by Connie Willis
Reviewed by Linda:
I picked up this beloved sci fi classic because I thought 2020 might provide a unique opportunity for comprehending the experience of the Black Death that spread across Europe, Asia, and North Africa in the fourteenth century. The book begins some decades from now at Oxford University, where a team of experts on time travel is preparing to send a history graduate student to the Middle Ages for the first time. Kivrin has been given all the appropriate inoculations, a painstakingly prepared costume, intensive instruction in the ways of daily life, and numerous questions to research. But an error with the drop means she is sent to the wrong decade and is about to experience the chaos of the plague (yes, she does tell all whom she encounters to wear masks!). Meanwhile, back in the future, Kivrin’s professor and an eccentric group of supporters must struggle to get around the academic bureaucracy to find her and bring her back to safety. The pages fly by!