At the end of "A Second Chance", I was more than a little unsure where this series was going. I enjoyed the book, even the harrowing section about the fall of Troy, but the ending, which took Max into an alternate universe, seemed a little weak. I'd been concerned that the ideas had dried up and St Mary's was no longer going to be part of the story-line.
I needn't have worried. "A Trail Through Time" actually boosts the series: some of the gloom and doom of the old St Mary's is lifted without diminishing its anarchic character and recalcitrant nature; Max is delivered from life in the office to spend more time in a pod - well, actually, more time running away from people and things that are trying to kill her; and we get to visit London during the Black Death and again during a seventeenth century Frost Fair, Pompeii during the great eruption and Egypt at the time of the heretic Pharaoh, Akhenaten.
There are new set of bad(ish) guys - the sinister, black-clad Time Police - and a new, but still familiar, St. Mary's.
What held everything together for me was the way Max embraced her second chance. She doesn't take it for granted and she doesn't get off easily but she commits herself to her new world with her usual passion, bravery and wonderfully dry and quintessentially British humour. We learn more about the darkness of her childhood and see her tested to her limits. She comes out of it stronger and somehow more grown up but without being any less of a walking hurricane.
"A Trail Through Time" reinvigorated the series for me. I'm looking forward to seeing what Max gets up to next.