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Just One Damned Thing After Another Audiobook

Just One Damned Thing After Another: The Chronicles of St Mary's, Book 1

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Publisher's Summary

"History is just one damned thing after another."

Behind the seemingly innocuous façade of St Mary's, a different kind of historical research is taking place. They don't do 'time-travel' - they 'investigate major historical events in contemporary time'. Maintaining the appearance of harmless eccentrics is not always within their power - especially given their propensity for causing loud explosions when things get too quiet.

Meet the disaster-magnets of St Mary's Institute of Historical Research as they ricochet around History. 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. But one wrong move and History will fight back - to the death. And, as they soon discover - it's not just History they're fighting.

Follow the catastrophe curve from 11th-century London to World War I, 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....

©2013 Jodi Taylor (P)2014 Audible Studios

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (50 )
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4.1 (47 )
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4.4 (47 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Suzanna O'Connor, Australia 31/05/2016
    Suzanna O'Connor, Australia 31/05/2016 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    16
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    36
    19
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "More Please! A great time-travelling story"

    This is the first book in a lovely light series of books about the time-travelling historians of St Mary's. Funny and well written with some great and memorable characters.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kaz 25/06/2016
    Kaz 25/06/2016 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    48
    19
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Comic and very novel (no pun intended)"

    My immediate impressions were: "Very English" from the acerbic flow of the revealed thoughts of the characters and their conversations, to the very dry humour and the unorthodox institution of a St Mary's. Personally I loved it, but have to wonder whether it would appeal to a non-English audience.

    The other significant enjoyment factor was the total novelty of the storyline premise. I can't recall ever reading a story quite like this one, so I would certainly applaud Jodi Taylor's imagination as well as the way she drew the plot together. Well done and thank you.

    Finally Zara Ramm's narration was perfect for the characters. She modulated well to indicate the different roles, but kept it clipped enough to represent the story in its best light.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David M. 03/04/2017
    David M. 03/04/2017
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A little trite"

    Well narrated but I found the story a little inconsistent. the main subject was a bit childish, acting like a student, when she was obviously mature. That being said I will read the second one, so it can't be all bad. :)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jay 07/02/2017
    Jay 07/02/2017 Member Since 2016
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Clumsy humour and inconsistent characters"

    I really wanted to like this book! The premise is interesting and the characters seemed to have potential.

    Unfortunately the whole story was littered with clunky references to how quirky and madcap St Mary's is - definitely too much tell and not enough show. The constant references to tea and tea drinking smacked of someone who lacks any interesting characteristics and so has adopted a passion for something very mundane to define themselves.

    I've read a lot of reviews that describe the humour as being very British, which it could well be if it had more self awareness. Overall the story was underdeveloped, the characters boring and the pace inconsistent.

    The narrator did as good a job as she could with the source material.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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  • Sires
    Chesapeake, OH, United States
    13/04/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Action Adventure Time Travel Novel w/ Good Reader"

    In case this bothers a reader: this is a first person point of view story. It also contains some (brief) sex and adult language. Probably I wouldn't have even thought about either factor except someone had rated it as one star because it wasn't CLEAN enough. I really hate that term applied to books, unless someone if referring to the condition of the pages rather than the content. The setting is the UK at some near future point in time.

    Any way, the heroine, a woman who has completed her doctorate in history, is recruited by an old teacher who once at a pivotal moment in her life provided guidance, into a time travel project. There's lots of action and adventure as she has to cope not just with being sent back to dangerous time periods, but also with problems from the future.

    People who enjoy Connie Willis' time travel books or Kage Bakers novels of the Company might enjoy at least this first book. It's complete in itself although it is part of a series. It's also science fiction rather than romance.

    I would also point out that despite the enthusiasm of what I assume are fans, that Taylor hasn't yet reached the skill level of the other authors I have mentioned. If it were possible to give half stars I would give the story 3.5 stars. On at least two occasions the author dumps a load of information on the reader rather than feeding it bit by bit. Luckily the narrator, who I do not think I've encountered before, was able to wend her way through it. I'm not sure how I would have reacted had I been reading the print version at those points-- probably put it down for a while. But I'm sure I would have gone back because I've developed a bit of soft spot for the heroine.

    158 of 170 people found this review helpful
  • Annissa
    Akron, OH, United States
    6/06/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Does what it says on the tin"

    This was a moderately enjoyable read. I must admit that it made my historian's heart beat a little bit faster to read about historians living and exploring historical events. However, the characters in the story never really came alive for me. Motivations and personalities never really seemed to gel and when I finished the book I still felt like I didn't know anyone in the book, not even the protagonist. I prefer character-driven stories, and this was very much action-oriented. Not bad, but not really my cup of tea, either. I also had difficulty understanding the time span of this book. What I thought had been a few months had actually been five years and I wonder if I wasn't paying attention or if the passage of time was really glossed over. That said, the story held my interest, even with little nitpicky criticisms I had about plot points, and I don't regret the purchase. However, it isn't likely I'll pick up Book 2 in this series.

    Zara Ramm did a good job narrating the book. While she did do accents, she didn't give characters distinctive voices. That, in addition to the aforementioned issues I had with characterization, plus the occasional nickname bandied about, made it difficult for me to tell some characters apart from one another.

    This is a fun read, but I would only recommend it to people who want to enjoy a little bit of bubble gum reading.

    74 of 81 people found this review helpful
  • Peter and Katherine
    Flagstaff, AZ, United States
    29/06/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Plot had great promise"
    Any additional comments?

    This book was a terrible disappointment. The general concept behind the story really excited me. It could have been fabulous if not for the way it was written. The sarcastic main character is annoying and shallow. All the characters are shallow. This is the sort of book that Hollywood might turn into a fast paced action thriller focused on special effects. If thats your thing, than you might like this book. The narration was fine but couldn't overcome the lack of depth to the story.

    12 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • Kathy
    Davis, CA, United States
    15/08/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Adventures in Time Travel!"

    I know there are folks who buy a book because of its cover. I got this one because of its title--I just couldn't resist it! Besides, time travel is 'in' right now and often can be very entertaining.

    Over all, I found the story enjoyable and a fun read. The heroine is surprisingly able and competent to handle herself in difficult situations and to save the day for her colleagues. I found this a bit incongruous with the narrator's particular British accent, in that I just could not imagine someone who talked like that punching someone in the face or being rough and tough enough to carry the story. Yet, Max was just that kind of heroine. I guess you just can't judge a book by its accent!

    In contrast to a previous reviewer, I enjoyed this book much more than Connie Willis' two World War II time travel books, which I found very unsatisfying and frustrating. Jodi Tayor's character, Max, has actual relationships with other characters and all these characters are more developed. I found Max's adventures in time travel into the past much more engaging. The Willis books, while expertly researched, were pure drudgery for me.

    If you love time travel books and are happy with a very British sounding heroine, this book will be a fun read for you. Go for it!

    63 of 72 people found this review helpful
  • 🌺Sara🌺
    16/07/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "One Disjointed Story Line After Another"

    I tried this book because of all the favorable reviews here on audible and all the positive comparisons to Connie Willis' collection of books. I have enjoyed the the first two books in Willis' time travel series very much and hoped for more along that genre with this series. That was not to be. To me, this book had tons of potential--but in the end the story was too light weight, the action jumped around too much and the characters became blurred and vague.

    At first, I liked the narration as Hamm's voice was pleasant--but as the reading progressed everything started sounding the same. Flat and monotone --no matter what action was occurring at the time. I agree with another reviewer that it felt like a long string of TV episodes. In the end it wasn't enough to hold my interest. I gave up due to sheer boredom. Can't recommend.

    49 of 57 people found this review helpful
  • Matthew
    SEATTLE, WA, United States
    16/06/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A female thriller for all listeners"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, maybe not for everyone, but certainly fans of scifi/thrillers with a serious comedic spin. Taylor writes in an almost stream of concious manner, and Zara Ramm brings authenticity and wonderful humour to the narration.
    There is just enough adult themes to temper the humour, and although it does require a bit of a stretched belief model, I do recommend it.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    Max ( our hero ) is difficult not to cheer for, and engages us all the way. The bad guys are not very well crafted, at least in this first book of what I hope is a long series.


    What about Zara Ramm’s performance did you like?

    Everything. She sparkles. Humour, drama, authenticity, and consistency. What's not to like?


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    I am not creative enough to get this one nailed.


    Any additional comments?

    This is the first of what promises to be a classic series of funny/serious/scifi time travel thrillers, in classic British style. There is a slight "chick lit" aspect to the offering, but it is highly enjoyable for everyone. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and have downloaded the sequel already. Highly recommended.

    54 of 63 people found this review helpful
  • Pamela
    United States
    2/02/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Less than expected"

    I had high hopes for this book, but it's far less interesting than its premise. If, like me, you're interested in the idea of somebody being able to explore historical periods, this is NOT a book for you. Though the characters travel back in time, we don't actually get any interaction with historical figures or even much description of the times or places. There is a lot of silly Adventure Story plot, but very little about time travel or English history.

    Worse still, the protagonist is annoying, and her character doesn't make sense. She's supposed to be a PhD in History, but she acts like a simpering and rather foolish teenager, even though she's a grown woman and, so we are told, a gifted scholar. A lot of the characters' interactions are straight out of a YA story about a high school for magical time-traveling teens, but, again, we are supposed to believe these are all intelligent adults. Zara Ramm's reading is perfectly competent, but the character is so annoying I found myself disliking her performance.
    I suggest skipping this one.

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • clifford
    United States
    15/09/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Bland take on Connie WIllis"

    This book has little in the way of captivation. As a reader/listener, I expect a plot where I give a damn. I want to get to know the characters and feel involved with the story. This book has a very strong reliance on Connie Willis' books. Only they are no where near as good. On one hand Taylor makes the story bigger, like a Hollywood film. On the other it flattens out the charm of Willis, also like a Hollywood film.

    While the protagonist has some spunk that I enjoyed, she was not someone I could find empathy for at all. The act of time travel was much too casual.

    This book is getting reviews that are way too good for this middling story. I would suggest skipping it.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Gr
    MD
    25/04/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fun, sarcastic romp through time"

    Enjoy time travel books? Madeleine "Max" Maxwell, the main character is tough, irreverent sarcastic historian who travels in time. The book is good fun, full of excitement and humor and the narration is great. Listeners who enjoy a bit of humor with their SciFi will enjoy this book. Worth the credit.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • eag
    Portland, OR, United States
    3/11/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I ultimately returned this book..."

    Yes, as other reviewers have mentioned, the narrator/protagonist is likeable, but she's not very complete. None of the characters are, which is again something that many reviewers have mentioned, that it's not character driven. And the writing is mediocre, with a lot of disjointed, badly done exposition that is often pretty heavy handed.

    Just one damned thing after another aptly describes this book, as it is very episodic, very much "and then this, and then this, and then this..." There is a tenuous story arc, but it feels like a TV series where there's a season long story arc that is briefly touched on in each episode, but each episode is nonetheless a standalone unit, until the season end when the final few episodes are devoted to that arc. The action in this book is a lot like that.

    The narrator would be better suited to something without different voices or moments of danger, something more even keel, because she sounds very monotonic throughout. It's usually difficult to tell who's talking, and there's no difference between her drinking a cup of tea and fighting for her life.

    I did give this a good chance, listening to over half, enough to see what the plot was driving at. But I found that, with a little under 4 hours left to listen, I just didn't care.

    11 of 13 people found this review helpful
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  • Mike Murphy
    Switzerland
    1/06/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good British Chaps win the day by muddling through"

    The thing I enjoyed most about this book was that St. Mary's, both the institution and the people who give their lives to it, are quintessentially English in the way that they muddle through from one crisis to the next. They break the rules when the rules are silly or even when they're just inconvenient. They are chaotic to the point of recklessness, irreverent and prone to inappropriate humour, they're driven by a passion to do the right thing, they stumble over the simple day-to-day aspects of life, they are emotionally inarticulate, deeply loyal, keep their heads in a crisis, move TOWARDS the gunfire and do what needs to be done to make a bad situation better and, no matter how battered or beaten they are, if someone asks how they're doing the answers is always "I'm perfectly fine. Apart from a few cuts, scratches, a broken arm and a mild concussion. Nothing to worry about."

    Of course, the English aren't REALLY like this, but they'd like to be. They're probably the ONLY ONES who'd like to be. Which is where the charm and the emotional impact of this book lies. It gets inside this mindset and helps you fall in love with it. If you're NOT going to fall in love with it, you won't make it to the end of the book. If you do fall in love with it, then, like me, you'll be buying the second book in the series pronto.

    I am, of course, aware that this is a most improper review. I should have started by saying how this is about plucky time travelling historians from a near-future England, who, working in secret, find out what really happened in key historical events by the simple expedient of turning up, taking notes and trying not to get killed. I should have described the struggle between the good guys from St. Mary's and the bad guys who started in St. Mary's but didn't stay because they were the wrong sort: serious, power-hungry, organized and with no sense of humour at all. I should have commented on how well Jodi Taylor writes the historical scenes set behind the lines in the Battle of the Somme and gives a remarkably effective pen sketch of what it was like to be an unarmed civilian on the receiving end of a cavalry charged by the 15th Hussars in the Peterloo Massacre in 1819.

    Instead, I rushed on to the bits I found most important. Perhaps the spirit of St. Mary's is infectious. I hope so.

    This is the book I was hoping for when I bought Connie Willis' "Blackout" and "All Clear" novels (which I didn't manage to finish - so disappointing after her wonderful "Doomsday Book").

    Part of what makes the madcap Englishness of St Mary's so appealing is that it is seen through the eyes of Madeleine Maxwell, "Max", a brilliant and brave woman who also has "damaged misfit" written all the way through her like "Brighton" in a bar of rock. Max is insightful and brave and dedicated and also distracted, socially inept, emotionally withdrawn, constantly in trouble with authority and ceaselessly, ravenously curious.

    She is a well drawn character who makes the whole novel credible. Her relationships, her actions in the face of disaster, her breakdowns and her triumphs humanize what could otherwise have felt like a description of a slightly smug boy's club.

    I recommend this book to anyone who wants to meet the English as they ought to be.

    By the way, the attitude to History (which of course has a capital H) is also very British. The title of the book is actually the definition offered by the influential British historian, Arnold Toynbee: "It's just one damned thing after another."

    78 of 87 people found this review helpful
  • Nicole P
    England
    7/04/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Best Audio that I have ever listened to"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I read Just One Damned thing after another and was enthralled by the story of Madeline Maxwell and St Mary's. I quickly devoured the rest of the series but nothing could have prepared me for the audio version.

    The wonderful narration by Zara Ramm makes these amazing books come to life. This is no monotone reading of the book. Ms Ramm brings the characters to life in an amazing way. Every character has their own distinct accent.What also helps is that the book is written in the first person so you really feel that it is Max, herself, telling you of her adventures working for the Institute of Historical Research.

    It is quite obvious that the author, Jody Taylor, has a passion for history (and luckily for me she appears to like all the same historical events that I do) as she crams all of her books with beautifully told versions of the events. These books are fast paced, and leave you gasping for breath and of course the St Mary's cure all for all disasters a nice cup of tea.


    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Crackdown
    UK
    6/05/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fantasy/Drama/Humour/History. This has it all!"

    Bizarrely, (I am from the UK), I heard about this off a friend in the USA, even though it is a British author and novel.

    I wasn't disappointed by the recommendation. This has everything, fantasy, drama, humour all wrapped around history. That just about ticks all my boxes of things that I enjoy in a book.

    If you're not too keen on history you might find the passages that deal with important historical periods a bit overbearing. However, give it a try because that aside, the drama, fantasy and humour shines through. Personally I love history, and that love stems from our mother who was a font of knowledge when it came to all things history. It brought up many happy memories, a job well done.

    The narrator also does a really good job, and it was a pleasure to listen through to the end.

    If you're a fan of works from authors such as Terry Pratchett or Neil Gaiman then this should appeal. Although not quite the same in the sense that you don't have the fantasy animals or people, this is based on time-travel for its fantasy, it is still well written.

    I enjoyed this so much I immediately downloaded the second book in the series, and although the third book isn't available from Audible, I did download that to my Kindle to read. I hope the third book is added to the Audible catalog soon, because these are a series of books that work really well as audio books.

    35 of 41 people found this review helpful
  • al
    2/12/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fantastic and fasinating romp through time"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Just One Damned Thing After Another to be better than the print version?

    A fantastic and engaging performance.


    What other book might you compare Just One Damned Thing After Another to, and why?

    I'm a great fan of time travel adventures such as Arthur C Clarke's Time Odessy and Doctor who. This book brought an unusual but somewhat comfortable and very British feel to time travel.


    What does Zara Ramm bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    I enjoyed the portrayal of the characters set out buy the tones and warmth of Zara Ramm's voice. The performance really brought the book to life.


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    A very British romp through time, with tea.


    Any additional comments?

    Extremely enjoyable - give it a try!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Suzanne
    Innsbruck, Austria
    16/07/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Wonderful!"

    I listen to audiobooks at work (whilst designing websites and logos) and after a phase of listening to relatively heavy books, felt that I needed something:

    - funny
    - light-hearted
    - with a streak of "fantasy"
    - ideally British or European - American humour just doesn't seem to be as funny to me

    "Just one damned thing after another" was a wonderful choice. Funny, clever, very British, and well-narrated, it made me laugh, kept me engaged throughout and left me sad at the end. Fortunately, the second book is also on Audible, and the third is on my Kindle. The fourth is coming out mid-July, so in short order, I'll have heard or listened to them all.

    One comment is that it may be that the book needed a bit of editing - there was some repetition etc. but this wasn't a problem in the Audiobook version. It may be that these little editorial issues are more annoying when I read the book (as opposed to listening to it), but I can live with this. I mention this because there are folks who are a lot more pernickety than I am!

    Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this. More, please!

    27 of 32 people found this review helpful
  • Tuppence
    Dorset, UK
    19/06/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "New Author"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Just One Damned Thing After Another to be better than the print version?

    I have never read any of these books before, I found them brilliant. I love the character and it is narrated so well.

    Many thanks


    What did you like best about this story?

    The character of Max is great.


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    I think the charge of dinosaur alley was the best visually described scene


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    bringing history to life for all


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • oaklands
    Norfolk
    19/06/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great funny feel good story even the sad parts."
    Where does Just One Damned Thing After Another rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I would place this book among my top 20 books and the Author amongst my top 10.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Max and the chief are obviousely the leading characters but really all the St Mary characters are funny light hearted that really make you smile with there comments.


    Which character – as performed by Zara Ramm – was your favourite?

    First book I have read by this Auther cannot say anyone was my "favourite" I loved that they all have quick witty replies, I will be buying more of this author's and narrator's work and will very probably soon get a favourite


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    I knew I'd like this book from the first few moments of listening it is light and breezy with an difference and made me smile though out (makes my husband nervous)


    Any additional comments?

    I was duboius about buying this book, 1 it was very cheap not a good sign I thought probably rubbish. 2 I'd never heard of the Author. But I really enjoyed itand would not hesitate to recommend it. Reminded me a bit of the "Thursday" series.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • nell
    15/06/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Really good fun"

    Great read , certainly different and colourful made me chuckle and smile a lot Need more!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • happy loon
    12/06/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "fast paced... a bit bonkers..and a lot of fun!"

    I enjoyed this even though as the title suggested things just kept going wrong for the intended hard working people of St Mary's.
    just downloaded book 2 and the free 2.5 one. action packed and interesting range of characters. something very different for me but I really enjoyed it...now...must get on with the next book!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Melanie Preston Lewis
    London
    23/05/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "wonderful"

    a wonderful, quirky, typically English story. Lovely, likeable characters and a fun filled, action packed, if only it were true plot. Excellent pace keeps the listener interested from start to finish. Narrator was superb. I will definitely be reading more from this author

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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