One of the best things about these extra short stories that fit into the overall Chronicles of St. Mary’s world is that you can enjoy them without worrying about where they fit into the larger context of the story. They’re a short peek into the many, many other time travel trips that the historians have to take to keep up their funding, and are written to good effect as quick escapism.
This particular story, a short jaunt to Ancient Rome to check on Julius Caesar and Cleopatra, still manages to examine one of the ultimate time travel paradoxes. Though Taylor has established that History does NOT like to be messed with in her universe, questions still arise in this adventure. Did something happen because the historians were there? Would things have turned out differently if they hadn’t gone? Or did these events always happen, because the historians would always have gone?
The downside is that, while these short stories are still loads of fun and a nice treat, Taylor really shines when she has the space to include so much more detail. She has always managed that wonderful balance of including just enough detail to bring history to life without verging into “All this research I did, let me show you it.” There was SO MUCH about Ancient Rome that I could have absorbed here, but instead I learned about naming conventions and how annoying upper-class clothing was.
As always, the historians’ exfiltration from their mission was one of the highlights of the tale. In this instance, I found it laugh-out-loud humorous.
Currently reading: Short Fuse by Brent D. Seth
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