Timeline – Michael Crichton [Review]

The purpose of history is to explain the present–to say why the world around us is the way it is. History tells us what is important in our world, and how it came to be.
— Michael Crichton, Timeline

Michael Crichton was a brilliant man. He was a writer and a filmmaker, best known as the author of Jurassic Park and the creator of ER, which became the best-rated programme on US television.  I have to admit that I never realised that the creator of ER was the same person who wrote Jurassic Park, The Great Train Robbery, the 13th Warrior and Timeline. The day I realised he was the same person I loved him even more.  I love ER and re-watch it all the time. I love his books as well.

I recently finished ‘Timeline’ and I loved it. I had seen awhile ago a film adaptation of thistimeline1 book and it was an alright film. If I remember correct it starred Gerald Butler, Billy Connolly and Paul Walker. A watchable film but nothing special. When I started the book I could not put it down. I loved it and it was a million times better than the film as it is often the case with books and film adaptations. This can be one of the many examples to prove the long-time argument of what is better, books or films? BOOKS is always the correct answer!

Timeline tells the story of a group of historians in 1999 who are employed by a tech billionaire genius. His plan is to build a theme park featuring artefacts from a lost world revived via cutting- edge science.  Whenan 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 story that will catapult a group of young scientists back to the Middle Ages and into the heart of the Hundred Years’ War.”

His writing is inviting, enticing, tempting, addictive and just brilliant. I was captured from the first page of ‘Timeline’. Michael Crichton is a great storyteller and manages to explain the science behind the story. This helps anyone who does not understand or gets physics and manages to grasp a basic idea behind the science of the whole scheme of the book.  ‘Timeline’  is not your average time-travel story. It’s very detail-oriented, and you find out soon enough that some of the characters have an agenda deeper than just wanting to go back and visit the medieval times.

The characters are rock solid and believable.  The good guys were likeable and the bad guys were really bad — and I know how that sounds but it is true. You don’t know who to trust once you’ve travelled back in the 14th century. You are hoping that you manage to find Professor Johnson before time is up. I cannot choose a character that stood out for me, as all of them have their little quirks, from Andre Marek with his love of archaeology and the 14th century to Chris Hughes who started out as the ‘weak bookish graduate student’ and turned into the robust, confident hero who comes in to save the day.

You know that Michael Crichton had done lots of research before writing ‘Timeline’ as his brilliant account of the world of 1357 takes you back to a ”time which seems thousands of years in regression of civilisation. ‘The suspense throughout the book is unpredictable, well-narrated and interesting”. You are always on your toes for the next disaster or mishap. From the in-depth descriptions of the ”war lords, the customs, the castles, the fortresses, the soldiers, the knights, the languages (from Occitan to Latin to old English and very old French)”, and the endless adventures which came upon our time travellers, you felt as though you were part of that world.

The premise was appealing, the action was gripping, the plot thickens as you read and the ending was dramatically satisfying. I loved ‘Timeline’ from start to finish. I would recommend the book to any science-fiction lovers as well as historical fiction fans. It is worth a read and you never know, you might even like Michael Crichton’s style of writing and get hooked with his writing like I did.

When I started reading this book I knew a little bit about physics, and the history of 14th century France. After ‘Timeline’ I am confident in telling you more about quantum foam, particles and various historical trivia about 14th century France. Crichton combines history(medieval) and science(quantum technology) in a heart-stopping adventure that you will never forget.

“If you [don’t] know history, then [you don’t] know anything. You [are] a leaf that [doesn’t] know it [is] part of a tree.”
― Michael Crichton, Timeline

Have also a look at : Michael Crichton: “Timeline”

— K.J. Koukas


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