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The Chronicles of St Mary’s Books in Order: How to read Jodi Taylor series?

History is full of mysteries, but also full of danger, especially for the historians who are working for the St. Mary’s Institute of Historical Research.

What are The Chronicles of St Mary’s?

Written by Jodi Taylor, the English author of fantasy-style historical fiction and romance novels, not the English footballer Jodie Taylor, The Chronicles of St Mary’s series is a mix of sci-fi and historical fiction.

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.’ 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.

The Chronicles of St Mary’s Books in Order:

  1. The Very First Damned Thing (Short Story) – This prequel establishes the background of the series and how Dr Bairstow set up St Mary’s. It is advised to not read it as an entry to the series. Following the publication order, you can read it between books six and seven or before. Include in the book The Long and Short of It.
  2. Just One Damned Thing After Another – At St Mary’s Institute of Historical Research, the historians don’t just study the past, they revisit it. New recruit Max rides the catastrophe curve from eleventh-century London to the First World War, 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…
  3. A Symphony of Echoes – Despatched to Victorian London to seek out Jack the Ripper, things go badly wrong when he finds the St Mary’s historians first. Stalked through the fog-shrouded streets of Whitechapel, Max is soon running for her life. Again.
  4. When a Child is Born (Short Story) – It’s Christmas Day 1066, and a team from St Mary’s is going to witness the coronation of William the Conqueror. Or so they think… However, history seems to have different plans for them, and when Max finds herself delivering a child in a peasant’s hut, she can’t help wondering what history is up to. Include in the book The Long and Short of It.

  1. Roman Holiday (Short Story) – An epic, stand alone tale set in Ancient Rome, 44 BC, featuring, in no particular order: an attempted murder, stampeding bullocks, Cleopatra, Queen of the Nile, a bowl of poisonous snakes, a smallish riot, Julius Caesar, and Mr Markham’s wayward bosoms. Include in the book The Long and Short of It.
  2. A Second Chance – It began well. A successful assignment to 17th century Cambridge to meet Isaac Newton, and another to witness the historic events at The Gates of Grief. So far so good. But then came the long-awaited jump to the Trojan War that changed everything. And for Max, nothing will ever be the same again. With the bloody Battle of Agincourt playing out around her, Max risks everything on one last desperate gamble to save a life and learns the true meaning of a second chance.
  3. A Trail Through Time – From a 17th century Frost Fair to Ancient Egypt; from Pompeii to 8th century Scandinavia; Max and Leon are pursued up and down the timeline, playing a dangerous game of hide-and-seek, until finally they’re forced to take refuge at St Mary’s – where a new danger awaits them.
  4. Christmas Present (Short Story) – It’s Christmas Eve at St Mary’s. It’s ten years ago tonight that Senior Historians Bashford and Grey went missing in 12th century Jerusalem. So how did they end up in AD60 Roman Colchester? Max has a theory. Peterson has a plan. Markham has bacon sandwiches. Colchester has Boudicca and her bloodthirsty Iceni hordes. And then there’s the giant pig … the enraged, giant pig… Include in the book The Long and Short of It.

  1. No Time Like the Past – From being trapped in the Great Fire of London to an unfortunately timed comfort break at Thermopylae, which leaves the fate of the western world hanging in the balance, Max must struggle to get History back on track. But first, they must get through the St Mary’s Fete – which is sure to end badly for everyone.
  2. What Could Possibly Go Wrong? — With great privilege comes great responsibility, something Max knows only too well, and as newly appointed Chief Training Officer at the St Mary’s Institute of Historical Research, it’s up to her to drum this guiding principle into her five new recruits. With a training program that includes Joan of Arc, an illegal mammoth, a duplicitous Father of History, a bombed rat, Stone Age hunters and Dick the Turd, the question everyone is asking themselves is – what could possibly go wrong?
  3. Ships and Stings and Wedding Rings (Short Story) – It’s Christmas at St Mary’s and time for Max’s obligatory illegal jump. On this occasion, however, they’re right up against it. A loaded gun has been left behind in Ancient Egypt and it’s up to them to retrieve it before anyone accidentally blows their own head off, thus affecting the timeline for centuries to come. Include in the book The Long and Short of It.
  4. Lies, Damned Lies, and History – Max has never been one for rules. They tend to happen to other people. But this time she’s gone too far. And everyone at St Mary’s is paying the price. With the History Department disintegrating around her and grounded until the end of time, how can she ever put things right?

  1. The Great St Mary’s Day Out(Short Story) –:The historians have to record the 1601 performance of Hamlet, with Shakespeare himself in the role of the Ghost. With Dr Bairstow and Mrs Mack turning a simple visit to a street market into a public brawl, Professor Rapson inadvertently stowing away on a vessel bound for the New World, and Shakespeare himself going up in flames, it would seem that Max, of all people, is the only one actually completing the assignment. Include in the book The Long and Short of It.
  2. My Name is Markham (Short Story) – Like a smaller and much scruffier Greta Garbo – finally – Markham speaks! It’s Christmas and time for the first (and almost certainly last) St Mary’s Annual Children’s Christmas Party – attendance compulsory, by order of Dr Bairstow. Discovered practicing his illegal reindeer dance and poo-dropping routine, our hero, along with fellow disaster-magnets Peterson and Maxwell, is despatched to Anglo-Saxon England to discover the truth about Alfred and the cakes. Include in the book The Long and Short of It.
  3. Desiccated Water (Short Story) – You can read this very short story here.
  4. And the Rest is History – When an old enemy appears out of nowhere with an astonishing proposition for Max – a proposition that could change everything – Max is tempted. Very tempted. With an end to an old conflict finally in sight, it looks as if St Mary’s problems are over with. Can they all finally live happily ever after?
  5. Markham and the Anal Probing (Short Story) – You can read this little short story here.
  6. A Perfect Storm (Short Story) – For Max, what starts off as a perfectly normal week is about to degenerate into a quagmire of egotistical film producers, monumental pub crawls, unsigned contracts, exploding rocks, Professor Rapson and his megaphone, the world’s biggest bacon butty – and Angus – the third component of the most notorious love triangle since Menelaus, Paris and Whatshername – the one with the face they launched ships off. Include in the book The Long and Short of It.

  1. Christmas Past (Short Story) – Max, Leon and Matthew – together at last for Christmas at St Mary’s. Donning her unfamiliar mother hat, Max takes Matthew back to 19th century London, where they plan to deliver a parcel of Christmas cheer to his former friends, but find themselves confronting the terrifying Old Ma Scrope in the process.
  2. An Argumentation of Historians – A chance meeting between Max and the Time Police leads to a plan of action. And, it’s one that will have very serious consequences – especially for Max. Her private life is already more than a little rocky. But with Leon recovering and Matthew safe in the future there will never be a better opportunity to bring down Clive Ronan, once and for all.
  3. The Battersea Barricades (Short Story) – It’s the time of the Civil Uprisings and two young women set out to make a difference. Their only problem? They don’t know where they are. Or where they’re going. Or what to do when they get there. Other than that…
  4. The Steam Pump Jump (Short Story) – Not one to let being banged up in Sick Bay stop her, Max has had a brilliant idea. But she needs Markham to execute it on her behalf. The subject of this cunning plan is Peterson, struggling with another bereavement and not doing very well. What’s needed to get him through it is sympathy, sensitivity, tact and understanding.

  1. Hope for the Best – Seconded to the Time Police to join in the hunt for the renegade Clive Ronan, Max is a long way from St Mary’s. But life in the future does have its plus points – although not for long. A problem with the Time Map reveals chaos in the 16th century and the wrong Tudor queen on the throne. History has gone rogue, there’s a St Mary’s team right in the firing line and Max must step up.

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14 Comments

  1. Duncan Amos

    As as slightly dim-witted pensioner (I blame it on a mild stroke), I have to admit to being slightly confused…

    I’m reading An Argumentation of Historians, in which, it appears St Mary’s had previously half destroyed and various people were killed or injured to various degrees of severity (not that being killed comes in varying degrees of severity, you understand).

    When did all this carnage occur? I don’t remember it (though my short-term memory is borderline extinct, due to the aforementioned) and as far as I can make out, I’ve read eveything.

    Is it me or has Professor Rapson devised a method of warping spacetime and projecting it from the pages of a Kindle book, such that today appears to be tomorrow and yesterday will be the day after tomorrow?

    I’ve consulted with my cat over the problem, but she could put forward no theories beyond “it’s almost certainly you, you daft old sod”. Personally, I think that says a lot about the human-feline relationship from the other perspective.

    Thanks for any help with this aparent conundrum…

    • Edward Fries

      Between the Battle of St. Mary’s and the explosion from Ronan in “And the rest is history”

    • Tracy

      St Mary’s took a hit when Clive Rowen popped up in one of the books in hawking suddenly. I don’t want to spoil it so definitely go back and read the previous book.

  2. Dana Oliver

    I believe it was in A Trail Through Time, when Max and Leon were being chased up and down the timeline by the Time Police, who had really gotten out of hand. The Time Police subsequently attacked St Mary’s (several St Mary’s of different times), leading to the “Battle of St Mary’s”, and culminating in several deaths which were mentioned in passing in the later novels.

  3. Edward Fries

    No it was the explosion after chasing Ronan from And the rest is history, ronan throws two bombs in the air and blows up most of hawking.

  4. Duncan Amos

    Ah… That helps a lot…

    “And the rest is History” was in my vague period – I’ll need to re-read it.

  5. Dave Ihnat

    It’s so sad to hit the end, with nothing more in sight…

    • Francis Zanger

      Patience, Mr. Ihnat. In addition to being Portuguese Independence Day, 25 April is also the day the next book comes out!

      We can ‘Hope for the Best’ meantime, knowing that the this dry spell can soon be put behind us and we’ll have another opportunity to visit St. Mary’s.

  6. Elizabeth Greythorne

    I’ve been digging through the website trying to find “Desiccated Water” and
    “Markham and the Anal Probing”, followed the links, but I haven’t found the stories.
    Why is this? Is there a secret door that I don’t know to open, or is it more like a portal to Narnia-type thing?

  7. Lynne

    It must be me! Where is the short stories tab please?

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