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An Argumentation of Historians: The…

An Argumentation of Historians: The Chronicles of St. Mary's Book Nine (edition 2018)

by Jodi Taylor (Author)

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1436130,506 (4.16)14
The ninth book in the bestselling British madcap time-travelling series, served with a dash of wit that seems to be everyone's cup of tea. 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. From Tudor England to the burning city of Persepolis, from a medieval St. Mary's under siege to Victorian Rushford and a very nasty case of gaol fever, Max is struggling to keep her private life intact. There's an ambitious programme hindered by giant teapots, plus Mrs. Midgely's objection to dead hamsters in her airing cupboard, and Mr. Markham's stubborn refusal to reveal his exact marital status. And as if that's not enough--the unfortunately not leprosy-laden Malcolm Halcombe is back. Admittedly, none of this is the most secure platform from which to launch an initiative to bring down the renegade Clive Ronan, but hey--what's the worst that could happen?… (more)
Title:An Argumentation of Historians: The Chronicles of St. Mary's Book Nine
Authors:Jodi Taylor (Author)
Info:Night Shade (2018), 440 pages
Collections:Read, Your library, Currently reading
Tags:science-fiction, time-travel, audiobook, series

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An Argumentation of Historians by Jodi Taylor



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Collective noun for historians: an argumentation.

One of the consequences of having a Mt. TBR that is just short of keeping me awake at night (both literally and figuratively speaking) is that there are few times I'm really waiting for a book to be published, because I have at least twenty (or a hundred) that are constantly screaming for my attention. However, An Argumentation of Historians was one of those few books, that I immediately bought on release day and I dropped all the rest so I could read it.

St Mary's is one of my favourite series. It is so light and British I find it the ultimate way to relax. Luckily the tone of this book is lighter compared to the previous one, and I enjoyed it much more. (Apparently Jodi Taylor received much complains about And the Rest is History, because she mentions it in her introduction). If you ever wanted to know what people get up to when they are 'investigating major historical events in contemporary time' read this series (this is book #9 and they should really be read in order). Don't bother with the science though, you will find very little of that, which is just fine because it is their not having an idea what they're doing that's at least half the fun of it. Additionally, it makes their responses when they historian better. Oh, and if you can't stand tea, stay wide from this series, because you will be reminded about it every second page or so.

This all being said and done, it is not all gold that glitters of course. There were some things I didn't like, so the next part will contain some spoilers for this book and the previous ones in the series.

After ATRIH I was pissed off, because she pulled the 'assuming someone was dead' again, and it is just such a cheap plot point. So I was glad she stayed far away from that in this one (even though it was clear from the start that Max would eventually return to the right St. Mary's). Which was really good, because in a fit of rage I might have declared to throw the entire series out of the window. See, I've certainly learned from the impulsiveness of everyone at St. Mary's. As I mentioned above, there is not a lot of scientific explanation to the workings of the time travel, but apparently it can't be that hard, since there are enough rogue time travellers to keep an full police force going. Also, the moments it bordered more on science fiction were some of the weakest in the series, in my opinion. Ellis' explanation of the future, with the Time Police's involvement in almost all things, was really bad. It would have better been left out. Finally, I feel the Ronan storyline should have ended some time ago. It feels rather repetitive at this point and I think there would be more than enough nice, interesting historical events to explore without him.

I see a new short story is due in 10 days, I can't wait! ( )
  Floratina | Dec 7, 2019 |
I admit that I am one of the readers that Jodi Taylor makes fun of in her author's note to this book. I was traumatized by the events of book #8 in the series. So much so, that it has taken me more than a year and a half to bring myself to read book #9, despite many people telling me that this wasn't nearly as angst-ridden and heartbreaking as the previous novel. I'm glad I finally gave it a shot. This is classic St. Mary's - a little observing historical events in contemporary time, a lot of disasters (they don't call them disaster magnets for nothing), a ton of snark and humor, and a little romance. It was exactly the book I needed to get through a couple of rough days and I can move onto the next one without quite so much dread. ( )
  DGRachel | Dec 3, 2019 |
An author's note opens the ninth book of the Chronicle of St. Mary's series indicates that this volume is a bit more "lighthearted" than the previous work. Although I agree with it being a "bit", it's not by much. There isn't as much killing of primary characters, but the story isn't any less emotional, especially when the protagonist, Dr. Lucy ("Max") Maxwell, is stranded at the 14th century St. Mary's by the rogue historian and villainous Clive Ronan's inept henchmen.

Although this book could feasibly be read as a standalone, I wouldn't recommend it. With eight previous books and a number of short-stories, it is becoming almost impossible to cover the major details in all the previous works. Anyway, it is unusual for me reading any series as far as I have read this series before becoming bored with it. However, Max's historical forays into the past with its accurate and detailed descriptions of life of ordinary people impacted by historical luminaries make learning history fun. I wish she was my history teacher when I was in school.

I'm troubled by one of mandates of St. Mary's designed to ensure historical integrity and to prevent time paradoxes. The historians can not bring anything back to the future unless it is about to be loss to calamities such as fire. What impact do they think that simply carrying on a conversation with the indigenous citizens might have for the future? I still enjoy the series even with these petty details. If you enjoy time travel series, this personal guilty pleasure should be on your "to be read" pile. ( )
  John_Warner | Dec 2, 2019 |
On another look at the past, Max's argumentation of historians heads for Persepolis to see if Alexander really put it to the torch. We do get a sighting of the Big A before her nemesis, Ronan sends her to the original St Mary's.
Fortunately her Latin and old English are good enough for communication so she is accepted and put to work with the rest of the peasants. Life is difficult but she has reconciled to her fate and considering making a notable local connection. She is rescued but now must work her way through the considerable complications her return creates.
A lively entry in this quite interesting series. ( )
  jamespurcell | Jan 14, 2019 |
I am really, really tired of Clive Ronan. I'm not sure what would happen to the series without him, and it seems Jodi Taylor has the same problem because he isn't eliminated yet. The long, stuck at the end of the 14th century sequence was underwhelming. The end-to-end disasters continue to keep Max's life from being dull, though we aren't required to spend much time on her hospital stays. Some humor, some development and good reading. ( )
1 vote quondame | Jul 30, 2018 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jodi Taylorprimary authorall editionscalculated
Ramm, ZaraNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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