Wednesday, April 9, 2014

THE CHRONICLES OF ST MARY'S what are you waiting for?!

(The Chronicles of St Mary's #1)
Accent Press
Kindle edition FREE, available now
Night Shade Books
$12.99 trade paper, available now

Rating: 4* of five

The Publisher Says: “History is just one damned thing after another” - Arnold Toynbee

A mapcap new slant on history that seems to be everyone's cup of tea...

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...

A story of history, time travel, love, friendship and tea. Meet the disaster-magnets at the St Mary's Institute of Historical Research as they ricochet around history, observing, documenting, drinking tea and, if possible, not dying. 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. Discover History – The New Sex.

**UPDATE** Night Shade Books is reissuing the series in trade paperback editions! AT LAST!

My Review: With a healthy dollop of the Old Sex tossed (!) in for good measure.


Crack-level addictive. This book was free (still is, last I looked) on Amazon for the Kindle. I've gently recommended (stop laughing) that others would do well to avail themselves of the free goodness. I slurped it up in one long day. Because, well, how does one not fall under the spell of a short, buxom, foul-mouthed redhead whose purpose in life is to cock a snook at Authority and go about the business of making the Cretaceous safe for Dinosaurkind despite the fact that we all know how it ends for them?

While, not incidentally, nourishing a serious and well-requited pash for a dark-haired omnicompetent quiet dynamo of a man, fighting most satisfactorily against the evil-hearted plotting of a seriously tall and elegant femme fatale (in the best and most literal senses of that term) and battling to save THE LIBRARY AT ALEXANDRIA!!!!!!

And so much more!

Does anyone remember the Paratime series by H. Beam Piper? Darn good fun, similar in nature to this series in that the Paratime Police dash about trying to maintain the intended course of History. The difference is that this series assumes there is One History, as opposed to Paratime's many many historys in a multiverse. Both have their strong points, from a narrative structural angle, and their weaknesses.

Knowing how pantiwadulous so very many people become at the merest whiff of a spoiler ::eyeroll::, I will say that Taylor's History has a very...personal...stake in the Universe. Go find out fer yer darnself!

Now. Nothing is flawless. No book is absent goofs, errors, infelicities. This one is no exception. The only one I feel it necessary to mention in this context is that age-old problem of time travel stories, getting it all to hang together. Several characters are set up with a specific backstory that, to the reader, would lead them to know of their own personal knowledge certain other characters. Yet they don't. But they do know other things that fit within the backstory. That's an oops moment.

The others, merest minor gaffe-lets. Punctuation spacing errors, the odd repeated word, blah blah blah. Nothing that merits more than a grunt of annoyance. And each of those is measured against several laughs, a few giggles, a large number of grins, and the odd sniffleback at moments of sentiment. The less disciplined will shed a tear or two, or stand accused of heartlessness.

In short: Excellent fun for the reader in need of fun, thrills, and a larger sense of significance that can easily be ignored if the mood is light. Free. Now, what on earth are you waiting for? Free! Go! GO!

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