Behind the seemingly innocuous facade of St. Mary’s Institute of Historical Research, a different kind of academic work is taking place. Just don’t call it “time travel”—these historians “investigate major historical events in contemporary time.” And they aren’t your harmless eccentrics either; a more accurate description, as they ricochet around history, might be unintentional disaster-magnets.
The Chronicles of St. Mary’s tells the chaotic adventures of Madeleine Maxwell and her compatriots—Director Bairstow, Leon “Chief” Farrell, Mr. Markham, and many more—as they travel through time, saving St. Mary’s (too often by the very seat of their pants) and thwarting time-travelling terrorists, all the while leaving plenty of time for tea.
In the sequel to Just One Damned Thing After Another, Max and company visit Victorian London in search of Jack the Ripper, witness the murder of Archbishop Thomas Becket in Canterbury Cathedral, and discover that dodos make a grockling noise when eating cucumber sandwiches. But they must also confront an enemy intent on destroying St. Mary’s—an enemy willing, if necessary, to destroy history itself to do it.
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One of the best things about our job is that if you live long enough, you get to choose your last jump.
One of the worst things about our job is that, so far, no one has lived long enough to get to choose their last jump.
The last jump is supposed to be a quiet reward – the chance to enjoy a favourite moment in history – to visit Agincourt perhaps, or see Antony and Cleopatra floating down the Nile, or to hear Elizabeth I addressing the troops at Tilbury. To witness some epoch-making event of your choice. To fulfil a lifelong ambition.
In short, it’s supposed to be enjoyable.
It is not supposed to be a whirling nightmare of blood and pain and terror.
It is not supposed to be about savage butchery, mutilation, beheading, and having half your face ripped off.
It is not supposed to be about dying in a blood-drenched pod, trapped with a monster and no way out.
It is not supposed to be about the paralysing horror of seeing your best friend ripped open to the bone and having to put her out of her pain.
It is not supposed to be about being abandoned and never seeing the sun again.
It’s not supposed to be about any of that.