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
"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)
I read this book many years ago, loved it and have never forgotten it. I still do love it. The narrator is superb, the story hauntingly magnificent. This is a poignant story; at times happy, at times sad and distressing as a tale of living in the time of the Black Death should be. Some editing issues is why overall I gave it 4 stars but, I still highly recommend it!
Fabulous, sad and ultimately hopeful story. Beautifully narrated--I've looked forward to listening each evening. Highly recommended to anyone who enjoys a great story, well-told.
Loved this. Well drawn characters in a suspenseful story including parallels between past and future. Time travel makes it sci-fi but like the best of every genre it's about human nature.
Loved it, the characters came to life easily and I felt like Kivrin caring for the contemps. British English took getting used to, but Colin helped a great deal. The first few chapters were slow, but picked up soon and I couldn't put it down.
Jenny Sterlin was a terrible narrator. She could not do male character voices- she just lowered her volume & slowed her speech whenever she had to read a male characters dialogue. Pretty awful.
I write medieval fiction myself and I appreciate the author's accuracy and attention to detail. When that isn't there I scream. But this book reminds of my editor's words...just because a character endures tedium, it doesn't follow that your reader has to. Cut 50 pages... I get the feeling this editor was getting paid by the page.
This was a very good book to listen to. I read some of the reviews that hinted at the story's end so listened with a sense of what was going to happen. It might have added to the experience, but I wish I would have listened blind. It was still worth it.
If you like slow thrillers with twists and character novels you'll like this. It's long but fulfilling.
This would be a horrible movie. It would make a great television series though.
I am not sure what to say about this book. I found it frustratingly slow-moving, but I kept listening to the end because I wanted to find out what happened to the characters that Willis made very real and endearing. As an audiobook, it is very long and somewhat over-written and the glacial speed of the narration made the slowness of the action even more frustrating until I set it to play at x1.25 speed, which improved things immensely. I wouldn't have minded it even a bit faster, but x1.5, which was the next option that my phone offered, was too fast - I had to concentrate too hard to follow at that speed.
As many other reviewers have commented, the technological aspects of the story are dated. What Willis describes is Oxford of the 1990s with higher tech medicine and the ability to travel through time, but no mobile phones and no personal computers. It is stunning that she has written about voice recorders that can be miniaturised to the point where they can be implanted in someone's wrist to look like a bone spur, and language translators that can be implanted to make speech understandable both ways, not to mention pocket-sized video players and a portable locator that functions like a GPS, but still have the phone system tied to land-lines.
Someone else commented that Sterlin does awful American accents and they're right, she does, but since I am not American, it didn't worry me particularly. Other than that, and the speed, which I fixed, I enjoyed her narration.
I am a fast reader and I think that I would have enjoyed reading this book a great deal - as I said, I found the story engaging and if I had been able to move faster through the text, I wouldn't have found some of the descriptive passages so frustrating. I found Willis' reflections on the possibilities and perils of time travel interesting and it certainly motivated me to do lots of exercise - because I listen to audiobooks whilst exercising and I wanted to find out what was going to happen next. I would like to be able to give 3.5 stars, I think.
The overall story and plot are very good.
The ending was well done.
Not really, she did a fine job reading, giving each character a voice, but I found her to be intolerably slow. I set the playback to x2, which is something I never do, this made it acceptable.
This book as a good book, but it didn't really resonate with me.
The story and plot are great, the characters are really well rounded and I really enjoyed the direction the book took. The ending was very good and Connie is clearly a good story teller, she did a great job giving you just enough information so that you are not lost while holding back enough to make you want to find out more. The descriptions of the middle ages were fun and seemed well researched.
My biggest complaint about the book is the main character, he was just so wishy washy that I had a hard time wanting to stay with him. He constantly talks about his regrets and his angst, for that reason I found the book to be a bit of a slog and hard to want to go back to.
The reason I picked up this book is that a good friend of mine said the second book in the series was her favorite.
I'm still not decided on what to do.
Thank goodness this is so well read, or I think I would have been at my wits end.The author writes completely accurately from the point of view of observed behavior – people don't listen, they repeat themselves – oh how they repeat themselves. They miss obvious correlations. They act,in other words , like normal human beings, but not like characters in normal books.
But while the characters are driving you completely crazy with their inability to move along, the story is rattling along. So true to life, funny, exasperating, and I think also true to the times it describes in the Middle Ages.
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