RogerBW's Blog

A Trail Through Time, Jodi Taylor 09 February 2021

2014 science fiction, fourth in the Chronicles of St Mary's series. Dr Madeline Maxwell is dead, and that's not even the hardest problem she's got to deal with.

Well, clearly this isn't the place to start the series, because Max's backstory only has any emotional weight if you were there for some of it. The "big" story that carries on between books deals with adjustments on both sides as Max deals with people who look just like the people she knew, but aren't, because they've had slightly different lives. (Time travel…)

‘Do you remember when John Calvin called you the devil's strumpet and tried to have you run out of town?’

‘No,’ I said, regretfully, ‘that didn't happen to me, but Isaac Newton did once try to have me indicted for stealing his mirror. And it was my bloody mirror in the first place.’

The small-scale stuff maintains the episodic nature of previous volumes, though there's a bit more sense of pacing and climax than before. All right, Max does still unquestioningly believe a known enemy who has an obvious motive for lying to her, but I at least started to feel that this might be because she was under a lot of stress at the time rather than because it was what the soap-opera plot needed to happen.

I enjoyed book 1, but 2 and 3 seemed pretty rough; this one's rather better. I even find myself vaguely enthusiastic about reading another one, perhaps sooner than the 18 months since I read book 3.

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Previous in series: A Second Chance | Series: Chronicles of St Mary's | Next in series: No Time Like the Past

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