An old man wearing a brown robe is found wandering disoriented in the Arizona desert. He is miles from any human habitation and has no memory of how he got to be there, or who he is. The only clue to his identity is the plan of a medieval monastery in his pocket. So begins the mystery of Timeline, a mystery that will catapult a group of young scientists back to the Middle Ages and into the heart of the Hundred Years' War. Imagine the risks of such a journey. Imagine the impossible.
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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 AppeloReview:
" 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)
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Book Description Arrow, 2003. Paperback. Book Condition: New. No.1 BESTSELLERS - great prices, friendly customer service â€" all orders are dispatched next working day. Bookseller Inventory # mon0000383772
Book Description 2003-11-06., 2003. Book Condition: New. Arrow. New edition. Paperback. Book: GOOD. 512pp. . Bookseller Inventory # NF-1758361