Timeline by Michael Crichton

14th century metal helmet
Helmet topped a metal outfit.

In Michael Crichton’s Timeline, an American company has discovered how to exploit the properties of quantum physics to send people back in time to study history. ITC lures archeologists studying a 14th French century site to be time-travel guinea pigs.

When archeology project’s director disappears near where within days the French and English will fight an historic battle, four of his associates are zapped back in time to look for him. In France, the four young people get separated.

Preparing for battle, both armies are wary of strangers who may be spies for their opponents.

Back in the US, the transporter equipment is out of order. Even if it’s repaired quickly, the archeologists may not be saved: Sometimes transportation has nasty side effects.  ITC’s CEO is too busy practicing his spiel to attract new investors to worry about getting the researchers back to 20th century America.

Crichton keeps the American story in hand, but lets the story in France get hopelessly muddled. Besides the confusion of two armies in the field and the noncombatants scrambling to get out of the way, Crichton adds secret passages, coded messages, and deep dungeons until he turns his extensive research into farce.

Timeline by Michael Crichton
Alfred A. Knopf. ©1999. 450 p.
1999 bestseller #5; my grade: C-

©2020 Linda G. Aragoni