Summary

From the author described by The Times as 'the most remarkable historian of our time', this is a stunningly high-concept historical novel, perfect for fans of Conn Iggulden, SJ Parris and Kate Mosse.
December 1348: With the country in the grip of the Black Death, brothers John and William fear that they will shortly die and go to hell. But as the end draws near, they are given an unexpected choice: either to go home and spend their last six days in their familiar world or to search for salvation across the forthcoming centuries - living each one of their remaining days 99 years after the last.
John and William choose the future and find themselves in 1447, ignorant of almost everything going on around them. The year 1546 brings no more comfort, and 1645 challenges them still further. It is not just that technology is changing: things they have taken for granted all their lives prove to be short-lived.
As they find themselves in stranger and stranger times, the listener travels with them, seeing the world through their eyes as it shifts through disease, progress, enlightenment and war. But their time is running out - can they do something to redeem themselves before the six days are up?
©2017 Ian Mortimer (P)2017 Simon & Schuster UK
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Kirstine on 13-10-17

Imaginative, thought-provoking historical fiction

I’ve listened to three of the author’s entertaining historical time travellers’ guides and enjoyed his way of illuminating the past by describing the experiences of ordinary people.

The present book is a mix of highly imaginative fantasy mixed with historical fact. Instead of passively describing what life was like in each century from the 15th to 20th, and how it changed, he has two brothers born in the 15th century travel through time and materialize in a different century on 6 consecutive days. Each time jumping forward by 99 years.

Told in the first person by John, history comes vividly to life. it transforms dry facts into a fascinating chronology of the changes in government, religious beliefs, laws and punishments, the evolution of technology, what people, ate drank and the clothes they wore; and not least, the impact of disease and war.

The brother’s confusion at the new ways and words they encounter in future centuries highlights the changes and at times adds humour to their hardships. The first person narrative makes for a pacy and gripping book that I greatly enjoyed. The events and way of life they experience in the 19th and 20th centuries are more familiar and their re-telling not so engaging, but the final message of what it means to be human is powerful and thought-provoking. I was left with the feeling that the trappings of life change with progress but human feelings and failings remain much the same.

Underlying this lively story is a morality tale reminiscent of Marlowe’s Dr Faustus and its medieval inspiration, the play Everyman. As if to underline this at one point John is given the surname, Everyman.

A splendid book narrated with verve.

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54 of 59 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By R on 22-10-17

Clever

This is my favourite author and historian. I love it when he writes history for us mere mortals and brings it to life
This book is a very clever insight into history of the plague with a very different way of taking the reader on a journey through time
Easy to listen to while still making the reader wonder what will come next
If you like history this is for you

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21 of 23 people found this review helpful

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