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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


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  • Overall

Finally it's Over

So in my review of Blackout I mentioned I might come back to this book someday just to see how it all ends. Even though I was not impressed with Blackout, and pretty much equally unimpressed with All Clear for the same reasons, there is a good story in here. It???s just needlessly too long and drawn out. It???s like the author committed to a 20+ hour novel and had to fill the gaps with meaningless, boring, repetitious dialogue to achieve her goal. I think the narrator was even getting bored. It was a bit confusing at times as well. I had to rewind on many occasions to try and figure out what was going on. If you condense it all down it???s a very good story with interesting characters. The two kids in the story, who were a bit annoying at first, had me laughing out loud at times. I enjoyed the behind the scenes perspective this books gives of the war. The ending was a bit of a disappointment other than in finally ended. I can???t really recommend these two books, and yes unfortunately you need to read them both, unless you have credits to burn, have a lot of time on your hands, or enjoy Chinese water torture.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

A Tale That You Won't Forget

Connie Willis writes books that really get to me. Others have complained about "Black Out" and "All Clear" for being so long and for being repetitive. While there may be something to this, I just can't shake the feel and emotional context of the story. "Passage" was the same way--as was "Doomsday Book." Most books you listen to (or read) put them away and forget about them. Connie Willis's novels haunt you long after you reshelved them.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

All's Well That Ends Well

A beautifully written and narrated book, with so many characters that I won't soon forget. I wasn't there but the descriptions of the events and the people of Britain during WWII made me feel like I was there, or wish I had been. A little time travel, anyone? Some have complained that the two books, Black Out being the other, were over long. I disagree. The time used in the development and growth of the characters and their many parallel stories added so much to the atmosphere of the story and to the gradual rise in tension and wonderful conclusion.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • fred
  • greensboro nc
  • 01-01-11

Well done. Nice follow-up.

Ah yes, back again with those angst-filled historians from the future. I really enjoyed both books. The authors begs, cajoles, emphatically declares that you should listen to the first book first. No, this is not a conspiracy, but rather a well planned out book of historical/science fiction with large, interesting cast of characters. Once again kudos to narrator Katherine Kellgren for bringing everyone alive. Sure, the characters get a little whiny at times but the trauma of war and concern about the future is palpable...listen to both!

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Blackout and All Clear are magical books!

Having read all the customer reviews available so far, it's clear the Blackout/All Clear double book is either loved or hated by its readers / listeners. I'm one of the former - as a long-time fan of Connie Willis' work I've been waiting for All Clear to come out before I listened to Blackout and boy, was it worth the wait!

I can see why some readers found the characters' internal agonising over the impact their actions may have had on the space/time continuum too frequent or too long but, to me, the characters were incredibly three-dimensional and their fates something I really cared about. Yes, there were minor issues in historical accuracy - but the depth of Connie Willis' research into WWII England (and, especially, the Blitz) is incredibly impressive! And yes, there are minor inconsistencies in the books and, occasionally, Katherine Kellgren's somewhat unusual pronounciation of words was, er, surprising - but I was swept away by the story and the story-telling and the reading!

I find myself thinking about the characters and wondering what happened to them - sometimes devising plots to resolve ends which weren't tucked up entirely neatly. I think these are truly wonderful books and recommend them to anyone who likes their SF to have a human face

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Pam
  • El Dorado, AR, United States
  • 11-27-10

Wonderful story!

LOVED this story! Connie Willis makes you fall in love with the characters. Katherine Kellgren is AMAZING as a narrator, flawlessly executing different voices and accents all in the same breath. Blackout and All Clear are a "must listen". Hope to hear more from this narrator.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Absolutely loved it

Connie Willi is one of my favourite authors and I think this would have to be her best work. Her writing is so evocative and her research so thorough, that listening to these two books almost felt like time travel. I waited until both parts were available and listened to them as one big book, which they actually are. So, the biggest problem was finding the time to listen to it because once I had started listening, it was difficult to stop. About half way through, I was feeling slightly annoyed by all the false leads in the plot but I loved the writing so much that it was easy to overlook the winding plot and just enjoy the descriptive writing. The plot was pulled together so beautifully in the end, that I forgave any tendencies to ramble. The narration was very good, although Ms Kellgren did tend to make most of her female "contemp" characters sound like Mrs Slocomb from the British TV show, Are You Being Served.
So, two very minor points in an otherwise fabulous listening experience.

9 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Beg's to be abridged.

This is the first book/books that have ever made me want to stick an icepick in my ear just to make it stop. Especialy the last few chapters I was actually screaming every time there was another plot twist or overblown explanation, I just wanted it to end.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • G
  • Temple, NH, United States
  • 12-08-10

Enjoyable series, not the ending I had hoped for

When I finished Blackout (book one) I had high expectations for this second concluding novel and the many revelations that were owed to us by the author. I admit that I felt let down but not so much that I didn’t enjoy the book and series overall. My single biggest disappointment in book 2 was the concept of the Continuum as portrayed. It was never well explained what it really was (time travel software, a super natural consciousness, the space/time continuum?), and in the end it just felt like a half baked idea that the author used because she couldn’t think of a more creative way to explain all that had gone wrong. That disappointment aside, I was happy to have read both, and I will be reading more of Connie’s books assuming she can bring herself to bring closure to future books in a single novel.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • heather
  • northfield, MN, United States
  • 10-27-10


An excellent end to the story started in Blackout. For all of you who refused to listen to this book because of the misguided marketing, you are truely missing something. The story as a whole ranks on equal footing with Doomsday Book and To Say Nothing of the Dog.

9 of 14 people found this review helpful