RogerBW's Blog

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?, Jodi Taylor 27 July 2022

2015 science fiction, sixth in the Chronicles of St Mary's series (time travel). In an effort to rebuild the History department, Max is put in charge of a new batch of trainees.

It's mostly the recipe as before: episodic incidents with very little thread to connect them, that I think might have worked better as separate novellas rather than being put into a single cover. However, getting back up to speed with Taylor's style is quick, and the events are enjoyable: we get plenty of actual missions into history, and some idea of how these historians work when things aren't being ruined by enemy action.

‘Strange though it may seem to you, Dr Maxwell, I do not believe Mr Hoyle smuggled himself out of America, crawled along the Canadian Corridor, transported himself across the Atlantic, and hitch-hiked his way across this country for the sole purpose of annoying you.'

‘So who has he come to annoy?'

There was a bit of a silence.

‘In an organisation that already contains you, Dr Maxwell, the acquisition of any further irritants would be superfluous.'

At the same time, Max is showing some signs of character development, and given how tempting many authors clearly find it to spin out the same character and essentially the same events for book after book, I have to applaud Taylor for showing some growth and change (and avoiding the other pitfall of a total personality reversal after a single formative incident).

You could start here – the individual episodes are enjoyable in their own right – but why bother? Read in order and get the long-term character growth too.

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Previous in series: No Time Like the Past | Series: Chronicles of St Mary's | Next in series: When a Child is Born/Roman Holiday/Christmas Present/Ships and Stings And Wedding Rings/The Very First Damned Thing/The Great St Mary's Day Out/My Name is Markham/A Perfect Storm

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