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The Cross-Time Engineer (Conrad Stargard #1)

4.1  ·  Rating Details ·  1,183 Ratings  ·  59 Reviews
The Right Man for the job

One moment Conrad Schwartz was a hungover hiker in the mountains of modern Poland, the next he was running for his life from an angry Teutonic Knight.

At first Conrad just thought he'd stumbled across a mad hermit. But several days of ever stranger events convinced him that he had somehow been stranded in 1231 A.D.

And that meant Conrad had to turn M
Mass Market Paperback, 259 pages
Published January 12th 1986 by Del Rey
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The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey NiffeneggerOutlander by Diana GabaldonThe Time Machine by H.G. Wells11/22/63 by Stephen KingA Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
Best Time Travel Fiction
133rd out of 1,238 books — 4,011 voters
Fimbulwinter by E. William BrownChampion for Hire by John Van StryBlack Coven by E. William BrownInto The Abyss by J.L. LanglandThe Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
Displaced To A Different Time Or World
30th out of 372 books — 143 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,874)
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Dec 29, 2008 James rated it liked it
I love the engineering and technical stuff in this series of books, but be warned the guy who writes them is a serious sexist.
Jun 18, 2008 beancounter rated it it was amazing
The whole five-part science fiction series is excellent. In fact, I'm currently re-reading them. It's a story about Conrad, a young engineer from modern-day Poland who accidentally gets sent back in time to the Middle Ages. There, he adapts to his new land (with a little help from the Time Corps), and gradually introduces modern industry to the people. The books don't have plotlines that begin and end within one book; if you start 'em, you're going to need to read all of 'em. It's a witty series ...more
Jul 02, 2010 John rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jason Pitre
Feb 01, 2008 Jason Pitre rated it really liked it
This is a great time-travel book, well worth the read. An engineer from modern Poland gets drunk and slips into an obscure time-travelling device which shunts him into the past of europe. After trying to come to terms with the situation, he realized that the Huns are coming in a mere 10 year.

So he begins to re-invent in his own style.

I heartily recommend it, not only for the time-travelling aspect but also the exploration of the specific cultural aspects of that period.
Mar 07, 2008 Lori rated it it was amazing
I have no idea when I started reading these. There is a series of about 8 now I think. I enjoy the idea of alternate reality/change in history and the ways the "hero" accomplishes this as well as his inventive use of the few bits of modern things he brings back to the past with him. An escape type read.
I love books that take a character and move him out of his time and place such as A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, or The Chronicles of Narnia. This is one of my favorites. I love the world building. I could do without all the sex with nubile young women, but I'm not offended by it.
Jim Nowlan
Jun 15, 2008 Jim Nowlan rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Princess Warrior
Recommended to Jim by: Princess Jen Jen
A great series. What happens when you stick a 20th century engineer in 13th century Poland 11 years before the mongols invade? Why "invent" such modern miracles like concrete, the Marine Corps, siege cannons, hot air balloons. A great story!
Irving Drinkwine
May 06, 2015 Irving Drinkwine rated it it was amazing
Some call this series sexist because of the way it portrays women as well as it inclusion of "The Pink Dragon" which is a topless bar. Wikipedia states "The character of Conrad [the books protagonist] has at times been described as a Mary Sue, and some aspects of the novels can be looked at as authorial wish-fulfillment." I had to look up "Mary Sue." And I would have to say, "Yes. All of the above is correct." And because of that this book - this series - makes it to my top 10 All Time Best.
Matthew Esham
Sep 03, 2012 Matthew Esham rated it it was amazing
I have to say I really struggled with putting a rank on this one. The books are like candy, they only last a moment, are probably bad for you overall, and are quite enjoyable.

The story revolves around Conrad Schwartz, aka Contrad Stargard (his given name sounded to German) being sent back to thirteenth-century Poland. After the shock of realizing when he was, he makes several friends. One of my favorite scenes in the early chapters is when he hire an underage girl who has been forced to sell he
Will Knight
Jul 29, 2013 Will Knight rated it it was amazing
Originally posted at Bibliophilia, Please.

This review covers the first four books in the series, as they’re kind of fast moving and these cover the first arc.

Move over Marty McFly! Here comes Conrad Stargard, and he will make out with your mother.

It’s semi-modern day Poland, and Conrad got massively drunk, stumbled into a storeroom in an inn and passed out. He woke up in 1231 A.D., lost, penniless and without even knowing he was stranded in time. And then things got bad. He had a massive hangove
Nov 26, 2010 Greymalkin rated it did not like it
Shelves: scifi-fantasy
My brother read these in high school and enjoyed them. The plot has always sounded fun to me but I never actually read them until recently, when I decided to read them before recommending them to a friend (who likes scifi time travel stuff).

Glad I did! The protagonist was a mysogynistic, amoral, racist, self-centered, arrogant person. It was horribly creepy to read about him sleeping with SEVERAL 14 year old girls every night for years. But it was okay because they looked 16 and he wasn't beatin
Feb 17, 2010 Joanna rated it liked it
According to the author, most of his fans consist of "males with military and technical backgrounds," while he likewise claimed his detractors consist of "feminists, liberals, and homosexuals." Frankowski admits that anyone who self-identifies with the latter categories would be unlikely to enjoy his fiction.

Even though I'm a feminist and a liberal I liked the Stargard series well enough. It is misogynistic, most definitely, but I liked it for the history and the detail (info dump) that Frankows
Aug 06, 2012 Randy rated it liked it
This series dates from about 1986. I read the first four books at that time (there are seven in the series), and always remembered them fondly. Awhile back, I was browsing a used book store and stumbled across the first four volumes in pristine condition. I just finished this first book.

Really, I'd like to give it 3.5 stars, but they don't do half-stars here. It's a quick, fun read, and the author is clever enough to have set up a situation where any deus ex machina he writes into the plot is ex
Jonathan Palfrey
This is one of those books in which a modern man is suddenly transported into the past, and manages to make something of himself by exploiting all the things he knows that the people around him don't. There's a whole family of such books, including Mark Twain's A Yankee at the court of King Arthur, and in general I rather like them if they're done well.

This one is done quite well. The hero, Conrad, is a Polish engineer transported back to Poland in the year 1231 AD. The Polish language has been
Jun 24, 2012 Arthur rated it really liked it
The start of a great series about a "typical" 20th century engineer who accidentally goes back in time to Poland in the 13th century. While that premise alone would be interesting, it's intensified by the fact that it's only about 10 years before the region gets overrun by the Mongol Horde. The writing style is interesting and the story is well-paced. The main character is interesting and has some real depth to him. His reactions to events, while mostly typical to a westernized 20th century educ ...more
Aug 12, 2012 Jesse rated it it was amazing
First of all - does anyone know why this series isn't on the Kindle? I found the book in a box of stuff my dad was cleaning out of the attic and grabbed it, thinking I'd find it on amazon and download it to my Kindle. I'm so glad I grabbed it, even if the pages were yellow and falling out of the spine.

This book is relatively short, but it is just an easy, fun read. Conrad, a polish engineer gets accidentally transported back in time. There is a group of historians writing the comprehensive histo
Jonathan  McGaha
Sep 17, 2014 Jonathan McGaha rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
The story is enjoyable, if a bit prone to crawling through weeds. These verbose descriptions of technical details could bore some readers. I found myself skimming some while being fascinated by others.

Our protagonist is a bit of a chauvinist's Mary Sue. I know nothing of Frankowski but, like other sci-fi authors I've read, he injects many of his own strongly-held opinions into his work at often ridiculously awkward intervals and in poorly-chosen ways. Our relatively young protagonist holds many
May 25, 2015 Chrisl rated it really liked it
Shelves: sff, europe, 1980s, z13th

While I wouldn't recommend Frankowski's books normally, to too many people, this one snagged my interest enough for a re-read ... time travel to prior historical settings
Andy Simmons
Apr 18, 2016 Andy Simmons rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 31, 2008 Pashie rated it liked it
I loved the world-building aspect of the books but the author's treatment of women made me cringe. As a previous review stated, he is a serious sexist.
Sep 28, 2014 Bill rated it really liked it
I registered a book at!

I'm a firm believer that you should be able to pick any book in a series and decide if it's worth the trouble and expense of going back and reading it in order... and if you can't read a book about time travel out of order then this truism of mine must be doubly true!

To my right is a pile of books that contain two such time travel books. Conrad Stargard and Time Police. Conrad Stargard passed the test when I read
Sep 06, 2012 Tomas rated it liked it
Start with A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. Move everything to Poland. Add a bevy of nubile young Polish girls climbing over each other to get into the main character's pants, and a time-traveling cousin of the main character who is stacking the deck in his favor.

You almost have the Conrad Stargard books. There's a little fine-tuning here and there. I would say there's a little more smug superiority of the modern world. There's a little bit of Polish pride. There's some more enginee
I really wanted to hate this book!

Based on the attitudes and musing of his main character, Conrad Stargard, the author, Leo Frankowski, seems to have been a misogynistic racist! (view spoiler)

Yet, despite the author's [insert expletive here] views, I found this story to be fascinating! The descriptions of daily living, the engineering challenges and solutions, even the (not so simple
Betule Sairafi
I bet the author was a short, unattractive geek. And possibly a pedophile. I bet you half my house.

The protagonist, an engineer who finds himself in the past, is tall and perfect and the (mostly 14 year old) ladies are throwing themselves at him. Like David Brin's The Practice Effect, our hero finds himself in a relatively uncivilized place where he can show his technology to the natives. Unlike The Practice Effect, The Cross-Time Engineer reads like a fat boy's dream diary. This book wasn't abo
Laura J Krueger
Jul 28, 2015 Laura J Krueger rated it it was amazing
Shelves: paperback
Fun story of a 20th century Polish man accidentally sent back in time to 13th century Poland. He's a smart man, and knowing that the Mongols will invade and destroy Poland in 10 short years, he goes about developing many new (for a 13th century citizen) technologies in the hope of saving his beloved Poland from certain destruction. (First book in a series)
Justin Overton
Sep 01, 2016 Justin Overton rated it really liked it
Quite an entertaining portrayal of an alternate medieval Europe; handing the power to those that didn't have it in reality. Interesting commentary also on the potential of different political systems that we can choose from or that can be mixed together to get a more workable world!
Jun 18, 2016 Jon rated it really liked it
It's juvenile and ridiculous. The writing is not great and it gets bogged down in detail. It's also total fun and this is the 5th or 6th time I've read through this series. Partly because it's fun, partly because I'm avoiding the weightier books on my list. But, hey, it's summer.
Julien V
Masochistic reading. I knew what I was getting -more or less- but sometimes I just want to read crappy stuff from paleoconservatives and laugh my ass off. In a way, Frankowski is a bit more entertaining than I excepted, at least in the beginning of the book. There's some vivid descriptions of middle-age Poland and other interesting facts coming from our Polish author. But after a while, this book becomes a snore-fest that reads more like an adolescent fantasy/power-trip, unless you happen to enj ...more
Jennifer Heise
Feb 25, 2014 Jennifer Heise rated it did not like it
Well, he has a better grasp on the history of Eastern Europe than most, but his idea of historical is mostly SCA. So, overall, really annoying.
Aug 20, 2016 Kathy rated it liked it
Fun in a "let's build modern society from (almost) scratch" way. Not much more misogynistic than "A Connecticut Yankee" or Heinlein, so not too off-putting.
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Conrad Stargard (10 books)
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