A Second Chance

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1,350 Ratings

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5 out of 5 stars
By Roobarb on 05-14-15

this made me cry

I cried twice!

but saying that, I just can't leave it alone. where's the next one?

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6 of 6 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Robyn on 08-07-17

Another chaotic, but fun outing

CBC - Concussion By Cheese. It's these little anecdotes that make this such an entertaining series. I'd like to believe that I learn a little bit about history too - even if it is ancient history when nobody actually knows what the real truth is. Still, it always feels quite well informed.

They've been a fun first three books to the series - light-hearted and jovial in tone (even if it's in the middle of the an epic historical battle) and exactly right to cleanse the listening palate after something more gritty.

A cliff-hanger ending, so straight onto book 4.

Narration exactly same as previous books in the series - perfectly reflects Max's attitude.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Mike on 11-18-15

Great balance between fun and fear

The Historians at St.Mary’s have a straightforward approach to discovering what really happened at an historical event, they get in a POD, travel back in time and take a shufftie at what’s going on.

Of course, that means that they risk getting abducted, maimed or killed by the locals or simply by their own clumsiness, but they are a plucky lot who are willing to take their chances and get on with things in their own anarchic way.

The lead Historian, Madeleine Maxwell, “Max”, is the embodiment of what a St. Mary’s Historian should be: insatiably curious, unthinkingly courageous, capable of great compassion but implacable in dealing with those she sees as evil.

She’s come a long way from her rookie days in the first book, “Just One Damned Thing After Another” when she had “damaged misfit” written all the way through her like “Brighton” in a bar of rock.

She is a leader: doing the detailed planning, wrangling the St. Mary’s mob into almost acting as a team, winning the respect and even the love of her people. She’s getting her personal life together after a series of disasters.

Of course, in a Jodi Taylor novel, where every silver lining has a cloud, this degree of happiness and accomplishment can only mean that Max is doomed. Which indeed she is, though I won’t disclose her fate here.

The St. Mary’s books really are chronicles, describing events in the order that they happened, although, with time travel involved, the timeline can still have twists and turns in it. In “A Second Chance”, we follow the intrepid Max to Sir Issac Newton’s London, the fall of Troy and the battle of Agincourt. There are also a few unexpected side trips that you’ll have to read the book to find out about.

Troy has been a long-term obsession for Max. She wants to know if Greek soldiers really hid in the belly of a wooden horse and how they stayed hidden and how they got out and whether Helen’s face really launched a thousand ships, and hundreds of other things, so going there is a big deal and is described at length. What I enjoyed most about this part of the book was that, while original, plausible, surprising answers are given to all these questions, their importance fades as the scale of human suffering becomes clear. Max and her team spend months in Troy before the siege, sharing the way of life of the people only to it strangled by the siege and shattered by the assault on the city. The killing, rape, enslavement and greed-driven destruction hits home hard. This is not some Homeric glorification of war, but a description of the human cost of the phrase: “Troy fell.”

Towards the end of the book, after Agincourt, Max’s life takes a strange, world-changing, series-altering turn that finally explains the title, “A Second Chance.” This twist makes me certain that the next St. Mary’s book will be different from its predecessors. I’m looking forward to seeing what Jodi Taylor does with it.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Hevpais on 09-12-15

I loved it

I really enjoyed this book. I stumbled upon the series by accident and have now listened to the first three (plus a short) in four days. Its a good job I can carry it round with me, or I'd be stuck in the house forever! Some other reviews have not been quite so good, but it really worked for me. Maybe that's because I'm a romantic and much, much prefer the happy ending. Made me cry, made me laugh out loud - and when you're out in the garden digging, that can be dangerous! Within one hour of finishing it, here I am back at Audible, getting the next one. What more can I say? Ah, I know - Zara Ramm is excellent too.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Simon on 08-23-16

A good instalment

This was a good instalment. I would have marked it four stars but the is a distinctly episodic feel. Perhaps it is being written as a TV series. I certainly can see the BBC doing a good job. And the question in the back of my mind is what is going on in America and why is it only people from the future trying to take the time pods?

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By A Friend on 05-25-16

Still very enjoyable, but a bit of a jumble!

Good narration and all the characters are still there, but not as strong as the first or second. The pace is a bit all over the place and the plot loops and turns as stories about time travel are like to do! I'll still listen to the next one though I should think!

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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