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Publisher's Summary

Michael Crichton's novel opens on the threshold of the twenty-first century. It is a world of exploding advances on the frontiers of technology. Information moves instantly between two points, without wires or networks. Computers are built from single molecules. Any moment of the past can be actualized - and a group of historians can enter, literally, life in fourteenth-century feudal France. Imagine the risks of such a journey.

Not since Jurassic Park has Michael Crichton given you such a magnificent adventure. Here, he combines a science of the future - the emerging field of quantum technology - with the complex realities of the medieval past. In a heart-stopping narrative, Timeline carries you into a realm of unexpected suspense and danger, overturning your most basic ideas of what is possible.

©1999 by Michael Crichton (P)1999 Random House, Inc. Random House Audio Publishing, A Division of Random House Inc.

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I enjoyed this book more than most, and am now 1/3 of the way through my second listining. I almost didn't start it the second time because of the narrator.

Most of his vocal charactarizations were at least OK, even his Arnold imitation of the Merrik character got the point across that he wasen't an American. To show that he was Dutch, and use Goldmember's accent (Bring out Austin Power's Faaasha!) would have been too much. I can live with this one.

The use of a whispering voice for the Gordon character, who was key for many important science-type explainations, was the most annoying. I listen to AudioBooks while driving, and had to back up and shove my ear plug right up against my eardrum to hear what the character was trying to say. Also, whenever two of the other characters were involved in an 'aside' between themselves (like saying something they didn't want the others to hear), the narrator would actually either whisper, or lower his voice so much that I couldn't hear what was going on.

I gave the book a '4' for content and general listenability. I had to average in the '1' I gave for narration. The narrator should be required to listen to his own performance before being allowed to release this edition to the public.

Otherwise, I found the Quantum theory explainations to be facinating. "If you can explain Quantum Physics, you don't understand it yourself." Its so counter-intuitive, and trashes most or all 'Natural Laws', that explaining it at all was quite a streach. Good job here.

This book is a Cliff-Hanger, Sci-Fi, psudo-historical genre. If you don't like this type of fiction, don't buy it. Of course its going to be somewhat predictable. Naturally its going to be a 'damsel in distress' old movie seriel type of book. Expect it!

I liked especially the descriptions of Medevil France. I've read alot of histories, but none brought across the absolute brutality of this world as well as this author. Life back then was Short & Violent.

34 of 34 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • William
  • Gaffney, SC, USA
  • 11-13-04

Good Book, Bad Movie

Don't skip this book because you didn't like the movie. The book has a good story line and good character development. Enough detail so that you understand the plot (the movie was terrible in this regard). The book moved along at a good pace. It did get bogged down once or twice but not enough to distract from the story. Its not a masterpiece and won't become a classic but it is a good and entertaining book. I would recommend. By the way, the reader was excellent which adds to the enjoyment of the book.

18 of 18 people found this review helpful

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  • Robert
  • Toronto, ON, Canada
  • 08-26-08

entertaining story entwined with some real science

I didn't know what to expect when I downloaded this book as I had never previously read anything by Crichton. I was pleasantly surprised. The first part of the book combines real history with (mostly) real science and then, almost seamlessly flows into the fantasy/sci-fi story-line. Crichton slowly introduces his main characters, and he develops them into believable persons about whom we start to form our own opinions. However, it's when the setting jumps from the present back into the 14th Century that Crichton expands our knowledge-base, and the story really starts to unfold. Using well-researched history - social, cultural and economic - Crichton tells a story of another era when life was hard, and often little-valued. Our protagonists race against time to uncover a secret, a secret which might enable them to fulfill their mission and possibly enable them to return safely to the present time. A thriller, which is also educational - very satisfying.

31 of 33 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

Slow To Start, But Worth The Wait!!

Even as a Mathematician, I found the book a bit slow to start, but WELL worth the wait. This book is absolutely gripping; you are sure to find yourself unable to turn it off!! The ending is absolutely perfect! After purchasing this book, i've since passed it on to anyone I know that enjoys history, time travel, adventure and descriptive fiction that never ceases to pull you in!
This is an absolute must buy!!! If you have seen the movie that attempts to touch on the highlights of this wonderful book, please GET ALL THOUGHTS OF IT OUT OF YOUR MEMORY NOW and order the unabridged audio-- it is NOTHING that even remotely resembles the book.
I just can't say enough great things about this book, it is a tie with The Da Vinci Code as one of my top picks.
If you get a couple hours into the audio and find yourself a bit bored and wanting a stronger plotline and more character development-- hang on! You're almost there, it kicks in explosively and takes you on and incredible ride!

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Story
  • Mak
  • Pittsburgh, PA USA
  • 08-05-12

A Page Turner

Timeline is a fast-paced science fiction novel which incorporates time travel, historical conflicts during the dark ages (France, 1357) and a group of current day historians and students who are caught dangerously in the middle.

Although slightly “cinematic”, Crichton provides just enough character development, time travel technology and historical reference to keep this book “lightweight” and enjoyable throughout. I especially enjoyed the portrayal of Europe in the 1300s as compared (or actually contrasted) to our current lifestyles. Political affairs, personal interests and greed seem familiar but everyday survival and personal success take on an entirely different meaning. I found it hard to put down towards the finish.

The narration and sound quality were good.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Ross
  • Mosinee, WI, United States
  • 03-20-04

Most Intriguing

The review has an unlimited field of suspence and diversity. I loved listening to this book, somtimes couldnt put it down. I wish Chrichton would have set it up for a sequal because this book could go on forever.
This book is possibly the reason that i am even using audible, I always thought books were a waste and that hearing them would be even more straining to put myself through, however, that is not the case. This book is possibly the most intriguing and stimulating books that ive finished in years.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Louis
  • Pretoria, South Africa
  • 05-09-10


Good story, switching between the present and the past. I enjoyed the peek into the way we lived 700 years ago, and the details of the time. Time travel would really be marvelous, and the author does an excellent job of describing this concept.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

I was HOOKED immediately!!

Loved this book. Crichton does such a great job at explaining quantum theory. I was on the internet for hours trying to find out if he was really telling the truth. What an idea! I listen to Audible while sewing and I HATE to sew. Let me tell you, the time flew by spending it in 14th century France and I got a LOT of sewing done.
Okay, so Michael is no Charles Dickens, but he is damn entertaining. If you want escape, he's the guy for you. I saw the movie the day it was released. It was a fast track of the book, following it more or less loosely. But it was just as enjoyable; maybe a little more so, because I knew something of the characters' backgrounds. Now when I listen to the book again, I can put faces and places in my mind's eye and have a great time all over again.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Lee
  • hueytown, AL, USA
  • 10-13-03


Seemed to be a very detailed sci-fi novel. This specific piece had all the suspense and mystery to hold your attention and as well as keeping you on the edge of your seat waitting for the next page or sequence in the audio.This was also easy to follow the basic line of the story. Bravo

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Robin
  • Deming, NM, USA
  • 09-29-03


This was my first Michael Crichton book and I loved the book. It was a blend of a Midevil and futuristic world. Never ending suspense!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • V. S.
  • 07-15-05

Crichton at his best!

Don't be put off by the rubbish movie made of this book. In fact if you haven't seen the movie, don't bother, get this book instead. Crichton is a master at seeing the possibilities in today's technology and weaving masterful fiction around the 'what ifs'. This is my favorite Michael Crichton book - the research he put into this is phenomenal and the narrator does a wonderful, wonderful job. A brilliant blend of science fiction and medieval history.

Well worth using an audio credit on!

19 of 20 people found this review helpful

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  • WJE Hoppitt
  • 08-29-07

Crichton writes of science gone wrong- again!

I got this book after seeing the film which I thought was good fun. As with Jurassic Park the book has much more depth to it, with much more to the characters, science fiction aspects and historical descriptions. Crichton paints a gruesome picture of medieval warfare and conflict, which contrasts with some of the rather quaint depictions we are used to from films and children?s stories. It is, therefore, somewhat surprising to hear his conclusion in the epilogue that the so-called ?Dark Ages? were an invention of the Renaissance, and that humankind has not since advanced to a better way of life. Whether you agree with Crichton?s usual paranoia of scientific and technological advancement, it always makes for an exciting read, and Timeline is no exception, with a catastrophe around every corner for our heroes! Well worth a credit.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Jane
  • 01-24-07

A bit repetitive

I really enjoyed the first half of this, but after that started to play it at a faster speed because I was getting bored (I don't normally do this). The idea behind the story is very good and the blend of science and history works well. But then there are a lot of repetitive fight scenes which don't really advance the plot at all, but which all take place at some significant feature of medieval architecture which gets explained in detail. I also felt that the plot did not entirely hold together and that some opportunities to explore interesting themes were wasted. Overall it isn't bad, it just doesn't finish as strongly as it starts.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Steve
  • 03-30-13

One of my favourites..

I love this audiobook; it's one that I return to over and over. Being an avid audiobook listener (I'm often listening for many hours at a time) I have built up quite a library of go to authors and Crichton is up there with The King. Timeline is a definite Crichton book with a good science fantasy base (like Jurassic Park et al) which is Crichton's story style of "what if...."

The other key thing with audio books is the narration and I have had occasion to put up with/get used to some poor production values or irritating accents but in this instance you don't notice the narration, which is as it should be, and is the highest praise for John Bedford Lloyd's skills. He doesn't get in the way of the story but enhances it very much like Stephen Fry. This is an under appreciated craft and I hope that as this market expands more quality narrators will emerge.

Anyway, I recommend Timeline, it's well written, well read, and a good length.

  • Overall
  • Christine
  • 01-23-10

Thoroughly excellent!

Being a huge Michael Crichton fan I couldn't let this one pass by. I read it a few years ago when it first came out and was delighted to see that in audio format. This was a throughly enjoyable and absorbing listen.

  • Overall
  • NewBox Reviews
  • 10-29-08

Wow, I learned a lot and enjoyed it

When the book first started I felt a bit out of my depth, it starts off talking about quantum physics and it's history. I thought oh no what have I let my self in for. But after the introduction (which is very informative), I really enjoyed the book. I love the way they mixed fiction with non-fiction. I thought this was a very good story and very well thought out and really well researched.