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 Hardcover edition.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful: Not up to Crichton's Standards, September 3, 2003 Reviewer: piggirl from Holbrook, NY USA As an avid reader of Michael Crichton's novels, I was disappointed when I read "Timeline". This latest book is an attempt to postulate what it would be like if humans were able to travel into the past. Crichton, as usual, has researched this area of science and created a plausible story around a fictional company, ITC. This company has the technology to send people back inot the past. But, as usually happens, something has gone wrong. A group of scienctists are charged with the task of rescuing their professor by returning to the late 14th century French countryside. While the story is a good one, the novel has many bad points. The novel seemed chaotic and poorly put together. It jumped back and forth between the two differnet time periods. It was rather annoying to be engrossed in one time and then jarred back into another. I also felt that the story dragged a bit. The scientists were caught and escaped way too many times. They seemed to be very lucky throughout the novel. Many parts of the story could have been explained more. For instance, the involvement of Robert Deckard. It just seems like Crichton did not edit this story. Almost like he turned in his first draft and it was published. The book was o.k. I'm sure when the movie comes out this fallmany things will be different. Unfortunately, Crichton allows many changes in screenplays of his books. That, and this book are quite a dissapointment.