A Trail Through Time (The Chronicles of St. Mary’s #4), Jodi Taylor

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We were going to die. But we’re St Mary’s and we weren’t dead yet

Max and Leon are re-united and looking forward to a peaceful lifetime together. But, sadly, they don’t even make it to lunchtime. The action races from 17th century London to Ancient Egypt and from Pompeii to 14th century Southwark as they’re pursued up and down the timeline, playing a perilous game of hide and seek until they’re finally forced to take refuge at St Mary’s – where new dangers await them.

* * *
3 / 5

Reading A Trail Through Time was an experience in conflicting emotions. On the one hand, I wasn’t sure how to feel about the “big twist” that this book is based on, and wasn’t entirely sold on it by the end. On the other, Max and Leon seemed a whole lot more mature, which was a relief, and Tim had a fair chunk of page-time, which was great.

After a disastrous reign, he was overthrown by his wife. Serves him right. What sort of idiot marries a woman known as The She-Wolf of France?

Fair warning: this review contains spoilers for book number three: A Second Chance. Righto, you have been warned. Max wakes up face-first on the carpet of Leon’s house. In another dimension. A dimension in which Max is the one who died and Izzie Barclay is her best friend. There’s also this police force called The Time Police, who travel up and down the time line looking for anomalies: people brought out of their own time, people trying to change the past, etc. Leon and Max are on the run for their lives.

Obviously, they flee into the past. Their jumps take us to their own island, to 17th century London and a frozen River Thames, to Akhenaten in Ancient Egypt and to Pompeii. One problem here was that was so little time spent in each place in history. Ancient Egypt is immensely interesting and a personal favourite of mine, with so much potential to be fascinating, but there is scarcely a few pages of Max looking at a temple and being snapped at by crocodiles. I’d have preferred fewer jumps and more exploration, like with Troy in the last book!

History glitters with the tales of men and women who, with no thought of reward or glory, make their stand and quietly do their duty. I wasn’t going to be a lesser person than my ancestors.

A Trail Through Time was definitely fun. Jodi Taylor has a fantastic writing style and she seems to have these books down to a fine art: the great characterisations, the witty quips, and the serious parts. There’s a number of touching scenes – I think Dr Bairstow and Tim Peterson in particular are fantastic characters with some good parts in this book. I love the characters and in this book the characters that I love are taken from me. The parallel world has mostly the same people but with slightly tweaked personalities and they lack that connection to Max, their familiarity and their love. It makes those characters – Helen, Kal, Guthrie – feel blank and emotionless. The plus is that Taylor made Leon more mature and palatable for me.

A Trail Through Time takes a chance to be slightly different from the first three. For me, personally, it didn’t pay off. Yet there was still much to enjoy in this book.

My thanks to Netgalley, the publisher, and the author for an ARC of this book. 

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