Series: Oxford Time Travel. I read Book One (Doomsday Book) in 2010.
What I remembered about this series prior to reading this book: A friend recommended Doomsday Book to me because of the Middle Ages setting and the references to bubonic plague (infectious diseases are my jam). What I chiefly remember about it now was that I couldn’t get into the story because I kept waiting for the buboes to show up (plague doesn’t come into the story until well over halfway through, as I recall).
Why I stopped reading the series: Not enough buboes, duh (and also I didn’t even realize it was a series until I started this project of going back and picking up series I hadn’t finished).
The plot: Ned Henry, a time traveler in the mid-21st century, has been working in the 1940s doing recon work for Lady Schrapnell, who’s rebuilding the Coventry Cathedral, which was destroyed during World War II. His job specifically is to find the bishop’s bird stump, some sort of hideous Victorian vase that was in the cathedral when it was bombed, and which Lady Schrapnell insists needs to be accurately remade in order for the reconstruction of the cathedral to go well. Ned develops an advanced case of “time-lag” (like jetlag but way more serious) and is sent to 1888 in order to rest–and also return a certain object that another time traveler brought back from 1888 and which must be returned in order to avoid the collapse of the space-time continuum. Once he arrives in 1888 and meets an eccentric assortment of characters, hijinks ensue.
The good: I loved this book! It made me laugh out loud numerous times. Ned is like a time traveling Bertie Wooster, in that he’s surrounded by people making outrageous and ridiculous demands of him, and he is a bit bumbling (less so than Bertie, though). There’s really no connection to Doomsday Book other than a character or two who appear in both, so it didn’t matter that I don’t really remember the plot of that book at all. I really enjoyed reading this book.
The bad: Not much. The time travel mumbo-jumbo got very confusing at times.
Did To Say Nothing of the Dog change my opinion of the series?: Unfortunately the Oxford Time Travel series continues to have a serious lack of buboes. Luckily, this book was good enough that it didn’t need them.
Will I keep reading the series?: Maybe. . . there’s only one more book but it seems like maybe it’s more along the lines of Doomsday Book than this one (so, not really funny). I’ll probably skip it, but I think I’ll definitely reread To Say Nothing of the Dog someday.