- Published: 2003
- Number of pages: 512 pages
- Format: Epub
- File Size: 2.42 MB
- Authors: Michael Crichton
In an Arizona desert, a man wanders in a daze, speaking words that make no sense. Within twenty-four hours he is dead, his body swiftly cremated by his only known associates. Halfway around the world, archaeologists make a shocking discovery at a medieval site. Suddenly they are swept off to the headquarters of a secretive multinational corporation that has developed an astounding technology. Now this group is about to get a chance not to study the past but to enter it. And with history opened up to the present, the dead awakened to the living, these men and women will soon find themselves fighting for their very survival—six hundred years ago.
“Exciting . . . classic adventure . . . [a] swashbuckling novel . . . Crichton delivers.”—USA Today
“More screams per page . . . than Jurassic Park and The Lost World combined . . . The pace will leave many breathlessly grasping for oxygen masks.”—The San Diego Union-Tribune
“One of his best . . . [a] nonstop roller coaster of a novel.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer
Review “COMPULSIVE READING . . . BRILLIANTLY IMAGINED.”–Los Angeles Times”EXCITING . . . CLASSIC ADVENTURE . . . [A] SWASHBUCKLING NOVEL . . . CRICHTON DELIVERS.”–USA Today”MORE SCREAMS PER PAGE . . . THAN JURASSIC PARK AND THE LOST WORLD COMBINED. . . . THE PACE WILL LEAVE MANY BREATHLESSLY GRASPING FOR OXYGEN MASKS.”–San Diego Union-TribuneFrom the Paperback edition. Amazon.com Review When you step into a time machine, fax yourself through a “quantum foam wormhole,” and step out in feudal France circa 1357, be very, very afraid. If you aren’t strapped back in precisely 37 hours after your visit begins, you’ll miss the quantum bus back to 1999 and be stranded in a civil war, caught between crafty abbots, mad lords, and peasant bandits all eager to cut your throat. You’ll also have to dodge catapults that hurl sizzling pitch over castle battlements. On the social front, you should avoid provoking “the butcher of Crecy” or Sir Oliver may lop your head off with a swoosh of his broadsword or cage and immerse you in “Milady’s Bath,” a brackish dungeon pit into which live rats are tossed now and then for prisoners to eat. This is the plight of the heroes of Timeline, Michael Crichton’s thriller. They’re historians in 1999 employed by a tech billionaire-genius with more than a few of Bill Gates’s most unlovable quirks. Like the entrepreneur in Crichton’s Jurassic Park, Doniger plans a theme park featuring artifacts from a lost world revived via cutting-edge science. When the project’s chief historian sends a distress call to 1999 from 1357, the boss man doesn’t tell the younger historians the risks they’ll face trying to save him. At first, the interplay between eras is clever, but Timeline swiftly becomes a swashbuckling old-fashioned adventure, with just a dash of science and time paradox in the mix. Most of the cool facts are about the Middle Ages, and Crichton marvelously brings the past to life without ever letting the pulse-pounding action slow down. At one point, a time-tripper tries to enter the Chapel of Green Death. Unfortunately, its custodian, a crazed giant with terrible teeth and a bad case of lice, soon has her head on a block. “She saw a shadow move across the grass as he raised his ax into the air.” I dare you not to turn the page! Through the narrative can be glimpsed the glowing bones of the movie that may be made from Timeline and the cutting-edge computer game that should hit the market in 2000. Expect many clashing swords and chase scenes through secret castle passages. But the book stands alone, tall and scary as a knight in armor shining with blood. –Tim Appelo –This text refers to the audio_download edition. From Kirkus Reviews So you think, along with all those benighted scientists, that the physical world has been pretty completely explained, and theres not likely to be anything new under the sun? Well, then, suggests blockbuster king Crichton, how about something old- and-newspecifically, quantum teleportation back to medieval France? Readers who checked under the bed for raptors after finishing The Lost World (1995), and whoever else remains ignorant of the hundreds of time-travel fantasies by non-bestselling authors, will be happily scared to know that the perils of journeying through time are just as great even if its a bunch of modern investigators of a contemporary mystery, rather than sleeping dinosaur DNA, making the trip. (First printing of 1,500,000; Literary Guild Main Selection) — Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. –This text refers to the audio_download edition. From AudioFile It all begins with an unwitting couple accidentally striking down a mysterious scientist with their car in the middle of a New Mexico desert. In the flashes of events that occur thereafter, Crichton takes listeners on a quantum journey through past and present. Stephen Lang is a great fit for this edgy mystery. He balances the story’s incredible occurrences with an even-keeled performance. Lang gives life not only to the characters he reads but to their environs. Timeline will not disappoint longtime fans or newcomers to Crichton’s work. R.A.P. (c) AudioFile 2000, Portland, Maine– Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine –This text refers to the audio_download edition. From School Library Journal YA-Combining time travel, archaeological exploration, and a power struggle in medieval France, this action-packed story will grab teens’ attention from the very first page. ITC, a company located in the New Mexico desert, is at the forefront of the new science of quantum technology. It has secretly developed a means of transporting humans back in time. In the Dordogne region of southwest France, a team of company-sponsored archaeologists and historians is unearthing the remains of a medieval castle, village, and monastery with the goal of developing a major tourist attraction. The words “HELP ME” followed by “4/7/1357” written in ink and on paper used in the 14th century are found at the site. It seems that Professor Johnston, the team leader, demanded that he be transported back to the settlement, and obviously he is in danger there. A rescue effort is launched, and five people are transported back to April 1357: two escorts from ITC and three historians from the Dordogne project. Their time machine allows them 37 hours for the rescue, but within minutes of their arrival, the escorts are killed by a band of horsemen. The three survivors set out to find the missing man, and their race against time results in a gripping tale. YAs will be fascinated by this juxtaposition of modern-day physics with details of a medieval siege.Molly Connally, Kings Park Library, Fairfax County, VA Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. –This text refers to the audio_download edition. From Library Journal With Timeline, Crichton has written his best book since Jurassic Park. Sometime in the future, a group of students is studying an archaeological site in France when the professor in charge disappears. While uncovering 600-year-old documents from the remains of a monastery, they discover a note dated April 7, 1357, and written in the professor’s hand that says “Help me.” Three people then embark on a journey back in time to rescue the professor. The first third of the book sets up the plot and discusses quantum technology. The rest of the story is a heart-pounding adventure in 14th-century France. Crichton is a master at explaining complex concepts in simple terms. As in most of his novels, the characters are forgettable and overshadowed by ideas, but who reads Crichton for his characters? His plot is intriguing, and his well-researched history and science are certain to prompt discussions. Highly recommended.—Jeff Ayers, Seattle P.L. Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. –This text refers to the audio_download edition. From Publishers Weekly “And the Oscar for Best Special Effects goes to: Timeline!” Figure maybe three years before those words are spoken, for Crichton’s new novelAdespite media reports about trouble in selling film rights, which finally went to ParamountAis as cinematic as they come, a shiny science-fantasy adventure powered by a superior high concept: a group of young scientists travel back from our time to medieval southern France to rescue their mentor, who’s trapped there. The novel, in fact, may improve as a movie; its complex action, as the scientists are swept into the intrigue of the Hundred Years War, can be confusing on the page (though a supplied map, one of several graphics, helps), and most of its characters wear hats (or armor) of pure white or black. Crichton remains a master of narrative drive and cleverness. From the startling opening, where an old man with garbled speech and body parts materializes in the Arizona desert, through the revelation that a venal industrialist has developed a risky method of time-travel (based on movement between parallel universes; as in Crichton’s other work, good, hard science abounds), there’s not a dull moment. When elderly Yale history prof Edward Johnston travels back to his beloved 15th century and gets stuck, and his assistants follow to the rescue, excitement runs high, and higher still as Crichton invests his story with terrific period detail and as castles, sword-play, jousts, sudden death and enough bold knights-in-armor and seductive ladies-in-waiting to fill any toystore’s action-figure shelves appear. There’s strong suspense, too, as Crichton cuts between past and present, where the time-travel machinery has broken: Will the heroes survive and make it back? The novel has a calculated feel but, even so, it engages as no Crichton tale has done since Jurassic Park, as it brings the past back to vigorous, entertaining life. Agent, Lynn Nesbit. 1,500,000 first printing; Literary Guild nain selection; simultaneous large-print edition and audiobook. (Nov. 16) Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. –This text refers to the audio_download edition.
Reviews from Amazon users, collected at the time the book is getting published on UniedVRG. It can be related to shiping or paper quality instead of the book content:
⭐ This is an interesting twist on time travel. I had read it years before in paperback. However, I was disappointed with the Kindle version. The story has been edited and abridged! I am aware of at least 3 (pretty important) scenes which are in the original but that do not appear in the Kindle version.Is the author’s estate aware you made these changes??
⭐ *****SPOILERS*****Early on the characters start out going into painful details about quantum mechanics that, even as a serious Sci-Fi fan, I found tedious and booing. Then they make a SERIOUS, and rather stand-out point that time travel is impossible and they are actually traveling into alternate universes… OK!! I can get with that! The fact that alternate universes would exist in different time periods (they travel to an alternate universe which exists in the 1300s.) seemed very strange, but I was willing to go with it. I mean it IS fiction, I’ll go with your unique twist on how alternate universes exist. But when a person who traveled to an alternate universe was able to leave a “Help Me” note in a pile of old parchments in the 1300s which is found in THIS universe, it took a turn that made NO Sense at ALL.After that, the book just goes on and on and on in the 1300s and nothing actually happens.. it’s a game of tag. Run. Hide. Get Captured. Escape. Run. Hide. Get Captured. Escape. Get into a fight. Run. Hide. Get Captured. Escape. Just trying to waste time in the book (about 50% of it) until the machine automatically returns home.I powered through the last 3/4 of the book just waiting to get to what I expected was a Twist ending discovering that the scientists misinterpreted the “Alternate Universe” theory and they WERE actually traveling back in time…. but no. The characters returned home from the alternate universe only to check out the grave of one of their party members who stayed behind… which, AGAIN, WOULDN’T EXIST IN THIS UNIVERSE.Characters: Not interestingStory: Not interestingSci-fi: Nonsensical.
⭐ I had such high hopes for the movie when it came out. But, of course, they ruined it. Not like other books you read that are great novels and would be very difficult to capture the feeling you get reading it. The great movie is right there written in the book. They just need to try reading it. Anyway, the grittyness of the dark ages is so real in this that you wonder how anyone survived back then. Definitely not like an Errol Flynn movie. Nobody spoke English, the knights are built like body builders, and if you’re caught in the woods, you’re assumed to be a bandit and immediately killed. Dang. It’s good.
⭐ For twenty years or more, Crichton was king of the sci-fi thriller genre. His creative genius is splashed across many books that I would easily rate 5-stars. This is just not one of them. I loved the detail he put into the setup and operation of the system that allows the characters to travel in time. But one of the problems with any time travel book is that you have to decide where to focus the bulk of the story – on the aspects of time travel, or on the adventures at the destination time period? Crichton chose the latter, which led to a book about 14th century France. If you like that time period, you’ll probably enjoy the book. It’s well written, but I was hoping for more science fiction and less historical drama.
⭐ I enjoyed this book so well that I give it AS MANY as 4 stars. However, there were several things that frustrated me, thus, ONLY 4 stars.I am not especially scientifically minded, so the explanation of how the quantum physics worked was lost on me. Just had to ‘believe’ that it worked.Mostly (ie. transcription errors).Although the personalities of the characters were described well, we don’t get to know them well enough to believe in them. For example: In the present, Marek is well versed in jousting and swordplay. However, it seems unbelievable to think that he would be better than the knights that actually lived doing these things – they needed to in order to save their lives. In the present, Kate is a mountain climber – a good one. However, it’s a bit of a stretch to believe that she could climb around the outside of the castle wall or jump 5 feet to the next rafter of a ceiling and not fall. Chris is pretty believable.The action was smooth and could be followed easily. However, when the trio got into desperate circumstances, there were too many times that they were saved JUST in time. … I liked that though Marek lived in a different universe, it was so closely like the universe that he came from that his ‘death stone’ gave a satisfying ending to his life.
⭐ Possible spoiler alert at the end of this review.From an author who died too soon, you can feel your own heart beating with every page.You almost feel that this is a true story, even though that’s obviously not possible.This is a true page turner.I’m not a fan of history, but this makes the period come alive.Everything you could possibly expect from a master storyteller. Half the time my heart was in my mouth.Though this is an old book, I don’t want to spoil the fun.The only thing to say is, while I felt the ending was what I expected I was still surprised.The only slight disappoint, was their treatment of Doniger. Though he was a self absorbed egotist, I’m not sure their actions were appropriate. They should have, at the very least, sent him to where they had been.
⭐ This is by far one of my favorite books. Crichton had such an amazing way of mixing science and history with action and adventure in ways that never got boring or preachy. This book is basically split into two: the first dealing with quantum physics and time/inter dimensional travel and medieval history. Sure, there’s a plot hole dealing with alternate dimensions and how one person stuck in an alternate dimension could leave a message for people in our dimension that he never took the time to explain, but this book is so much fun that it’s easy to forgive its flaws in exchange for the constant and consistent entertainment it gives. It has some great twists, a thrilling joust, time travel, deranged knights guarding secret passageways, Greek Fire, and so many sword fights. It’s too bad that the movie was so disappointing, but hopefully Netflix will give this the mini series treatment some day and do it justice. Such a waste of Billy Connolly.
⭐ It’s great that so many people love this book, but I disagree totally. It’s interminable and written poorly. My first Crichton, so I don’t know his style, and obviously it clicks with millions of people. For me, it never seemed to end, I didn’t care about the characters, and there are times when research for the 14th Century scenes seems to have come straight out of Shrek. The premise is fantastic, but the execution clunky and simplistic, I felt. Very disappointed.
⭐ This is not really a sci-fi novel. It’s a speculative treatise on medieval life with a few sci-fi/time travel elements grafted on. Like others have noted, the capture/escape/chase/repeat cycles are endless. A full hundred pages of that could easily be cut from text without materially affecting the plot. I ended up quickly paging through the last 150 pages of the novel just to be done with it. It’s a page-turner all right, but not in a good way.
⭐ This book was a fun read. In many ways it reminded me of Jurassic Park because it has a similar type premise: Scientist fiddles around with something he probably shouldn’t, chaos ensues. The only criticism I have is that (because so much goes wrong,) at times I was finding myself thinking with frustration: “What now?!” …But despite the rather formulaic unfolding of the story, it still manages to entertain the reader in a popcorn-type suspense yarn that is a great way to spend a rainy day, or a sleepless night.It IS a page-turner that does not get bogged down in overly complicated explanations about multi-verse theory or quantum physics, but provides enough information to provide the average reader enough verisimilitude to make this “time-travel” yarn seem plausible.This is the first book I’ve read by this author, and I think that I will take a look at some of his other works ….and what better complement can I give than that?
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