Dr. Madeleine “Max” Maxwell is recruited by the seemingly rather mundane St. Mary’s Institute of History, only to discover that they are actually a secret organisation that time travels to various points in history, for research purposes. Obviously, you can’t just throw anyone into a time machine and have at it, so there’s a lot of training. Then there’s the fact that time travel is rather dangerous, and she starts to see why there aren’t all that many historians actually working long-term for St. Mary’s. Most don’t have what it takes, and either quit or get killed in action.
Nevertheless, Max manages not only to pass training but after a series of misadventures, to be one of the few historians left on active duty. After some missions back in time where something always seems to go mysteriously wrong, Max is let in on a secret. St. Mary’s is not the only group of time travelers out there, and their rival group is not just interested in observing and documenting different parts of history. Some of the higher-ups in St. Mary’s are in fact from the future and have come back in time specifically to found the organisation, to fight the rogue time travelers who want to exploit history for profit and who have no qualms about killing any member of St. Mary’s they come across.
Max’s adventures take her to 11th Century England, World War I France, and even all the way back to the Cretaceous Period to observe and document dinosaurs (!), but there may be traitors among the crew at St. Mary’s and coming back from her missions alive and unharmed is not guaranteed. She learns almost too late that some that she had considered friends are far from it, and if she’s not clever and resourceful, she may end up as dinosaur snack food.
Full review here.
Bingo #5: Gaslight (The Perfect Crimes of Marian Hayes), Font (Love Lettering), Holiday (Duke, Actually), Time (this), Elephant (Her Unexpected Roommate)