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3.6 out of 5 stars 1,686 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Random House Audio; Abridged edition (August 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0739334220
  • ISBN-13: 978-0739334225
  • Shipping Weight: 227 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars 1,686 customer reviews
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Product Description

From Amazon

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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
I was especially eager to read Timeline because I had just returned from the Perigord, the region in France where most of the action in Crichton's time-travel book takes place. I had toured the grim castles and fortified towns he describes, and canoed down the exact stretch of the Dordogne that's at the heart of the book. I found that Chrichton was able to bring the medieval period vividly to life, far better than I'd been able to do as I toured the area. As usual, Crichton provides enough of a believable scientific basis for his story to allow an easy suspension of disbelief. I was even more impressed by the amount of research he did to be able to paint such a clear and convincing picture of the area in the mid 14th century. OK, his characters do get into one scrape after another, and help manages to arrive just in the nick of time. But the book still kept me turning the pages late into the night. Robert Adler, author of Science Firsts: From the Creation of Science to the Science of Creation; and Medical Firsts: From Hippocrates to the Human Genome.
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By A Customer on May 30 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
When i first started reading this book, i was forced to. I saw an add for the movie, and i really wanted to see it, but my dad has this rule that I can't watch a movie if it's based on a book until I have read the book. It's not that I wasn't interested in the book, I just heard some stuff that Micheal Crichton was a bad author and all. Boy was I wrong. Even the beginning of the book compells you into an adventure that is great. My bedtime is like, eight, so that is when i need to stop reading. Like I do! I went out into the kitchen and got a flashlight. Yep, that's how good it is. I always put down the book reluctantly, and only when I had to. Otherwise I was in my room, reading. The whole book makes you anxiously wait for the next chapter. So I read the book, then saw the movie. The movie was good, but in no comparison to the book. Timeline is my favorite book. I could picture what was happening during the whole book. I am reading Jurassic Park now. It's good, but not as good as Timeline. I'd be surprised if anything was. But really it just is a good book with a lot of interesting stuff. I read it in a couple of days. The book is huge! That's how much time I spent reading the book, that's how good it is. I'm sorry if I'm no help, but my opinion is, get this book no matter what it takes. Seriously, this book is da' bomb. If you like medieval time books, then this book is a must have. Thanks for reading.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
3 ¼ stars
Several of the reviewers of The Jester recommended Timeline as a much more sophisticated medieval historical/action/fantasy novel and they were right, but to the extent that Crichton was more thorough than Patterson with his historical background, he is guilty of an equivalent degree of logical inconsistencies. This is an entertaining read because of the terrifically interesting theme of going back in time to the middle ages(although I think someone else with the initials MT came up with this idea around 120 years ago). If you keep your expectations moderate, and can appreciate the book's strengths without becoming too disgusted with Crichton's many, many inconsistencies, you should enjoy it.
- Crichton really does portray 14th century French-English feudalism with a lot of detail. For instance, he spends a fair amount of time describing the mill, both its structure and fortifications, and the industry going on inside of it, both milling grains and using water power to operate the bellows in a small steel foundry. I appreciated Crichton's thorough bibliography of historical sources.
- The illustrations were nice - why is having some drawings and illustrations in a book considered suitable only for children?
- The plot is fast paced and there is plenty of action.
HOWEVER......... the Cons:
- After going through a number of pages of genuinely scientific-seeming explanation (including diagrams) for how the technology works, likening it in some ways to a fax machine, Crichton drops the ball on the logic.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Loved the premise! But, about a hundred pages from the ending, I'd had enough swashbuckling and just wanted to see how it all ended. Predictable ending. Characters you've met before elsewhere. And regarding the quantum theory for making this type of travel possible: Just accept the silliness and enjoy the show. Someone here described this book as a blockbuster film on paper, which is exactly correct.
Frustrations encountered during this read:
Why is the Professor's plea for help -- written in an alternate universe -- found by the students in our own universe?
Why is nobody at the ITC lab bothered by the fact that these machines essentially destroy everyone who uses them? Individuals are killed and replaced by alternative versions from other universes, who get to swashbuckle their way through some other universe's version of 14th century France. Gee, sign me up!
Why did we get to meet such interesting characters in Arizona, never to encounter them again? And why is poor old Dr. Traub found wandering in the desert in a monk's robe, when he supposedly can only be returned to the laboratory from whence he came?
If you can shrug off these puzzling things with the same sense that enables you to sit through Terminator III, then this is the book for you! Enjoy.
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