Part of my 2nds challenge. I’ve only read the Doomsday book from Willis before.

What a great book! It combines comedy, time travel, Victorian times, theories about history, detective novels, romance, and lots more.

Ned Henry is an Oxford historian who has done too many time jumps between 1940s and the current day searching for a bishop’s bird stump from the ruins of Coventry Cathedral. Because of the too many jumps, he’s suffering from a severe time lag which causes among other things “tendency to maudlin sentimentality, like an Irishman in his cups or a Victorian poet cold-sober”, dizziness, difficulty in distinguishing sounds, and blurry vision. The cure is two weeks of bed rest. Unfortunately, it does not look likely that Ned will get that. Lady Shrapnell has taken over the history department and the time travel project. She intends to rebuild the ruined Coventry Cathedral and had commandeered every available person. Ned doesn’t think that he’ll be allowed to take any sick leave.

However, after Ned waxes poetical about a dog, “it’s no wonder you are called man’s best friend, faithful and loyal, and true. You share in our sorrows” etc. he’s yanked back to his own time and promptly assigned bed rest. Prudently, Ned seeks out professor Dunworthy who might know a place where Ned could rest. However, at the professor’s office Ned overhears that one of the historians has brought back something from the past which should be impossible according to the laws of time travel. Dunworthy decides to send Ned back to the Victorian era to recover. He also wants Ned to do something else but unfortunately Ned is so time lagged that he can’t understand that part. So, Ned ends up back in time with a mission he barely remembers.

The book refers often another book called “Three men in a boat” which I’ve never even heard of but which is apparently a real book. I don’t really know much about Victorian times but I still felt that this was a very funny book. I enjoyed especially the two dueling history professors who had different theories about how history is formed: just natural forces working blindly or people affecting events. We did see only professor Peddick who rants about historical people and events, and uses Latin quotes. His adversary professor Overforce is only talked about but never seen. I’m a dog person so I enjoyed the large part that dogs had in the book.

The book does have multiple courtship romances but surprisingly enough I didn’t mind. The rest of the story is just that entertaining.

I listened this as an audiobook and I think that the reader, Steven Crossley, was excellent. The audible download was in three 7 hour parts.

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