I first started reading Hambly by reading her fantasy. Though, this book was not one of the ones I first read. As I got older, I think in many ways, her historical fiction is a bit better. Just a bit. Not that the fantasy is bad or anything.
The Time of the Dark does combine both history and fantasy. Two people from our world cross the void into a fantasy world that is losing to the very, very bad things. One of those people, Gil, is getting her PhD in history and so we get the history prof's reaction to seeing, well, basically history. Gil's experience is interesting because she at first seems special, but then not, and becomes something other than what you will think.
The other person, Rudy, is more traditional, and at times a bit annoying for he keeps referring to Gil as cold, but I'm not entirely sure why, outside of the fact that she isn't his type.
While there are pretty of women supporting characters, the women do not really talk to each other. Which was strange.
The parts with the dark are really well done.