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Timeline [Mass Market Paperback]

Michael Crichton
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (173 customer reviews)

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Book Description

23 Jun 2009
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 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 . . .

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (23 Jun 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345517814
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345517814
  • Product Dimensions: 16.8 x 10.9 x 3.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (173 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,786,343 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

After graduating from Harvard Medical School, Michael Crichton embarked on a career as a writer and filmmaker, whose credits include 'The Andromeda Strain', 'Westworld', 'Jurassic Park', 'Rising Sun', 'Prey' and 'State of Fear' and the TV series 'ER'. He has sold over 150 million books which have been translated into thirty-six languages; twelve have been made into films. He is the only person to have had, at the same time, the number one book, movie and TV show in the United States.

Product Description

Amazon 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' most unlovable quirks. Like the entrepreneur in Crichton's Jurassic Park, Doniger plans a theme park featuring artefacts 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 marvellously 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." Try 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 high tech 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 armour shining with blood. --Tim Appelo --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"Timeline combines all the ingredients that make Crichton's books compulsive reading ... a brilliantly imagined story" Los Angeles Times "Hollywood's favourite thriller writer evokes the experience of time travel superbly ... a rollicking read" Observer "A thrilling race against time" Daily Express "A cracking thriller" Daily Express "The present and the long-ago past collide [as] three young historians whisk themselves back to fourteenth-century feudal France to rescue a friend - and engulf themselves in all manner of mind-blowing intrigue" Chicago Sun-Times --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars DAZZLING...IMAGINATIVE...RIVETING... 20 Jan 2003
Format:Audio Cassette
This book is an absolute page turner. It opens with one of the most absorbing first chapters I have ever read. An elderly man is found wandering in the desert, speaking in rhyme. There is something not quite right about him. The hospital to which he is taken discovers that the anomalies do not end with just his speech. Something is very wrong with him.
Highly inventive and compelling, the reader is reeled in hook, line, and sinker, right from the get go. A wholly plot driven book, make no mistake about it, the story revolves around a highly secretive, technological corporation, ITC, headed up by a megalomaniacal, young genius, who is tooling around with quantum physics in a way that has never before been done. Our genius is spearheading a project that is truly cutting edge. Of course, he is not doing this for the betterment of mankind. He is doing it simply because it will ultimately result in mega bucks for him, if all goes according to plan. Alas, the best-laid plans often go awry.
Cut to a group of dedicated historians who are involved in an archaeological dig, located along the Dordogne River in France. Their project, the ultimate restoration of a fourteenth century, feudal town, is very generously funded by ITC. Now why would a technological giant such as ITC be funding such a project?
This is the basic premise of the book. The use of quantum physics is applied in such a way as to access the past. Here, a group of historians find themselves with the chance of a lifetime. They can actually enter fourteenth century, feudal France and experience it themselves. There is quite an adventure in store for them.
Their reason for doing so, however, is not research.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable but mindless romp 29 Aug 2006
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
First of all, forget the dreadful film as no book could be that bad. This is an enjoyable but somewhat daft yarn that has also the usual Crichton elements of scientific hokum, goodies, baddies and a race against time. This time there are no dinosaurs or robots gone mad, but time travelling scientists out of their depth in medieval France. It's a clever combination of innocent abroad, historical romp and techno thriller and has the usual cast of 2D characters we expect from (and forgive) Michael Crichton.

This is not a history lesson and it should not be taken as a realistic portrayal of life and conflict between the dastradly English and the noble French. It is, however, an entertaining no-brainer that is ideal fodder for long flights and holidays or when you're in need of a light-weight, enjoyable thriller that will allow your brain to coast along. Great fun but not great history.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant recreation of the medieval world 7 Feb 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
In spite of some unenthusiastic reviews, this book is brilliant. I read 100 pages the first evening, then spent all the following day glued to the story. Forget about poor characterisation or plot irrelevancies, they're not important. It's the story and action that count. The first section includes a layman's introduction to quantum physics, a subject no-one, not even physicists, understands properly. And I don't buy the theory that you can use quantum physics to travel back in time (and return again). We all know it can't be done, and never will be done.
But setting that aside, the interesting bit starts when we travel back to 14th century France, a year or so after the battle of Poitiers. Just imagine stepping out of your time machine into a world you can hardly begin to understand: the utter silence of a landscape free from the ambient noise of the 20th century, the hugeness of the trees in the primeval forest...
Then learning all the small but essentials details of medieval life and times, you get the feeling of how life really was lived, you had to be alert and strong to survive, violence and pain and sudden death are never very far away, but you can sense just through reading the text how intensely alive you would feel if you could ever go back to such a world. I think that's Mr Crichton's greatest achievement in this book. And I like reading about the reactions of people suddenly transplanted from modern times to the medieval world... it would be even better if a few medieval types could be transported in turn to the future!
I've read a few others by Crichton - Jurassic Park, the Lost World - both excellent. And try Congo - that's another masterpiece. If they ever make a film of Timeline - see it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars highly entertaining read about time travel 21 April 2003
By Darren Simons TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Michael Crichton is the author behind a whole load of famous films and TV series, including ER, Jurassic Park / The Lost World, Disclosure and many others. This was the second book I read by this author, the first being Airframe. One thing consistent in all Crichton books is the technical input (and given the author’s background in medicine this is not hugely surprising).
Timeline is all about a company called ITC which has invented technology for going back in time. However, guess what, something’s gone wrong and a scientist has ended up coming back to the present time in the Arizona desert, not knowing who he is and talking gibberish. As well as the ensuing investigation to figure out who he is, ITC have to go back in time to right the past.
Admittedly it sounds extremely far fetched, but I found this to be a very entertaining read, and a book which was fairly difficult to put done once I’d started. The technical descriptions in the book are really good and convincing to the point to make you wonder “Mmm, just maybe”. All in all, I’d strongly recommend this one, particularly if you like other Michael Crichton books and the techie stuff he tends to include.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Different style to his other books, but same nail biting hook
Published 7 days ago by gerry finch
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb
I have started purchasing Michael Crichton recently after reading Digital Fortress and another book that he wrote, I have now read Jurassic Park, Timeline and have 3 others to go,... Read more
Published 7 days ago by Sarah
3.0 out of 5 stars Good for when you go on hols
It's holiday fodder, enjoyable reading
Published 1 month ago by Laura
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read
A good read. Michael Crichton seems always to deliver a book that can keep you up late at night fully absorbed.
Published 2 months ago by colin helsby
5.0 out of 5 stars good book
Well written and well thought out makes you almost believe that it is possible.
Maybe in a few years and advancement in science we can do just that. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars all time best fiction book
Time Travel, Fighting and an education. .This book cannot be put down. This is Crightons best !!!!! Even better than Congo or Prey
Published 4 months ago by simon 387
1.0 out of 5 stars Was this really wtiten by Crichton?..
Just very disappointed thought it complete rubbish compared with the airframe and disclosure novels.
Just junk, last one of his I will read
Published 5 months ago by peter White
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read
One of the reasons I liked Timeline was the antagonist 'Robert Doninger'. Who doesn't like a clever bad guy? I'm also a fan of historical fiction, and Mr. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Darren Wearmouth
5.0 out of 5 stars a great read
This is one of my favourite books and this purchase is for my son who I know will also love it.
Published 7 months ago by L H Kemp
4.0 out of 5 stars Good story
This was a present for someone who loves to read and thought he would enjoy this book, but I haven't seen him since to ask about the story and how good it was. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Mrs J
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