I finished Connie Willis’s All Clear today, the sequel to Blackout. I devoured these books back to back over the last two weeks (that’s 1132 pages) and I’m really going to miss the characters. Normally, I don’t enjoy reading historical fiction about war, but there is something about Willis’ writing that I’m willing to make allowances for. Even though there is much detail included about the types of bombs used on London during the blitz, and many military operations in the surrounding areas and across the years, it’s directly related to the everyday activities of the handful of time-travellers who are involved, so it somehow isn’t too tedious.
I also don’t ordinarily enjoy mysteries, but these books definitely keep you guessing until the very end, leaving clues scattered about across time and characters. An ode, it seems, to Agatha Christie, who has a minor appearance in All Clear and is a favorite author of one of the main characters.
If you want to read a story that explores the question of what each individual’s purpose is in life, and how our actions might affect the rest of the world, then I suggest diving into these novels. My recommendation is to read All Clear immediately after Blackout—as Blackout itself is a sort of cliff-hanger—it’s really like one very long novel that she chose to split in two.