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A Second Chance: The Chronicles of St. Mary's Book Three Paperback – September 13, 2016
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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 A Second Chance, it seems nothing can go right for Max and her fellow historians. The team confronts a mirror-stealing Isaac Newton and later witnesses how the ancient and bizarre cheese-rolling ceremony in Gloucester can result in CBC: Concussion By Cheese.
Finally, Max makes her long-awaited jump to Bronze Age Troy, only for it to end in personal catastrophe. And just when it seems things couldn’t get any worse, it’s back to the Cretaceous Period to confront an old enemy who has nothing to lose.
Skyhorse Publishing, under our Night Shade and Talos imprints, is proud to publish a broad range of titles for readers interested in science fiction (space opera, time travel, hard SF, alien invasion, near-future dystopia), fantasy (grimdark, sword and sorcery, contemporary urban fantasy, steampunk, alternative history), and horror (zombies, vampires, and the occult and supernatural), and much more. While not every title we publish becomes a New York Times bestseller, a national bestseller, or a Hugo or Nebula award-winner, we are committed to publishing quality books from a diverse group of authors.
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A carnival ride through laughter and tears with a bit of time travel thrown in for spice . . . readers will be impatient for later installments.”
Publishers Weekly, starred review
Taylor does a great job of setting up an appealing cast of characters in this new series opener, most especially the intrepid Max. There is plenty of humor, lots of action, and even a touch of romance.”
Taylor has written a madcap and very funny hodgepodge of a novel whose pacing and humor is reminiscent of a Simon PeggEdgar Wright film.”
Danger, romance, history, financial and academic politics, hidden agendas, dangerous assignments, characters you care about, and the feeling that more is going on than you're actually reading about. I can hardly wait for book two. Just One Damned Thing After Another is a true page-turner.”
Just One Damned Thing After Another is a novel that wastes no time getting to the good stuff . . . if character-driven stories are your cup of tea, then you’ll find plenty to like. Max is hilarious, and I love her spirited and crafty nature.”
What a mess. A glorious, glorious mess. Let no one ever say that Just One Damned Thing After Another is a book that fails to live up to its title . . . . These books are so perfectly bingeable.”
B&N Sci-fi Blog
Max is a thoroughly hilarious and confident narrator and the sense of real danger, interspersed with copious amounts of tea, pervades the story. This is the kind of book that you walk away from believing in time travel.”
Manhattan Book Review
If you’re a fan of time travel, or if you’re a fan of madcap British comedies, or better yet if you’re a fan of both, then you’ll want to check out The Chronicles of St. Mary’s.”
The book can’t be put down, and I loved every minute. Seven books in the series have been published in Great Britain and this first book is now being published in the U.S. I look forward to reading them all.”
YA Lit Ramblings
The writing was witty and fun, and kept making me smile page after page. . . . Max is a brilliant character, the kind of character you root for, faults and all.”
All Things Urban Fantasy
Jodi Taylor doesn’t do things the conventional way.”
Catherine Scott, Yorkshire Post
About the Author
- Publisher : Night Shade; Reprint edition (September 13, 2016)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 348 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1597808709
- ISBN-13 : 978-1597808705
- Item Weight : 12.8 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.25 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #77,365 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
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There are two main reasons. First, the more objective reason: The whole "parallel timelines/second chance" plot twist was just a mess. I can't suspend disbelief for it, and I honestly don't think those two people can continue a relationship... From a certain point of view, they are in love with people that no longer exists.
The second reason is more visceral (and subjective). The author managed to turn Max into a coward bitch. After all Max has been through in the previous books, I can't believe she would be so set in leaving a small boy to be raped and killed.
#1 She knows the Chief's heart after loosing all of his children, and his desperate need to save this one.
#2 She's lost a child of her own, and mourned it.
#3 All of St. Mary already knows there are situations where you can save something (scrolls) or someone (dodos) doomed in it's original timeline. She can't take the chance for the Chief's heart and her own soul?
I was heart broken for the story....
"I couldn't put it down" is a stupid cliche that I've seen written so many times before and after reading said book, had no trouble "putting it down". I have never put it in a review before but guess what...I couldn't put it down. After thousands of books in many genres, that's a first for me. The history that goes into Jodi's books is incredible and the way she incorporates it into her stories over and over will keep you interested and turning, the page even if you have never had any interest in history. I promise you will laugh so hard at the antics, the stories and the wit of Max. There are a few sad times and then there are many that will keep you on edge and.... You won't be able to put it down.
For some reason I can’t quite articulate, we seem to be more intimately in Max’s head this time. Max is getting older, she estimates she’s actually three years older than her chronological age due to time spent in the past. She’s also assuming more responsibility at St. Mary’s, becoming a permanent fixture of the management structure. All the while she keeps promising herself that the next jump into the past is her last jump. You can’t quite believe it, of course. There are lots of reasons why. The “Second Chance” of the title takes on multiple meanings for Max and Leon, both professional and personal.
So where are we off to? A comically bizarre encounter with Sir Isaac Newton, an almost fatal trip to a 19th-century version of the cheese rolling ceremony in Gloucester, and witnessing the first successful migration of humans out of Africa tens of thousands of years ago.
But the most memorable trip of the book is to witness the fall of Troy at the hands of the Greeks in the Bronze Age. Jodi Taylor does a masterful job making the whole event come alive, and like Max, we realize that we’re not reading dusty pages in a book, but experiencing real people trying to survive the horrors of war. The words on the page seem real.
The story finishes up with two incredible surprises. Max ends up in the Cretaceous Period on an unscheduled trip with dramatic consequences and Max and Tim Peterson visit the battle of Agincourt for a historic survey that ends up being anything but. Second chances to act differently or pursue relationships differently are the ongoing theme of this book. You will want to grab the next book in this series as soon as you can.
Top reviews from other countries
The story is wonderful. The characters are brilliant. Jodi Taylor retelling of historical events is both funny and poignant. But the ending seemed to stretch the realm of possibility, even for a time travel book. It presses the 'reset' button on the whole series and guarantees that whilst everything stays the same, nothing stays the same. Sorry to be so cryptic, but this is one you have to read to get your head around.
I have just read the second and third books in the series and will after reading something completely different, buy the fourth and fifth books.
In a nutshell the books are formulaic. Same people, same tasks and same personality traits. But the time periods change and you could well meet someone who you know well or even intimately, but the situation deems that they don't know you.
You have a relationship with someone you meet in the works restaurant that dynamic changes drastically when you are thrown together in a historical hotspot for 6 months obviously.
Jodi Taylor has it all in this series – Humour, pathos, love and even the dreaded/not so dreaded S.E.X. personally I don't mind it in real life, but still at the age of 65 I am not 100% comfortable reading about it. Oh the other thing this series has is it's well written, Imagine you are in middle England today and as you turn the page you are suddenly in Prehistoric times. It would look like that on your personal timeline – but it is written well enough to not be so radical a change!
It is followed with A Trail Through Time - immediately. Run, Max and Leon, Run!
Max remains a likeable, funny and irrepressible heroine with just the right mix of vulnerability and ferocious practicality. Taylor is capable of making you really care about characters, even quite minor ones, without you even realising it. Her on-off relationship though is getting a bit painful to read - every time she has a chance of happiness, some new awful thing happens to ruin things. This sort of character torture gets a bit much after three books, especially when you like the character.
The historic bits are always fun to read and appear to ring quite true, although I'm no historian. Taylor's ability to set a scene and make you care about the people involved with little page time comes into its own as she describes the siege of Troy, the battle of Agincourt, the land of the dinosaurs, the crossing of our ancestors from Africa to Asia, and a meeting with Isaac Newton. The Troy sections are particularly well done.
It's highly readable and hard to put down, and the ending suggests some story progression that will hopefully keep the next books fresh. If you enjoy fantasy adventures, then this is a great series to read.