“Ships And Stings And Wedding Rings” is a short story in this tradition. The audiobook version is ninety minutes long, a perfect length for a relaxing listen after a good Christmas lunch.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the series, I should explain that “The Chronicles Of St. Mary’s” is a series of books about a bunch on very British historians who research past events by getting in a time machine, turning up at the right moment, watching what happens and trying not to get killed. The last part is often much more difficult than you might imagine.
The humour of the books comes from the insistence on the application of British pluck to muddle through, regardless of what is thrown at them. The darker tones of the books come from the dire nature of the things that behalf them: wars. plagues, sieges, fire storms and the interference of people with ill intent.
This short story doesn’t dwell on the darker aspects of the St. Mary’s experience. It’s a feel-good adventure where the team have to pop back to Ancient Egypt to try and correct a mistakes before anyone knows it’s been made, and before the entire time-line collapses into chaos if everything falls butter-side-down.
The text is brisk and witty and appropriately happy ever afterish, or as happy ever after as something as chaotic and crisis prone can be. Certainly at least happy until after the New Year’s Eve hangover has dissipated.
If you already enjoy St Mary’s then this a happy little Christmas break. If you’re new to St. Mary’a this could be a way of seeing if you like it. If you do like it, then start with “Just One Damned Thing After Another” and enjoy the ride.