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Just One Damned Thing After Another

The Chronicles of St Mary's, Book 1
Written by: Jodi Taylor
Narrated by: Zara Ramm
Series: The Chronicles of St Mary's, Book 1
Length: 9 hrs and 30 mins
4 out of 5 stars (78 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

"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....

©2013 Jodi Taylor (P)2014 Audible Studios

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Ben
  • 2018-01-15

As expected, good enough, but not stellar.

After the author-read prequel, I was a bit skeptical about starting this series. The concept is so cool: historians getting the power to time travel and getting into a bunch of random historical timey-wimey trouble!

The book was...almost what I expected. The time travel aspect was cool, and the story made so much more sense (the prequel was written sometime after book 4, and I've since read you need to read them in publication order rather than chronological order). The narrator was FAR superior than the author, though the first-person narration made it hard to determine what was dialogue or internal thoughts. And I found that it was hard to separate characters unless there was an obvious accent as the voices weren't too dissimilar.

The plot of this book was as expected, and not high literature. There were some good surprises and plot twists, including an evil band of time travellers out to stop St. Mary's. Some good confrontations led me to want a bit more, though I was at times confused about what was happening, why, and how. It's the classic problem of a time travel plot, but seemed even less explained.

While there were many good elements of this book, I did find the lead character a bit annoying. She starts as a recruit and ends up as the senior historian - ok it's possible and makes for a good establishing of the main character - but the drama and volatility with relationships and the outcomes of events got tiring. I'd listen to the second book in the series, but it's not a high priority.

7 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A great book for mom.

I listen to books with my 13 and 14 year daughters. This is not that book! Too much swearing and sex for my girls, I loved listening to it without them. What an exciting story, I love the narrator.

5 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Sam
  • 2019-05-08

Just one damn thing after another

This book really is one thing after another without much let up or breathing room. It's an interesting book but the pacing needs some work. I enjoyed the narrator.

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    5 out of 5 stars

A super book even if you're not a history geek

A great story idea. Lots of adventure and very well written. I really enjoyed this book and have since started to listen to others in the series. The narrator is pretty good and subtle with the many British accents. Love the copious cups of tea and hard drinking, very brit.

You don't need to be a history geek to enjoy this book or the rest of the series. The dives into historical events are great stories and the thread of the protagonists life is interesting.

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Awesome book

I throughly enjoyed this book. I wish there were more. It was funny, sad, suspenseful and just wonderful.

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Fun twist

Time travel twist, great fun. Excellent narration. No heavy bother with the laws of physics. Max is marvelous.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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very fun read!

loved the narrator - her diverse voices made me forget I was listening to one reader & immersed me in the adventure. fun, exciting read with very real characters in a bizarre world made to feel strangely possible.

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Very entertaining series

If you like history, excellent and witty writing and/or sci-fi, this series is for you. I devour these books with relish as soon as they come out and then savour them over and over again. The story lines are simple enough but it is the writing that makes the books so fun. I can’t wait for someone to get the movie rights to these. #audible1 #stmarys

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A Fun Adventure!

This was very fun! I really enjoyed he historical and time travel aspect. The characters were great, and I really enjoyed the plot. It moved quickly, but we still had some good world building. We spent the right amount time on each plot point and it didn't feel rushed, even though so many things happened! The writing was great, and I enjoyed the humour.
Overall, a very fun read, and a great adventure . #Audible1

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Disappointing

The narration is great, but the story itself falls short. not entirely sure how there is an entire series after this, I was barely intrigued enough to finish just the one. It's a decent premise with lots of promise in the beginning, but even being interested in history and science I felt underwhelmed. The flow of the whole story was also strange, I felt like there were many climaxes where you'd think this is where the story was going and then it didn't go that way, or it was only a minor plot point. By the time the whole thing was done I felt like I had just listened to 6 or more short stories, none of which were compelling enough to have been the main intrigue of an entire novel. I read through all the reviews before using my credit on it, it definitely sounded like I should like it. It was by no means a terrible listen, the narrator had a nice voice and brought life to it, it's just not one I would necessarily recommend.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Sires
  • 2014-04-13

Action Adventure Time Travel Novel w/ Good Reader

In case this bothers a reader: this is a first person point of view story. It also contains some (brief) sex and adult language. Probably I wouldn't have even thought about either factor except someone had rated it as one star because it wasn't CLEAN enough. I really hate that term applied to books, unless someone if referring to the condition of the pages rather than the content. The setting is the UK at some near future point in time.

Any way, the heroine, a woman who has completed her doctorate in history, is recruited by an old teacher who once at a pivotal moment in her life provided guidance, into a time travel project. There's lots of action and adventure as she has to cope not just with being sent back to dangerous time periods, but also with problems from the future.

People who enjoy Connie Willis' time travel books or Kage Bakers novels of the Company might enjoy at least this first book. It's complete in itself although it is part of a series. It's also science fiction rather than romance.

I would also point out that despite the enthusiasm of what I assume are fans, that Taylor hasn't yet reached the skill level of the other authors I have mentioned. If it were possible to give half stars I would give the story 3.5 stars. On at least two occasions the author dumps a load of information on the reader rather than feeding it bit by bit. Luckily the narrator, who I do not think I've encountered before, was able to wend her way through it. I'm not sure how I would have reacted had I been reading the print version at those points-- probably put it down for a while. But I'm sure I would have gone back because I've developed a bit of soft spot for the heroine.

243 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Annissa
  • 2014-06-06

Does what it says on the tin

This was a moderately enjoyable read. I must admit that it made my historian's heart beat a little bit faster to read about historians living and exploring historical events. However, the characters in the story never really came alive for me. Motivations and personalities never really seemed to gel and when I finished the book I still felt like I didn't know anyone in the book, not even the protagonist. I prefer character-driven stories, and this was very much action-oriented. Not bad, but not really my cup of tea, either. I also had difficulty understanding the time span of this book. What I thought had been a few months had actually been five years and I wonder if I wasn't paying attention or if the passage of time was really glossed over. That said, the story held my interest, even with little nitpicky criticisms I had about plot points, and I don't regret the purchase. However, it isn't likely I'll pick up Book 2 in this series.

Zara Ramm did a good job narrating the book. While she did do accents, she didn't give characters distinctive voices. That, in addition to the aforementioned issues I had with characterization, plus the occasional nickname bandied about, made it difficult for me to tell some characters apart from one another.

This is a fun read, but I would only recommend it to people who want to enjoy a little bit of bubble gum reading.

116 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Kathy in CA
  • 2014-08-15

Adventures in Time Travel!

I know there are folks who buy a book because of its cover. I got this one because of its title--I just couldn't resist it! Besides, time travel is 'in' right now and often can be very entertaining.

Over all, I found the story enjoyable and a fun read. The heroine is surprisingly able and competent to handle herself in difficult situations and to save the day for her colleagues. I found this a bit incongruous with the narrator's particular British accent, in that I just could not imagine someone who talked like that punching someone in the face or being rough and tough enough to carry the story. Yet, Max was just that kind of heroine. I guess you just can't judge a book by its accent!

In contrast to a previous reviewer, I enjoyed this book much more than Connie Willis' two World War II time travel books, which I found very unsatisfying and frustrating. Jodi Tayor's character, Max, has actual relationships with other characters and all these characters are more developed. I found Max's adventures in time travel into the past much more engaging. The Willis books, while expertly researched, were pure drudgery for me.

If you love time travel books and are happy with a very British sounding heroine, this book will be a fun read for you. Go for it!

85 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Margaret
  • 2014-11-18

Lightweight imitation of Connie Willis

After listening to the compelling stories and narration of Connie Willis' time traveling historians, I couldn't get into this flippant imitation.

6 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Sara
  • 2015-07-16

One Disjointed Story Line After Another

I tried this book because of all the favorable reviews here on audible and all the positive comparisons to Connie Willis' collection of books. I have enjoyed the the first two books in Willis' time travel series very much and hoped for more along that genre with this series. That was not to be. To me, this book had tons of potential--but in the end the story was too light weight, the action jumped around too much and the characters became blurred and vague.

At first, I liked the narration as Hamm's voice was pleasant--but as the reading progressed everything started sounding the same. Flat and monotone --no matter what action was occurring at the time. I agree with another reviewer that it felt like a long string of TV episodes. In the end it wasn't enough to hold my interest. I gave up due to sheer boredom. Can't recommend.

75 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • William Samuel Cole JR
  • 2014-11-27

Disappointing

Would you try another book from Jodi Taylor and/or Zara Ramm?

No.

What was most disappointing about Jodi Taylor’s story?

There was hardly any time travel. The description made it sound like there would be a lot (which is why I purchased it) but the majority of the book focused on the relationships between the characters.

What three words best describe Zara Ramm’s performance?

It was okay.

5 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Peter
  • 2015-06-29

Plot had great promise

Any additional comments?

This book was a terrible disappointment. The general concept behind the story really excited me. It could have been fabulous if not for the way it was written. The sarcastic main character is annoying and shallow. All the characters are shallow. This is the sort of book that Hollywood might turn into a fast paced action thriller focused on special effects. If thats your thing, than you might like this book. The narration was fine but couldn't overcome the lack of depth to the story.

26 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Matthew
  • 2014-06-16

A female thriller for all listeners

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, maybe not for everyone, but certainly fans of scifi/thrillers with a serious comedic spin. Taylor writes in an almost stream of concious manner, and Zara Ramm brings authenticity and wonderful humour to the narration.
There is just enough adult themes to temper the humour, and although it does require a bit of a stretched belief model, I do recommend it.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

Max ( our hero ) is difficult not to cheer for, and engages us all the way. The bad guys are not very well crafted, at least in this first book of what I hope is a long series.

What about Zara Ramm’s performance did you like?

Everything. She sparkles. Humour, drama, authenticity, and consistency. What's not to like?

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

I am not creative enough to get this one nailed.

Any additional comments?

This is the first of what promises to be a classic series of funny/serious/scifi time travel thrillers, in classic British style. There is a slight "chick lit" aspect to the offering, but it is highly enjoyable for everyone. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and have downloaded the sequel already. Highly recommended.

58 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Pamela
  • 2015-02-02

Less than expected

I had high hopes for this book, but it's far less interesting than its premise. If, like me, you're interested in the idea of somebody being able to explore historical periods, this is NOT a book for you. Though the characters travel back in time, we don't actually get any interaction with historical figures or even much description of the times or places. There is a lot of silly Adventure Story plot, but very little about time travel or English history.

Worse still, the protagonist is annoying, and her character doesn't make sense. She's supposed to be a PhD in History, but she acts like a simpering and rather foolish teenager, even though she's a grown woman and, so we are told, a gifted scholar. A lot of the characters' interactions are straight out of a YA story about a high school for magical time-traveling teens, but, again, we are supposed to believe these are all intelligent adults. Zara Ramm's reading is perfectly competent, but the character is so annoying I found myself disliking her performance.
I suggest skipping this one.

26 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Sandra
  • 2014-05-19

I need to find my St. Mary's

I adore the heroine; Max is a great character and the character validates me. I only wish that all plucky, smart, flawed women could find their own St. Mary's in which to blossom. I enjoyed the whole thing and the narrator is wonderful.

I do hope there is a Volume Three coming.

14 people found this helpful

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  • starlyte
  • 2018-10-14

Really enjoyable

A very amusing but also touching story, with a nicely researched historical background. The reading is perfect too, which together lead to a most enjoyable experience, as well as an overpowering driving force to go on to the next collection of the adventures of Max at St Mary's. Max is a super lady, someone who I'd hate to anger, but I'd give anything to have as a friend. The characters are that real... at the end of the tale you don't want to leave them for too long. Fantastic stuff, don't miss out!

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  • Julia1212
  • 2016-12-27

Such fun!!

The main character Max is just perfect!
I am just sad to have finished the saga!