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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 212

Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis, follows Kirvin, who is a student at Oxford University in the year 2048. She is sent back in time to 1348, even though they had meant to send her 30 years earlier. This puts her right in the middle of the Black Death years in England, a time of dangerous disease.

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When you write your summary or other work for your assignment, you can talk about how Kirvin witnesses the deaths of many people in the village she ends up in during this plague that destroys half of Europe. There are many events to write about, including how Kirvin is present during the last words of a dying priest.

Eventually, the people of Oxford launch a rescue mission to find Kirvin since they realize she’s in the wrong year, despite pressure during their time to close down the time travel program altogether.

In the end, Kirvin has been personally inoculated against the Black Death, so she is the only survivor of the entire village that takes her in. She has to watch everyone else perish. Despite the horrors that she witnesses, Kirvin ends up being positive about the error in the time travel mechanism because she gets to be a living witness to the lives of those who died.

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Critical Essays