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Publisher's Summary

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.

Critic Reviews

  • Nebula Award, Best Novel, 2010
  • Hugo Award, Best Novel, 2011
  • Best SF and Fantasy Books of 2010: Readers' Choice (SF Site)

"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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    1,242
  • 4 Stars
    744
  • 3 Stars
    339
  • 2 Stars
    118
  • 1 Stars
    62

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5.0
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    1,254
  • 4 Stars
    446
  • 3 Stars
    125
  • 2 Stars
    37
  • 1 Stars
    25

Story

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    1,003
  • 4 Stars
    485
  • 3 Stars
    274
  • 2 Stars
    93
  • 1 Stars
    51
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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Great second book

This is the conclusion to Blackout. Be sure to read Blackout first. Both are great stories intertwining WWII with a time travel twist.

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Didn't read the first but enjoyed the sequel

If you could sum up All Clear in three words, what would they be?

Detailed report (of a) chaotic (time)

Have you listened to any of Katherine Kellgren and Connie Willis (introduction) ’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

NA

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

At 25+ hours, no! But I did enjoy listening to several hours many consecutive evenings

Any additional comments?

So I didn't listen to the first of this series, but got the second at a good price so that's why. It did take me a while to figure out enough to enjoy the story fully....about 6 hours.<br/><br/>I will say that the focus of this book was the chaotic scene of the Blitz .....there is much description of the rapid unfolding of events and resulting confusion. There was a little too much repetition of this kind thing: "Polly saw a man from the behind and thought it was so-and-so ....oh dear! If it is him then ....such-and-such-a-consequence ....then the man turned around and it wasn't him after all."<br/><br/>There is no fowl language, sex or interpersonal violence ....which was refreshing....I very much enjoyed it for these reasons alone!<br/><br/>Gave me a new understanding of a time I haven't studied much and I was inspired to look up and study more of what was touched on in the story line.<br/><br/>Has a redemptive ending!<br/><br/>

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  • Performance
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Im sorry about the voice

Would you try another book from Connie Willis and/or Katherine Kellgren and Connie Willis (introduction) ?

The narration voice is horrible. I get stressed and pain in my ears from the tone and the tempo of words stacked up on each other in this sort of emphasis.

Would you ever listen to anything by Connie Willis again?

Certainly not if it's being brought by this voice.

What didn’t you like about Katherine Kellgren and Connie Willis (introduction) ’s performance?

Voice

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

The story was possibly interesting, but the voice made it impossible.

Any additional comments?

Yes, the voice.

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Time Travel in the "Blitz" redux

Second of two books about ordinary people who endured the "Blitz" in London during WWII. The characters more fully developed and we began to love Alf and Binnie, the two child hellions orphaned. Chronology skipped around, so I had to pay attention to when we were. Listening to another 24 hour book was somewhat tedious and I thought the two books could have been shortened. The ending made the listener feel good with mysteries solved and time travelers all in their places.

  • Overall
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  • Story

Great Fun With A New Twist

If you could sum up All Clear in three words, what would they be?

Watch out Doctor whoever you are!

What did you like best about this story?

This is a fun romp in the past that pulls you very much into the moment.

Which character – as performed by Katherine Kellgren and Connie Willis (introduction) – was your favorite?

It is hard to pick one character but without giving it away I'd say the girl with no name is the closest to my heart.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Who would have thought World War Two could have been so difficult?

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  • Performance
  • Story

Really?!?

Would you try another book from Connie Willis and/or Katherine Kellgren and Connie Willis (introduction) ?

No seriously?!? She wrote this and was allowed to write more. Generous.

What do you think your next listen will be?

Something else.

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

Not bad

What character would you cut from All Clear?

All the living ones

Any additional comments?

No

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

One of the Best Performances I've ever Heard

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.

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  • Bryan
  • San Diego, CA, United States
  • 04-16-14

Great conclusion to "Blackout"

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.

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  • Jessica
  • middlebury, VT, United States
  • 01-03-14

Must read if you enjoyed Blackout!

Would you consider the audio edition of All Clear to be better than the print version?

Again, did not read the print version v

What did you like best about this story?

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.

What about Katherine Kellgren and Connie Willis (introduction) ’s performance did you like?

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.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

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.

Any additional comments?

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.

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Not her best work

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.