Item description for Timeline by Michael Crichton...
Read by Stephen LangFour Cassettes, 6 Hours
Michael Crichton's new novel opens on the threshold of the twenty-first century. It is a world of exploding advances on the frontiers of technology. Information moves instantly between two points, without wires or networks. Computers are built from single molecules. Any moment of the past can be actualized -- and a group of historians can enter, literally, life in fourteenth-century feudal France.
Imagine the risks of such a journey.
Not since Jurassic Park has Michael Crichton given us such a magnificent adventure. Here, he combines a science of the future -- the emerging field of quantum technology -- with the complex realities of the medieval past. In a heart-stopping narrative, Timeline carries us into a realm of unexpected suspense and danger, overturning our most basic ideas of what is possible.
Outline 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
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Michael Crichton was born in Chicago, in 1942. His novels include The Andromeda Strain, The Great Train Robbery, Congo, Jurassic Park, Rising Sun, Disclosure, The Lost World, and Airframe. He is also the creator of the television series ER.
Michael Crichton lived in La Jolla, in the state of California. Michael Crichton was born in 1942 and died in 2008.
Michael Crichton has published or released items in the following series...
Just my cup of tea! A mixture of science, history, and the underlying social ramifications - if time travel becomes a reality. No fluff, no extraneous drawn out descriptions, just right into the action. Crichton, with his medical and science background infuses a sense of reality into his stories.
A great read I recommend to everyone.
A Sci-Fi type thriller that makes you think your reading historical fiction. Aug 3, 2008
A great book for someone looking for a deep, constantly changing, and different plot. There are no books that I know of that are anything like this book.
The Worst! Worse Than Ann Rice At Her Worst. Aug 3, 2008
I remember reading Timeline by Michael Crichton and getting sucked in by the high concept quantum foam wormholes and by the debunking of various medieval myths about height and bathing habits. It was a combination SF novel and history lesson. I started to notice some things. Some clumsy childish use of words like when a literary speed freak runs out of pills or powder. It kept happening and then I realized that behind the concept there was a vacuum. Then I asked myself, WHO THE HELL WROTE THIS THING? I knew who wrote it but I couldn't believe any one person could write such crap. It was manifestly and blatantly bad. I've heard the guy is kinda sadistic but what did I ever do to him?
It was like he was bored and, after too many martini's, announced I'm going to write a crap book and we'll see if any reviewer has the nerve to call me out and say he wouldn't use it for toilet paper. Better yet I'll write the chapter outlines and I'll give it to my ten year old granddaughter to write. Nah, then they would say I'm writing a childrens book. Wait, I'll give it to Ann Rice and she'll get bored and farm it out to her editors and that will be my manifestly dedicatedly crap book. Not only won't any reviewer have the nerve to write a bad review but all my dedicated readers won't notice the difference even after the see the crap movie. They'll keep coming back for more crap. Not this time you wormhole.
Excellent medieval thriller Jul 15, 2008
Excellent story of rising in the past, medieval history in the Perigord. A book also well documented. No stop in midair. Very good book.
My first Science Fiction book Jul 7, 2008
My family listened to this book on tape and overall we enjoyed the story. ITC is a company that is promoting and refining the ability to time travel. However, there are some problems with the travel; the travelers sometimes come back with their bodies off set so that the right side doesn't quite line up with the left creating disfigured bodies and malfunctioning innards. So there's the problem, ITC is bent on making a killing on their technology and for that they need travelers who are unaware of the little problems that can result as they work out the glitches.
We enjoyed the historical and architectural information throughout the book about 14th century medieval France. And we also were intrigued by quantum physics and the idea of time travel.
I did find the characters to be uninteresting and predictable. The one exception to this was Andre's surprise decision at the end of their time in medieval France.
I have never read or seen anything by Michael Crichton nor do I ever read science fiction so I had no idea what to expect from this genre or this author, but even down to my nine and eleven year old children enjoyed the story.