Customer Review

Reviewed in the United States on October 5, 2019
This book has a pretty good idea as its basis—the use of time travel to accomplish in-depth study of history. It’s awards must be based on this principal concept. Three stars. But the author mucks it up with little in the way of convincing descriptions of the science of time travel, a translator of 14th Century dialects of Middle English that the characters employ almost automatically. The author pays more attention to language and authenticating dress to avoid paradoxes. One star. The contrivances and boring detail of academic infighting are silly except when they are dull. I skimmed a lot of that. If the author had eliminated much of the ponderous and contrived Oxford bureaucratic idiocy, concentrated on the 21st Century epidemiological onslaughts and the human error and efforts to correct it, this book would have been much better. The 21st Century characters are simply, in a word, annoying. Zero stars. Even Montoya, a dedicated archaeologist, and her dig is slapdash. The protagonist, medieval characters and the 14th Century social history detail were much better executed. First, Kivrin is a likeable and well-realized protagonist, as is Roche; but secondary characters are less interesting...a panoply of hackneyed movie characters, including a pouty pre-teen and a loveable brat. Kivrin gets Four Stars. Second, the descriptions of 14th Century life were fairly consistent with scholarly reconstruction of the times, the advent of the plague and the little ice age. As a stand-alone historical novel it has some interest and frankly saves the book. Keep in mind, however, there are dozens of much better historical fiction works out there. So, for me, The Doomsday Book barely gets Three Stars.
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546 customer ratings