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)
Connie Willis is one of my favorite authors, and I think this is hands-down one of her best books (along with "To Say Nothing of the Dog" and "Lincoln's Dreams"). The performance by Katherine Kellgren more than lives up to Willis's story and writing--it exceeds them both by far. This is not to denigrate the writing or storytelling of Willis, but to praise Kellgren's amazing reading. Kellgren creates a unique voice for each character, ones which matched quite nicely with how I'd imagined the characters would sound and, more importantly, which were easily and readily distinguished and identified. Even more impressive, Kellgren manages probably close to a dozen different accents, from northern Scotland to Yorkshire to typical London to American to Queen's English spoken by a German. She speaks clearly, at a pace slow enough to track, but quick enough to keep one going.
A fan of Connie Willis should pick this up without hesitation (though I will note that it is probably necessary to have read the first book in the series, "Blackout"). Someone new to Willis should read/listen to "Blackout" in order to purchase this audiobook and listen to Kellgren's fantastic rendition.
I've been listening to audio books for well over twenty years (even before audible was available). Secretly, I wish I could be a narrator.
Listen to "Blackout" before you listen to "All Clear". It's the exciting conclusion to "Blackout". The author did extensive research and the book educates you as well as entertains you. I was surprised at how the American author was able to incorporate particular British social norms, idioms, and speach patterns. She must have spent a lot of time in Britain. The plot has a lot of twists and turns and surprises and keeps you guessing until the end. Great book. Well written.
Again, did not read the print version v
The conclusion of the story that began in "Blackout". Reviewers said it "dragged on" but I feel differently. What may have dragged for some people, to me reflected the mixture of anxiety and tedium that must have been felt by Britons sheltering from the bombs in the subway stations. I enjoyed the stories about British citizens, military and civilian alike, who stepped up and put their lives on the line in circumstances that they certainly never asked for nor had control over-- the fire-watchers, ambulance drivers, and Enigma decoders among them-- and how close the outcome of WWII really was. It makes me appreciate all the more what ordinary citizens did, and how one small change here or there could have turned the whole outcome.
Ms. Willis sounded so enthusiastic about her story both here and in "Blackout" it made me enthused about it too. Ms. Kellgren is an excellent narrator, especially the feisty kids Apf and Binnie who make a welcome reappearance.
It made me appreciate the efforts on the "home front" in wartime Britain, everyone from shop girls to Agatha Christie did their part. I hope I could serve as bravely if it came to that. And their "stiff upper lip" attitude in the face of rationing and destruction made me realize how lucky we have it now.
The time travel aspect of it was fun and gave an interesting perspective, but I found it secondary to the story of the everyday heroes of WWII. Although the post travelers trying to get home did provide a key part of the plot.
Connie Willis is my favorite SF author, but I had the feeling she let this story get away from her.
The story she tells about the blitz is great. But the plot seems to ramble. It's just too long for what it is. Doomsday Book and To Say Nothing of The Dog are both better books, IMHO. I think this would have been a better novel if it were combined with Blackout, and cut to half the length.
I would recommend this book, but not if it is your first Connie Willis book.
I really enjoyed both this book and the other book by Connie (the first one of this series - blackout!). The only bit I found a bit annoying was that the characters were rather stupid in working things out and I found it got a bit repetitive at times. I found myself thinking "oh for goodness sake get over it". The twist was a little bit obvious I'm afraid! However, the story was nice and it was fast paced enough to keep my attention.
Made the mistake of purchasing this book at the same time as "Blackout". See my review of "Blackout".
Nothing by this author
The reader did a reasonable job but couldn't make this poor story interesting.
I'd cut 100 pages out of the book and I'd make the characters stop reminding me of their plight every time someone asks them a question.
Connie Willis is probably my favorite modern author. But, I think this was her worst book. (along with blackout) But yes, I would try her books again. She's entertained me quite a bit in her other novels.
Katherine is a good narrator. I think she added to the story. The introduction added nothing, really.
No. I think the subject has been covered
This two book set was far too long. I don't see how the editors let so much filler go. Clearly, its a good book as it won both Hugo and Nebula awards. And there were times when I was on the edge of my seat per se, but all and all, it's not her best effort. And I've read nearly everything she's written
I wrote a lukewarm review of part 1 of the Blackout/All Clear set a couple of weeks ago. I was lukewarm towards "Blackout", and thought that while very well written it was more a 'novel of manners' than a science fiction/fantasy action thriller. Not a bad novel, per se, but much slower than what I was hoping for.
"All Clear" is really just more of the same but is a little less bearable than "Blackout" since you've already been introduced to many of the situations and characters. Much of the second half of the novel feels like a reiteration of the first and I often found myself getting frustrated with the characters and author because of the slow pacing. After the first third of "All Clear", I really stopped caring about the plot or story and just wanted it to be over.
Don't bother reading this one even for completion's sake if you found "Blackout" to be relatively tedious. Skip it and use your favorite search engine to see how it all ended.
On the other hand, if you enjoyed "Blackout", then by all means go for "All Clear".
removal of most repitition
only by this author
reading of book was excellent
with thoughts removed, text would be siginficantly shorter. Perhaps then it would make a good movie
Connie Willis is great and Blackout/All Clear may be her best. The historical detail is what makes this pair of books so wonderful. Time travelling is dealt with in an imaginative way and the characters are quite likable. Willis' literary allusions are charming, not irritating, and have induced me to follow up on the references and quotations. Sometimes her comedy of errors style can drag a bit, but the real test was that I have listened to Blackout/All Clear more than once so they must be pretty good.
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