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Cross Time Engineer: 1 (Adventures of Conrad Stargard, Book 1) [Mass Market Paperback]

Leo Frankowski
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 259 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books Inc. (Nov 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345327624
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345327628
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 10.8 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,273,097 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Essef - Accidentally plunged back in time to Poland in the year 1231, Conrad Schwartz is determined to build up the country before the Mongol invasion that will come ten years later.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
The Conrad Stargard books have a great, well-executed concept behind them: An engineer goes back in time accidentally, and uses his knowledge to leapfrog from medieval technology to something much more advanced, in the hope of fighting off the Mongols when they invade and generally improve living conditions.

A cute side-effect is that when he standardizes things, he uses his late 20th century knowledge to improve on what he had in the world he came from. But the bulk of the enjoyment of the book is in watching Conrad teach those around him to massively improve their lives; if you've ever wondered whether you could improve on Robinson Crusoe-level technology if you were abandoned on a desert island, this is the book for you!

As the series goes on, however, things cater increasingly to male fantasies, and there are a few too many deus ex machinas in the form of help given to Conrad by the time-travelers whose machine he stumbled into. That said, I'm still giving this book five stars due to the sheer originality and quality of execution of the core idea.
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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  24 reviews
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 5 Book Series 7 Aug 2000
By silliman89 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is the best time travel series in a realistic timeline ever written. Before these books, L. Sprague De Camp had held that title for decades with his "Lest Darkness Fall", but it was too short. Mark Twain may be the most famous with his "Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court", but that is more light hearted than serious, and disappointing at the end. The Conrad series delivers on all the promise, and even after 5 books, it still leaves you wanting more. (There is a sixth book now, but Conrad is a minor character, and I've reviewed it separately.)
I say realistic timeline, because Conrad isn't really from our timeline. I was a little suspicious right from the start, but it wasn't until Conrad reminisced about the Mongols invading France that I thought "Hey, wait a minute". It turns out that it didn't happen to us (even without Conrad). But the historians I read agree that it would have, except the great Khan died and the Mongols had a war of succession which they never recovered from. This is often used as an example of the actions of one person changing history. I never even heard the story, until Conrad got me to look it up. Go figure.
This is an action story, with fighting and sex, where Conrad overcomes insurmountable obstacles, and usually has a good time along the way. The author doesn't just ignore the time travel though. He writes a science fiction sub-plot about that too. In fact, the author is obviously an engineer, not just because it takes an engineer for Conrad to build the things he does, but also from the way the books were planned out and crafted. Obviously the author planned the Mongol invasion and built the series around it, but he also foreshadows romantic sub-plots 3 books in advance.
I love these books, and share other reviewers disbelief that they haven't been reprinted since 1993. If you've already read them, and love them too, you might want to try "The Misplaced Legion (Videssos Cycle, Book 1)" by Harry Turtledove, about elements of one of Caesar's legions travelling into Rome's future of the Byzantine Empire. Only it's not the real Byzantine Empire, it's a parallel universe where magic works. Aside from that, it's Byzantium during the 1100's written by a Byzantine historian. And of course you'll want to read the "Island in the Sea of Time" series by S. M. Stirling, about modern day Nantucket going back in time to the Trojan War. These works are different, but also 5 star time travel books.
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Satisfying, if shallow 6 Nov 2001
By Annette C. Nelson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Very decent sci-fi / time-travel / alternate timeline treatment. If you're at all technically minded, and if you can look past the author's rather abysmal treatment of anyone of the female persuasion, you'll probably enjoy this as a nice break from something deeper and harder hitting. It's fun and diverting to imagine what one expert engineer who (unlike most of us technical rabble) actually knows how things work could do with 13th century technology, culture, and a great deal of luck.
The first 2-3 books of this series are by far the best, as near the end the author seems to loose a bit of interest - or at least creativity - and begins to engage some serious Deus Ex Machina plot elements with Conrad's friends in the distant future. Still, worth a read to those not offended by the "women are property - and they *love* it" garbage scattered throughout.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for scientific survival types 23 April 2004
By james - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Unbound
This book, and the others in this series are well thought out, fun, and fast reading books. This series is on my top 10 to re-read list. The book tickles that imaginative spot in most peoples brain that questions "what if I was stuck in poland Pre-Mongol invasion?" Sure we all have thought about it, but Leo Frankowski has brought the idea to life with "The Cross Time Engineer". This is a must read.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful tale of fantasy, history and science fiction! 4 Dec 2000
By Harvey H. Meeker - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I started reading this series with the second book the High-Tech Knight and only realized that I missed the first book after reading the third. It doesn't matter though as Frankowski's writing holds up very well throughout this series right up until the last two books which accelerate quickly downhill.
This book tells the tale of Conrad Stargard's (nee Schwartz) inadvertent journey back through time to medieval Poland. He there finds himself put upon to use his preponderant knowledge of engineering (and future events) to change the course of history. While he enjoys the comforts of the time (ahem) he also works to improve the lifestyle of all the people that surround him. In the process of making friends he also makes several enemies which engenders more than a few exciting moments.
The mixing of the future and the past makes for a tantalizing tale of fantasy, history and science fiction come together. This book starts it all and is well worth the effort to obtain as the information given here is referenced in several of the following books.
I have every single one of these books and excepting the last two books (Lord Conrad's Lady, only average, and Conrads Search for Rubber, which really should be avoided at all costs) they are all exceptional works.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review: Conrad Stargard #1-4 by Leo A. Frankowski 29 July 2013
By Will Knight - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Originally posted at Bibliophilia, Please [[...]

This review covers the first four books in the series, as they're kind of fast moving and these cover the first arc.

Move over Marty McFly! Here comes Conrad Stargard, and he will make out with your mother.

It's semi-modern day Poland, and Conrad got massively drunk, stumbled into a storeroom in an inn and passed out. He woke up in 1231 A.D., lost, penniless and without even knowing he was stranded in time. And then things got bad. He had a massive hangover.

Conrad's an engineer and a communist. The book does get into politics and religion a bit, but it's not a theological or philosophical book. It's about timetravel, action, and plenty of naked women. Sex scenes are not very graphic, but sex is pretty much ever-present. I don't know if it's a reflection of the times, or if the author just liked the idea of his main character having sex with tons of eager young ladies.

I like Conrad. He's a bit too stupidly moral and honorable, but he's a good main character for the times. Smart, resourceful, determined and on a mission. Thanks to a good education in history, Conrad knows just how much trouble Poland, and him and everyone in it, are in. The Mongols are coming in 10 years and will kill and ravage everything and everyone in sight. Well, not if Conrad has anything to say about it!

The first four books cover these 10 years and Conrad's attempt to prepare Poland to survive the Mongol Horde. It's a fun ride to watch him attempt the Industrial Revolution a couple hundred years before its time. Teaching blacksmiths how to make proper steel, introducing the loom for faster and better cloth, steam engines, a proper army, you name it. All to prepare to repel, or even defeat, the invading army coming.

The thing I enjoyed the most were the technological advances. Moving from the Middle Ages to steam power to armor, machines guns, airplanes, steamboats. It was pretty fun. By book two, I realized that he rarely didn't accomplish his goals, which relieved the tension of Poland being trampled by the Mongols, or Conrad dying, so I just went along for the ride and watched him change time. Not having the threat of failure may sound boring, but it actually made it more enjoyable for me. Go figure.

Don't forget time travel! Every now and then there's an interlude and we get a glimpse of people watching a "documentary" about Conrad's life. But as the books move on, time seems to split. Things are appear to be different between memories and recorded fact and alternate timelines pop up. Then things start to get all wibbly wobbly.

But enough spoilers. This was a pretty fun read. I read at the rate of about one book a day and enjoyed the ride. It's fast-paced, fun, sciency, action, and male centric. This series is not for everyone, but if you can move past the whole male-centric society without a really strong female character, then you'll have some fun.
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