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Publisher's Summary

Michael Crichton's novel opens on the threshold of the twenty-first century. It is a world of exploding advances on the frontiers of technology. Information moves instantly between two points, without wires or networks. Computers are built from single molecules. Any moment of the past can be actualized - and a group of historians can enter, literally, life in fourteenth-century feudal France. Imagine the risks of such a journey.

Not since Jurassic Park has Michael Crichton given you such a magnificent adventure. Here, he combines a science of the future - the emerging field of quantum technology - with the complex realities of the medieval past. In a heart-stopping narrative, Timeline carries you into a realm of unexpected suspense and danger, overturning your most basic ideas of what is possible.

©1999 by Michael Crichton (P)1999 Random House, Inc. Random House Audio Publishing, A Division of Random House Inc.

What listeners say about Timeline

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Fun book, great narrator but audio quality is poor

As with most Crichton novels, it's just a fun story with a great premise, no need for deep analysis. I will say however that this recording is of very bad quality. There are sections that sound like they were recorded on different equipment or in a different room and there was no effort whatsoever at normalization. There are long gaps (10 to 15 seconds) sometimes between parts as well. I wonder of Audible has a Q&A dept and editors to process books. If so, this one clearly fell into a crack.

3 people found this helpful

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Great romp of a read! #Audible1

I enjoyed this audiobook enormously. First of all, the reader did a great job! He perfectly captured Crichton's bent for the sarcastic, and even did distinct voices for each character! LOL My only complaint was that he mispronounced certain words. But apart from that, he was an excellent listen! As for the book itself, it's an immensely gripping read! OK, hearing them get chased around the same castle gets a bit tedious occasionally, but Crichton saves it nicely with a combination of humour and plot and character development. And he's clearly done his historical homework, too, which is enormously appreciated! He's done an excellent job portraying the period accurately. And in fact, the book was quite informative! I learned a number of things about the 14th century while listening to it that I hadn't known before. And pleasantly, although he certainly doesn't sanitize the period, Crichton mercifully refrains from some of the gross-out of, say, Micro, for which my stomach was profoundly grateful! My one regret with the book is that the love-story between Andre and Lady Claire was a way sub-plot. I wish Crichton had given that element far more emphasis! But then, he's many things, but a romantic isn't one of them from everything of his I've read thus far. Overall, though, it was a great read, and definitely one I'll listen to again! #Audible1

2 people found this helpful

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Enjoyed it

I admit to watching the movie years ago before I listened to this book more recently. However, knowing what was going to happen did not detract from the story. I love history, specifically medieval history, and I found those part of the story were intriguing. Crichton does come back to present day to discuss what is happening there, and I admit I skipped some of those sections as I found them a bit boring. But those parts of the story were never long, so I didn't miss much. #Audible1

1 person found this helpful

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Captivating

This was an excellent book. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to it. The different accents that the narrator was able to do made it fun to follow.

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    4 out of 5 stars

A Crichton's Great. Balanced Insight into the Past

Some hate Crichton for no reason. His prose is a little plain, but highly effective. He was trained to be a doctor, and his writing shows clarity and purpose. The story is strong, but acts more like a survey of the past. The events are good enough. The characters are actually great; very realistic, and subtle. My major gripe is how one character dies at the end. It seemed rushed. However, the well crafted, bittersweet epilogue more than makes up for it. People are used to loud and energetic protagonists, but they are simply not that. They are college students and academics. I found myself at home among the educated introvert. L Some have complained that they escape too many close calls. Wrong again. They survive many dangerous, but easily survivable scenarios. It's realistic. They aren't on the knife's edge all the time. Crichton was a doctor, he would know. Loved it as a teen, still like it as an English Literature student. Though now I can see its flaws, I can also see it's deep merit and appreciate the many months of highly accurate research that must have gone into this. You can learn from Crichton, and here you can learn about the past too.

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  • Mega
  • 2017-03-10

Only get this recording if you find an unwavering backdrop of "tv static" and chatting technicians to be in anyway desirable.

Not only is the recording "fuzzy," you can literally hear people (possibly audio director and sound technicians) talking in the background. Their voices are quieter than a whisper, but are nonetheless distinct and are, in effect, seriously creepy. Like many of you, I have vision problems so I have to listen to my books, but other companies (ex. Audiobook Store) have a remastered version of this *exact same recording* that is as crisp and clear as a nicely chilled glass of Riesling. This version is...the audio equivalent of mud slopped into a tin can.

On the other hand, the story is FANTASTIC. So? I guess this is me raising my hand to
a) Warn other readers that Audible is probably not the place you should get this book
and
b) Most importantly *to let audible know that this recording has been improved by companies with many less resources. I suspect that you, the company, did not know exactly how bad it is. Please inform me if the recording is replaced with a higher quality version (to reps, there is a version of the exact same reading by the same narrator--someone just cleaned up the audio quality) and I will change my review immediately.

45 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Robert
  • 2008-08-26

entertaining story entwined with some real science

I didn't know what to expect when I downloaded this book as I had never previously read anything by Crichton. I was pleasantly surprised. The first part of the book combines real history with (mostly) real science and then, almost seamlessly flows into the fantasy/sci-fi story-line. Crichton slowly introduces his main characters, and he develops them into believable persons about whom we start to form our own opinions. However, it's when the setting jumps from the present back into the 14th Century that Crichton expands our knowledge-base, and the story really starts to unfold. Using well-researched history - social, cultural and economic - Crichton tells a story of another era when life was hard, and often little-valued. Our protagonists race against time to uncover a secret, a secret which might enable them to fulfill their mission and possibly enable them to return safely to the present time. A thriller, which is also educational - very satisfying.

55 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Charles Stembridge
  • 2007-06-26

Narrator

I enjoyed this book more than most, and am now 1/3 of the way through my second listining. I almost didn't start it the second time because of the narrator.

Most of his vocal charactarizations were at least OK, even his Arnold imitation of the Merrik character got the point across that he wasen't an American. To show that he was Dutch, and use Goldmember's accent (Bring out Austin Power's Faaasha!) would have been too much. I can live with this one.

The use of a whispering voice for the Gordon character, who was key for many important science-type explainations, was the most annoying. I listen to AudioBooks while driving, and had to back up and shove my ear plug right up against my eardrum to hear what the character was trying to say. Also, whenever two of the other characters were involved in an 'aside' between themselves (like saying something they didn't want the others to hear), the narrator would actually either whisper, or lower his voice so much that I couldn't hear what was going on.

I gave the book a '4' for content and general listenability. I had to average in the '1' I gave for narration. The narrator should be required to listen to his own performance before being allowed to release this edition to the public.

Otherwise, I found the Quantum theory explainations to be facinating. "If you can explain Quantum Physics, you don't understand it yourself." Its so counter-intuitive, and trashes most or all 'Natural Laws', that explaining it at all was quite a streach. Good job here.

This book is a Cliff-Hanger, Sci-Fi, psudo-historical genre. If you don't like this type of fiction, don't buy it. Of course its going to be somewhat predictable. Naturally its going to be a 'damsel in distress' old movie seriel type of book. Expect it!

I liked especially the descriptions of Medevil France. I've read alot of histories, but none brought across the absolute brutality of this world as well as this author. Life back then was Short & Violent.

72 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kelli
  • 2007-05-17

Slow To Start, But Worth The Wait!!

Even as a Mathematician, I found the book a bit slow to start, but WELL worth the wait. This book is absolutely gripping; you are sure to find yourself unable to turn it off!! The ending is absolutely perfect! After purchasing this book, i've since passed it on to anyone I know that enjoys history, time travel, adventure and descriptive fiction that never ceases to pull you in!
This is an absolute must buy!!! If you have seen the movie that attempts to touch on the highlights of this wonderful book, please GET ALL THOUGHTS OF IT OUT OF YOUR MEMORY NOW and order the unabridged audio-- it is NOTHING that even remotely resembles the book.
I just can't say enough great things about this book, it is a tie with The Da Vinci Code as one of my top picks.
If you get a couple hours into the audio and find yourself a bit bored and wanting a stronger plotline and more character development-- hang on! You're almost there, it kicks in explosively and takes you on and incredible ride!
ENJOY!!

17 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • William
  • 2004-11-13

Good Book, Bad Movie

Don't skip this book because you didn't like the movie. The book has a good story line and good character development. Enough detail so that you understand the plot (the movie was terrible in this regard). The book moved along at a good pace. It did get bogged down once or twice but not enough to distract from the story. Its not a masterpiece and won't become a classic but it is a good and entertaining book. I would recommend. By the way, the reader was excellent which adds to the enjoyment of the book.

24 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Mak
  • 2012-08-05

A Page Turner

Timeline is a fast-paced science fiction novel which incorporates time travel, historical conflicts during the dark ages (France, 1357) and a group of current day historians and students who are caught dangerously in the middle.

Although slightly “cinematic”, Crichton provides just enough character development, time travel technology and historical reference to keep this book “lightweight” and enjoyable throughout. I especially enjoyed the portrayal of Europe in the 1300s as compared (or actually contrasted) to our current lifestyles. Political affairs, personal interests and greed seem familiar but everyday survival and personal success take on an entirely different meaning. I found it hard to put down towards the finish.

The narration and sound quality were good.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Great Tutu Kona
  • 2003-12-04

I was HOOKED immediately!!

Loved this book. Crichton does such a great job at explaining quantum theory. I was on the internet for hours trying to find out if he was really telling the truth. What an idea! I listen to Audible while sewing and I HATE to sew. Let me tell you, the time flew by spending it in 14th century France and I got a LOT of sewing done.
Okay, so Michael is no Charles Dickens, but he is damn entertaining. If you want escape, he's the guy for you. I saw the movie the day it was released. It was a fast track of the book, following it more or less loosely. But it was just as enjoyable; maybe a little more so, because I knew something of the characters' backgrounds. Now when I listen to the book again, I can put faces and places in my mind's eye and have a great time all over again.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Louis
  • 2010-05-09

Timeline

Good story, switching between the present and the past. I enjoyed the peek into the way we lived 700 years ago, and the details of the time. Time travel would really be marvelous, and the author does an excellent job of describing this concept.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Robin
  • 2003-09-29

Wonderful!

This was my first Michael Crichton book and I loved the book. It was a blend of a Midevil and futuristic world. Never ending suspense!

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lee
  • 2003-10-13

Timeline(unabridged)

Seemed to be a very detailed sci-fi novel. This specific piece had all the suspense and mystery to hold your attention and as well as keeping you on the edge of your seat waitting for the next page or sequence in the audio.This was also easy to follow the basic line of the story. Bravo

3 people found this helpful