Book Cover
Title Timeline
Series ---
Author Michael Crichton
Cover Art ---
Publisher Random House - 1999
First Printing Random House - 1999
Category Science Fiction
Warnings None

Main Characters

Andre Marek, Katherine Erickson, Chris Hughes, Edward Johnston

Main Elements Time travel

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.

When it comes to literature I'm a completely amateur. If I were to pick up a random book of an author I was familiar with, I would not be able to tell you who the author was just by their style...or so I thought. I was only a few pages in when I realized that this was, without a doubt, a Michael Crichton book. I could recognize his style and it felt familiar, having read and enjoyed several of this other novels (Andromeda Strain, Prey, The Great Train Robbery, Jurasik Park).

As in his other books, Crichton focuses on an emerging scientific domain, in this case quantum physics. I've actually taken a course on the topic in university and I must agree with the fact that we can understand the math behind the thing, we can understand that it works, but we simply cannot even being to really *understand* the workings of quantum physics. It is such an alien world that our minds cannot comprehend the forces at work. Maybe one day we will, maybe never. And in theory, there is the possibility of not so much time travel, but rather moving into some alternate universe. I won't go into the details, but it was an interesting concept. You especially need to read up on how they explain how the people are reconstructed in the past seeing as how in the present they do not actually know how to do it. Crazy stuff, but Crichton's theories are usually quite sound.

What I liked about this book in particular is that it merged two of my favorite topics, science and history. A group of archeologists are sent back in time to retrieve their Professor from a fortified town in Medieval France. As usual, it was interesting to see how people lived and thought back then, and with four modern day characters with which to contrast people's reactions, it all made for an interesting read.

I think even more interesting than the quantum theories were the historical truths. The events take place in the Dark Ages. A time after the fall of the glorious roman empire when people supposedly lost a great deal of learning and technology and lived a more barbaric lifestyle. Or so the great thinkers of Renaissance would like us to believe. After all, they themselves being so great and enlightened, the years that came before must certain have been backward and, well, a dark time in human history. But the truth is quite different, a lot of technological advances were made during this time period, where women had status and could even be merchants, a very dynamic and fast moving time. This falls into my general belief. Whenever, wherever you live, you always consider yourself more "advanced" than those that came before. Hence all these theorists that believe that the pyramids must have been constructed by aliens, because heaven forbid, people who lived 5000 years ago knew something we did not!

I could go on discussing the ideas in the books, so go read it. It's worth thinking about!

Posted: May 2011


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