“History is just one damned thing after another.”
Behind the seemingly innocuous façade of St Mary’s, a different kind of historical research is taking place. They don’t do ‘time-travel’ – they ‘investigate major historical events in contemporary time’. Maintaining the appearance of harmless eccentrics is not always within their power – especially given their propensity for causing loud explosions when things get too quiet.
Meet the disaster-magnets of St Mary’s Institute of Historical Research as they ricochet around History. Their aim is to observe and document – to try and find the answers to many of History’s unanswered questions…and not to die in the process. But one wrong move and History will fight back – to the death. And, as they soon discover – it’s not just History they’re fighting.
Follow the catastrophe curve from 11th-century London to World War I, and from the Cretaceous Period to the destruction of the Great Library at Alexandria. For wherever Historians go, chaos is sure to follow in their wake….
Is it too late to change my major? Go back, chuck English, and go with History instead?
Ok, no, I probably wouldn’t actually do it. But I do love books that bring me right close to that edge, and this one gets gosh-darn close in making me love history as much as literature.
The humor in this book had me doing more than the snort-giggles-puffing-out-air thing most people usually do when they get to a funny bit. I actually laughed out loud when reading this book. Courtesy of the wonderfully created characters working at St. Mary’s.
More than just their dry British humor–which should be reason enough for you to pick up this book–the cast feels real on a more complex level. Especially our brash heroine, Max. There’s a history there, complete with trauma, that motivates her actions. In fact, all the characters have deeply personal motivations that drive them. We see villains acting out of pettiness, friends turning jaded, rivalry department bravado, the long suffering voices of reason trying to wrangle their more rambunctious coworkers…you know, just like your typical work environment.
Another thing I loved about this time-hopping narrative was that they actually hopped through time. So many stories around time-travel center on a specific date and time. Not so much here. The characters talk about visiting dinosaurs in the same breadth as they discuss going to see the Library of Alexandria–the reader actually gets a jaunt through history, sight-seeing in a manner that most narratives don’t.
But the quality doesn’t lack for it. If anything, the expert writing and fast-paced narrative structure make it all the more engaging. There’s this undercurrent of “too many places, too little time,” which I think compliments one of the problems St. Mary’s faces: with the whole of history open before you, how do you pick where to go first?
I loved this book. And was so glad it was recommended to me. If you’re looking for an entertaining, hysterical, bad-ass story to lose yourself in for an afternoon, I recommend this one. One-hundred percent. 5 out of 5 stars!