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3.81  ·  Rating Details  ·  143,708 Ratings  ·  3,299 Reviews
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 as ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 489 pages
Published June 2000 by Arrow Books (first published November 16th 1999)
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Avril Simms
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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 KingTimeline by Michael Crichton
Best Time Travel Fiction
5th out of 1,196 books — 3,924 voters
Ender's Game by Orson Scott CardDune by Frank Herbert1984 by George OrwellFahrenheit 451 by Ray BradburyBrave New World by Aldous Huxley
Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Books
64th out of 5,497 books — 18,372 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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May 28, 2014 Stacey rated it did not like it
Shelves: pissed-me-off, imo
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 10, 2013 Space rated it really liked it
Shelves: time-travel
This was the first Crichton novel I read, which is probably to his advantage. I knew it was fiction, so I was able to pick it up and cruise right through it. Had I started on The Andromeda Strain, or Airframe, I might have thought he was a non-fiction writer and not given him a proper chance. As it turns out, I was instantly hooked, and began to furiously and ferociously collect everything I could get my hands on by Michael Crichton. Now I've read most of his novels, and have met him in person. ...more
I loved this book... and then some arse made a really crap film and the book lost some of its shine... I couldn't rid my mind of the film set and actors.

I still quite like the book.
May 08, 2008 Jim rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-action
This was a good one.

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
Joe Valdez
Dec 05, 2014 Joe Valdez rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The next stop in my time travel marathon (November being Science Fiction Month) was Timeline, Michael Crichton's 1999 thriller. Crichton was not what I think of as a prolific writer; he published sixteen novels in his lifetime under this own name, beginning in 1969 with The Andromeda Strain. Perhaps the movies produced from most of these titles make it seem like Crichton was everywhere. I'd like to think that maybe the author devoted the time between novels conducting backbreaking research. With ...more
Dec 23, 2008 Lisa rated it it was amazing

This book was my introduction to Crichton and I fell in love!
I fell in love because this is an author who does extensive research on the subjects he writes about. So he not only entertains, he teaches you something in the process.
In Timeline, Crichton combines science(quantum technology) and history(medieval) in a heart-stopping adventure. A group of historians are given the opportunity to literally enter life in fourteenth-century feudal France. But this is not your typical time travel story.
Paul O'Neill
May 28, 2016 Paul O'Neill rated it it was amazing
A time travelling, sword swinging, science laden, probability speaking, historically interesting, magnificent tale!

Even though Crichton is a popular author, I think he's underrated. At least that's what I think in the two books I've read (the other being Jurassic Park). I must read more of his work. Anybody got any suggestions?

The format of this book is perfect. The way each chapter ended with a cliff hanger reminded me of George R.R. Martin. It creates something that you just don't want to put
May 28, 2008 Eric rated it it was ok
I’ve never been terribly impressed with Michael Crichton. He writes excellent action and adventure scenes, but his characters always seem flat and one-dimensional, never doing much more than dodging dinosaurs or white gorillas. Not surprisingly, what I feel is his best novel to date, Disclosure, lacks the heart-pounding action and delves more into conflicts between characters, which I found much more compelling.

I had high hopes for Timeline, a weighty book that had drawn good reviews from the f
Since there are over 1400 reviews, no need for me to list the details of the story. They're at other posts. Here's my feeling of the reading experience:

STRENGTHS OF THIS NOVEL: movement, pacing, good concept, events are well stringed along

WEAKNESSES OF THIS NOVEL: characters lack depth, believability issues sometimes, not enough details to feel one is actually in the medieval ages, characters seem to get out of problems too easily (i.e. lots of other people die around them but the main people do
Rad Ryan
Feb 24, 2012 Rad Ryan rated it it was amazing
A novel for all-time. The one who made me to love books.
At my age when I read it, I was like WHAT THE HELL, WHAT's THE MEANING OF THAT WORD . I was 13 at that time, I always make a fool out of myself. My classmates were asking me how can I understand it or do I understand it, all kinds of questions who irritates me.

3 months=1 book!
I mean how hurtful and so hateful with it! There are more books than to read! And my goal for my life is to read more than 100 books or even more!
Nov 07, 2008 Jackie rated it it was amazing
Time travel gets me almost everytime!
This novel was exciting and unique, I could hardly put it down. Cool quantum technology that I barely understood aside, I felt like I was transported to the 100 Years War along with the team that sets out to find the Professor. And that's what makes a good novel into a great novel for me, and Timeline delivered.
One of Crichton's best.
And I got a crush on Marek so that helps in keeping it on my favorite book list. I think I'll read in again soon.
Jul 02, 2010 John rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 19, 2007 misha rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fastreads, 2007
Total piece of crap book that I got from a book swap.

That said, while I did a lot of skimming, this was a perfectly fine book to read while on mass transit... as long as I kept the cover down so that no one would know that I was reading crap.

And now you know that I sometimes read crap.
Jun 17, 2009 Werner rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of action-oriented science-fiction
My reaction to this book was a lot more favorable than Stacey's --but I do have to agree with some of her criticisms. Because of his "hard" sci-fi orientation, Crichton insisted on trying to extrapolate an explanation for time-travel from existing science, his vehicle being quantum theory. Since this is too complex and counter-intuitive for most people to understand (and some of us suspect it of being a bunch of hooey anyway!), the "explanation" doesn't serve much purpose, and does wind up being ...more
2.0 stars. My least favorite Michael Crichton novel. I just never became interested in any of the characters or the story line.
Jan 28, 2016 Bhanuj rated it really liked it
Never judge a book by its cover. Also, never judge one by the plot written at the back. Timeline by Michael Crichton is a time-hop action drama, traversing the present and the fourteenth century medieval past.

History gets opened up to the present as a professor is marooned in the fourteenth century medieval world. His students are swept off to the headquarters of ITC, the multinational organization that made the technology possible. The plan is to send them back in time and rescue the professor,
Apr 13, 2013 Damon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Crichton takes another swing at time travel. After a brainy first act that presents a layman's comprehension of quantum physics, the narrative shifts admirably into a more traditional adventure story about a group of college students trapped in France during the Hundred Years War, who have to use their modern educations of the 17th century to survive and get back home. One of the things I like about the science in Crichton's books is that it feels like he is explaining it to himself even as he e ...more
Patrice Hoffman
Jan 03, 2013 Patrice Hoffman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another great read by the late Michael Crichton. I always feel a little smarter after having read one of his novels because of his writing approach and how he offers nuggets of factual information. These factual nuggets are what makes his novels so popular. They are well-researched and laid out in a way that isn't intimidating to the reader.

I was extremely excited that this turned out to be an adventure story wrapped up in pretty science-fiction wrapping paper, topped of historical fiction as i
Feb 22, 2012 Lynn rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
It seems a lot of people feel this was one of Crichton's weaker efforts but I enjoyed reading this. It may be that, beyond the opening, there was not as much technology-driven plot as there was medieval adventure and romance. I thought it was entertaining and found that Crichton was able to keep me interested while I was reading.

Not a bad way to spend your reading time.
Jesse A
May 28, 2016 Jesse A rated it it was ok
Dull. Characters were nonexistent. Worse than Congo.
Mar 29, 2015 Tarina rated it really liked it
This book is marvelous if you're just getting into or are already into fantasy and/or historical fiction. I know I learned a ton of information about the 14th century even though I kinda consider myself a sage of speculative fiction haha. Crichton is just so so so good at explaining really advanced concepts in such a way that lay people can understand.

The reason why I bring up fantasy, is because I honestly can't think of one work of (high) fantasy that isn't based, or at least derived from, th
Rating: 3/5

Summary: A mysterious company has been developing new quantum technologies... A mysterious archeological site in France founded by the mysterious company leads a professor to seek answers from those who provide his research funding... The professor's grad students find modern objects at the site dating back to the 14th century... The professor is trapped in time and they must attempt a rescue...


Here is what I loved about it:
1. The research into theoretical physics and perfect
Chris Schmutz
Dec 01, 2009 Chris Schmutz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Andromeda Strain is a classic. Of course Congo, Rising Sun, and Jurassic Park are his 'biggies'. For me, I think his creativity was most unique in Timeline. The book was absolutely outstanding for me. it involves time & place travel, and manages to handle some of the paradoxes thereto quite well.

THE MOVIE WAS A HORRIBLE RECOUNTING OF THIS STORY !!! The movie was made at a time when FINALLY technology in film making was such that it might possibly be able to do this story justice. And then th
Apr 19, 2015 K4tie rated it liked it
I almost gave this 4 stars, but I couldn't in good conscience because the second read through was less enjoyable than the first for me. I remember loving this book so much because I saw the movie and then read the book. (Correct order because we just read the book and then saw the movie and it pissed me off because the movie is pretty but missed so much of the book.) I saw the book with stars in my eyes for Andre Merrik (played by Gerard Butler in the movie) which will forgive many flaws, if you ...more
Chris Dietzel
Feb 11, 2014 Chris Dietzel rated it it was ok
Growing up, I read all of Crichton's books and loved each one. But everything that made those books so entertaining was missing in Timeline. The premise seemed implausible, even with advances in technology and a suspension of disbelief on the reader's part. This is shocking considering the same author made it feel completely realistic that dinosaurs could be recreated. To add to this, the plot felt manufactured and the characters were never developed to make you care about them. I would recommen ...more
Mar 16, 2015 Emma rated it it was amazing
I wish I had not seen the movie first!
This book has everything, time travel (to the middle ages), adventure, love, passion, war, battles...
Stefan Yates
May 10, 2012 Stefan Yates rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: general-fiction
Entertaining novel with a good sounding scientific premise (whether it could actually be done or not is definitely up for debate.) Like most Crichton books, his material is extremely well research and presented in a manner that you don't question where he got his facts from and if you did, he provides a lengthy bibliography.

This is not one of his better novels, but is still a good read. The basic gist of the story is that some scientists create a sort of time travel but one of their scientists g
Jun 17, 2013 Ohr rated it it was ok
The plot is always moving, the book contains plenty of action, and Crichton still retains mastery of his superlative ability to organically include plenty of interesting and entertaining information (in the case of this book that information is about medieval France, not the ridiculous quantum physics time travel nonsense Crichton vomited on to the page), but it's just SO stupid and dull. Not to mention my loathing of time travel plots to begin with (if you think you found a way to avoid a parad ...more
Mar 16, 2013 Kathryn rated it it was ok
I was stunned at the lack of character description in this book. It's no wonder these novels are made so easily into screenplays. Granted, it's only the second Crichton novel I've ever read, so perhaps I should know better?

The premise of Timeline was strangely dichotomous pro/anti-science. I'm not sure if the author is implying that people are what make innovations morally wrong, or that extreme innovations are morally wrong by themselves. This story is another instance of the low-tech scientist
Buck Ward
I recently read Doomsday Book by Connie Willis. Timeline shares themes with it. Historians travel through time to the middle ages, including 1348, the year of the Black Death. The circumstances are quite different, though. In Timeline, the corporation that developed the time travel technology had in mind cashing in on it, just as in Crichton's Jurassic Park. And back in medieval times, things are quite different between the two books. In Timeline, our time travelers get mixed up in aristocratic ...more
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Michael Crichton (1942–2008) was one of the most successful novelists of his generation, admired for his meticulous scientific research and fast-paced narrative. He graduated summa cum laude and earned his MD from Harvard Medical School in 1969. His first novel, Odds On (1966), was written under the pseudonym John Lange and was followed by seven more Lange novels. He also wrote as Michael Douglas ...more
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“In other centuries, human beings wanted to be saved, or improved, or freed, or educated. But in our century, they want to be entertained. The great fear is not of disease or death, but of boredom. A sense of time on our hands, a sense of nothing to do. A sense that we are not amused.” 89 likes
“Professor Johnston often said that if you didn't know history, you didn't know anything. You were a leaf that didn't know it was part of a tree.” 46 likes
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