blackout and most of All Clear.
Yes I think she usually delivers a tighter exciting product.
Blackout and All Clear are really one book split into 2 sections. It's a great story of the Battle of Britain, but not the best book to listen to, simply because of its length, and the endless conversations. Despite this, I learned a great deal about a subject that was never covered in school, the characters were very real and Willis is a superb storyteller. The performance was excellent, and I wouldn't hesitate to select another book by the author or reader.
Yes, it was long...I concur with past reviewers. However, what a treat to get into the world of WWII England. The characters keeping secrets from each other was a bit tedious, unbelievable and felt like a device used to further prolong the plot. Carefully, so as not to publish any spoilers, I really liked how the characters' beliefs about what was going on changed. Liked the world view that everyone has an effect, we are all connected in one way or another...the System is expanding for Good...very New Thought.
I really enjoyed most of it. Kate Kellgren does a great job with the accents, especially personifying the kids....what a crack up!
You get to enter in and vicariously experience the "home front". Well done.
Since it is a good time travel plot and I am a big fan of this subject, the book is very interesting.
On the other hand, the plot sometimes get confusing and the ideas not so logical. The worst of this book is the excessive of details in describing the scenes and the simultaneous lack of action.
Moreover, the story could use much more the events from the past to detail the way of life, thinking and culture of the WWII in England.
Finally, in many occasions the characters are overreacting and excessive emotional over nothing. It really bugged me.
The reading had up and down variations that made it difficult to understand. I am an avid audible listener, but this one took all the patient I had.
In my years of audio-book listener, I have rarely seen such a bad narrator. I could only bear to listen such a big story, because the plot was reasonably enjoyable.
First of all, know that all clear is the second book in the series, and you won't get the same effect without reading or listening to Blackout first.
Connie Willis packsin so much detail about life in London during the Blitz, that I could picture being there. It was totally fascinating and engrossing. As usual, the outsider perspective provided by the historians brings the events into even greater focus.
Great job and a book I'll listen to again!
Yes, but only with the caveat that the story can drag as the characters second guess their every action and miss each other as soon as they are out of sight. Against this is a sound story, some really good characters and good atmosphere.
Yes but I would have to allow some time to pass - as I did after reading The Doomsday Book before starting Blackout/All Clear (together really only 1 book). The time allows the endless agonizing and repetition to fade in my memory so that I am left with the basically good story.
I plan to listen to Winston Churchill's 'The Second World War'.
The sequel to "Blackout, "All Clear" cannot be enjoyed without reading "Blackout" first because there is too much that the author assumes the reader already knows. It's really one book in two volumes. "All Clear" features Willis' trademark one-emergency-after-another writing that keeps the pace rapid, but is also rather confusing at times and even exhausting. Those poor characters never get a chance to sit down and take a deep breath! I think it might have been less confusing if read rather than listened to, because I failed to take in some of the dates that head each chapter, which were clues to the story. I figured it all out in the end, but wished I'd paid more attention to the dates. Katherine Kellgren (who does such wonderful narration in the "Bloody Jack" series) does an equally wonderful job here, and her verbal style is perfect for the nonstop one-thing-after-another action.
Historical & SciFi Book Lover, especially Georgette Heyer, Lois McMaster Bujold, Connie Willis (& New Who). Also books for the kids.
WW2 Time Travel epic that started in Blackout (listen to that one first). This is a much faster paced book, but still very suspenseful. The three time travelling university student historians realise that they could be caught in the 1940s for life - and could unknowingly change the outcome of the war. Not only is time travel not romantised, but the blitz and the struggles of everyday folk living in the underground shelters is so well portrayed. It is an incredible achievement to be both history book and sci-fi. The awards this book has won are well deserved. Incredible plot (and working through the time paradoxes, just wonderful) And yes - very well narrated.
I was slightly disappointed with this book and Blackout. The many, many details in both books got in the way of the story and the time travel twist at the end was a bit of a stretch.
These two books, Black Out and All Clear were excellent! You MUST get both books. It is worth every penny. I feel like I know all the characters. I'm really going to miss them all now that I'm done with both books.
Connie is a great author and Katherine is a terrific narrator.
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