In Jodi Taylor’s An Argumentation of Historians, the eccentric historians of St. Mary’s return for another, more individually focused time-travel adventure.
Dr. Lucy Maxwell—affectionately called Max—returns from 1536 after an unusual encounter with the Time Police. While her husband recovers from previous events and her son is basically in witness protection, Max formulates a plan to capture the elusive and villainous Clive Ronan. The plan goes horribly awry, leaving Max stranded in the 1300s with no way home, and the clock ticking down to a potential reality collapse.
An Argumentation of Historians is the ninth book in The Chronicles of St. Mary’s series. While aimed at loyal readers, it provides ample context and backstory. The intricate relationships and various trials and tribulations of previous books create a fully realized and dynamic world.
Max leads a squabbling group of historians to investigate major historical events in contemporary time while struggling to keep her personal life from completely falling apart. Her attempts to contain her headstrong personality in times when women were expected to be demure prompts hilarity and endearing escapades, including with aggressive chickens and estates engulfed in flames.
Character connections are authentic. One romantic relationship begins on rocky ground, suffers from some hiccups, and ends in an unexpected manner; it is punctuated with emotion throughout.
The book crosses several genres and excels at every one. Its prose flows beautifully whether it is explaining unusual tech, setting historical scenes, or building up the various romantic connections in the story. Humor is strong and varies between dry wit, over-the-top puns, and flat-out slapstick antics.
An Argumentation of Historians is a witty and emotional adventure, filled with humor and heart. It will reward longtime series readers and ensnare new fans.
John M. Murray
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