The title comes from Arnold Toynbee's famous quote "History is just one damned thing after another." A self-described blend of "history, adventure, comedy, romance, tragedy, and anything else the author could think of," this is the first book in the Chronicles of St. Mary's series involving a group of eccentric Brit time-travelling historians - if you liked (or wanted to like) the TV series "Timeless," this is all that and miles better. It is hilariously funny, although there are moments of tragedy as well, but you read it for the comedy. Taylor hooked me in the first chapter when she described the time travelling device:
"The tiny space smelled of stale people, cabbage, chemicals, hot electrics, and damp carpet, with an underlying whiff from the toilet. I would discover that all pods smelt the same and that historians joke that techies take the smell then build the pods around it."I had downloaded the second book in the series before I finished reading the first because I knew I just wanted to keep going. You either like the St. Mary's crowd or you don't, but they reminded me of Pink's lyrics:
So raise your glass if you are wrong,They all do seem to be in one non-stop, zany house party that occasionally spills over into history in which anything goes.
In all the right ways,
All my underdogs,
We will never be never be, anything but loud
And nitty gritty, dirty little freaks
My one complaint, and I feel a bit guilty making an issue of it, but it grates on me, is that these are not, truly, historians - I mean in the sense that they don't really care about history. History is the backdrop against which the story plays out, but it is window dressing, in a way, for example, that Connie Willis' "Blackout" never is, and the characters have a shocking lack of interest or reverence for anything in it. If you can overlook that, it's just a fun book.
Peterson rushed past. "Come on, Max! Swans in the library!"
"Who cares?" Good point.
In the distance, I could hear shouting. And screaming. Familiar sounds. St. Mary's thundered past on their way to make a crisis considerably worse.
It was nice to be home.