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Timeline by Michael Crichton
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Timeline (1999)

by Michael Crichton

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Showing 1-5 of 147 (next | show all)
In this thriller from the author of Jurassic Park, Sphere, and Congo, a group of young scientists travel back in time to medieval France on a daring rescue mission that becomes a struggle to stay alive.

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
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“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
  thebblack | Jun 23, 2017 |
"Timeline" falls in class of books which are mass-market thriller, produced by authors like Sidney Sheldons of the world. I say this because apart from Sheldon, I've not really consumed this kind of fiction, so cannot really judge this book relatively. On it's own merit though, book is fairly gripping, tells a really good story, and keeps fast pace. Despite dialogues and actions filling the pages, any detour to describe the period or ambiance isn't distracting and fits well with the narrative.

Story is mix of science fiction and history, with key arc being how bunch of historians have to spend few days in 14th century medieval England due to time-travel gone wrong. Their adventures of surviving then ongoing 100 year war, world of knights, peasants, monks, warlords, and era of widespread violence and plundering occupy 70% of the book. Science part of fiction isn't too bad either; of course, it takes a leap from reality at some point.

Author had way too many convenient coincidences throughout historians' escapade in past to have them survive and come back. While I can still digest that, what I cannot get my head around is [spoiler] how CEO was killed mercilessly in the end, for no viable reason, and in most unbelievable way to happen in modern corporate. ( )
  ashishg | May 8, 2017 |
Timeline is a science fiction novel, in which a group of archeologists are able to utilize modern technology and quantum mechanics to travel to the past. In this gripping novel, the scientist are able to visit their archeological site as it was in the period they are trying to reconstruct. However, as is likely when messing with time, things go poorly, and perhaps not everyone will make it out alive. ( )
  BrittanyLyn | Apr 26, 2017 |
This book meant a great deal to me when I was fourteen and frequently fantasized about the past. I had a passing interest in quantum science as it was expressed here as well and had a notion of understanding it. I wasn't sure if the book would keep, but I read it again last summer and had a higher understanding of the contexts (and really appreciated the "Green Knight" reference) and was still completely moved by Marek and his place in the epilogue. It's great when a book keeps so well. ( )
  likecymbeline | Apr 1, 2017 |
This is one helluva time book! It is archaeology physics(QUANTUM THEORY) history architecture combined with an extremely racy narration of 14th century conflicts between French and the English for the superiority over castles!! This is my first Crichton book..and im in awe of his writing now. I deliberately chose to not read Jurassic Park, coz of the movies! And, im so happy i read TIMELINE...it has got these very in-depth descriptions of the period drama, the knights in shining armour, the lady-in-distress, a brilliant historian cum scientist, his faithful students cum assistants, and some very courageous characters namely Andre Marek, Christopher nee Chris Hughes, and Kate Erikson! What a great team does Crichton put together! And, of course there is the villain, an ambitious scientist cum entrepreneur who gets a dose of his own misdeed!!
An awesome space travel book. Definitely a must read for adventure seekers! ( )
  Sharayu_Gangurde | Jan 19, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 147 (next | show all)
''Timeline'' ends with Doniger delivering a caustic denunciation of the ''mania for entertainment'' that pervades American culture, in which jaded consumers increasingly seek an ''authenticity'' of experience that not even the most sophisticated ''artifice'' can offer. (Doniger wants to market time-travel as the ultimate amusement-park ride.) The irony, of course, is that few entertainment products are as artificial as Crichton's own work. Like shiny windup toys, his novels are diverting -- they're manically entertaining. (I gobbled up ''Timeline'' in a single sitting.) But like anything mechanical, they just end up repeating themselves. Whatever time Crichton is in, he's always writing the same book.
 
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Epigraph
"All the great empires of the future will be empires of the mind."
WINSTON CHURCHILL, 1953
"If you don't know history, you don't know anything."
EDWARD JOHNSTON, 1990
"I'm not interested in the future. I'm interested in the future of the future.
ROBERT DONIGER, 1996
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For Taylor
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He should never have taken that shortcut.
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Yet the truth was that the modern world was invented in the Middle Ages. Everything from the legal system, to nation-states, to reliance on technology, to the concept of romantic love had first been established in medieval times. These stockbrokers owed the very notion of a market economy to the Middle Ages. And if they didn't know that, then they didn't know the basic facts of who they were. Why they did what they did. Where they had come from. Professor Johnston often said that if you didn't know history, you didn't know anything. You were a leaf that didn't know it was part of a tree.
Today, everybody expects to be entertained, and they expect to be entertained all the time. Business meetings must be snappy, with bullet lists and animated graphics, so executives aren't bored. Malls and stores must be engaging, so they amuse as well as sell us. Politicians must have pleasing video personalities and tell us only what we want to hear. Schools must be careful not to bore young minds that expect the speed and complexity of television. Students must be amused – everyone must be amused, or they will switch: switch brands, switch channels, switch parties, switch loyalties. This is the intellectual reality of Western society at the end of the century.

In other centuries, human beings wanted to be saved, or improved, or freed, or educated. But in our century, they want to be entertained. The great fear is not of disease or death, but of boredom. A sense of time on our hands, a sense of nothing to do. A sense that we are not amused.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0345417623, Mass Market Paperback)

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

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:10 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

A Yale history professor travels back in time to 15th century France and gets stuck, unable to return to the present, so his colleagues organize a rescue and on landing in France become involved in the Hundred Years War.

» see all 7 descriptions

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