“History is just one damned thing after another” – Arnold Toynbee
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 eleventh-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 …
This book is a great read, and for me it became a real page turner. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started it but after following the protagonist and her colleagues through training and early jumps, I found I was really enjoying the read. Taylor is clearly a talented writer and was able to keep me interested all the way through, which is why I’ve given a 5* rating. The concept of historians using time travel to investigate the past in real time was definitely a new idea. It was something I could relate to as I hold an MA in history and would love to go back to many events of the past to see what it looked like. I was definitely jealous of Taylor’s choice of location for the ‘Big One’. It was beautifully developed and described, and I felt like I was there. This theme followed through in the subsequent plot twists. There are some good characters but all the major development is focused on Maxwell. I would recommend this as a good adventurous read that is a bit different and has great pace. It doesn’t even matter if you’re not into history because the jokes are still funny and the story still exciting. Unfortunately I had a couple of gripes, not enough to lose a star but they did irk me. Firstly, the title of the book is awful, I thought it was going to be about ‘The Damned’, i.e. the undead, it’s definitely not about that and that was very confusing.Secondly, Taylor says that Maxwell is a historian, but speaking from experience, that team sound MUCH more like archaeologists, so by the end of the book I was thinking about them as archaeologists and it worked much better for me. Trust me, there is a difference…Lastly, I felt Maxwell as a character just needed a little more smoothing out, she’s been through some serious trauma but still comes out with some major sarcasm and confidence. Perhaps in the next book the cracks will start to show. I’ll definitely be interested in seeing what happens next at St Mary’s, I’ve got an idea of what is shaping up for their future but I’m sure Taylor’s story will be exciting and fun and I can’t wait to find out.