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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
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    3,370
  • 4 Stars
    1,994
  • 3 Stars
    843
  • 2 Stars
    255
  • 1 Stars
    118
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    2,547
  • 4 Stars
    1,273
  • 3 Stars
    492
  • 2 Stars
    131
  • 1 Stars
    75
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    2,618
  • 4 Stars
    1,182
  • 3 Stars
    532
  • 2 Stars
    133
  • 1 Stars
    64

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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

91 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

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.

83 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

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.

66 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Timeline

A terrific book. Nonstop suspense, well researched. One of the best books I've heard.

55 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

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.

29 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Non-Stop Action - A REAL page turner

I could hardly put down my MP3 player. Non-stop action and a really compelling group of characters.

28 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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!!

22 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Extremely Disappointing

I have never written a review before because usually I'm content to go with the flow and enjoy what I've bought. But in this case I felt compelled to say something.

First, a confession. This is the first Crichton book I've read/listened to, and I'm afraid it's likely to be my last. I actually went in with high expectations, I guess because of word of mouth and the enjoyable Jurassic Park movie. Perhaps that was my downfall.

Despite the sophisticated -- and potentially quite interesting -- premise of quantum mechanics allowing time travel, this book could have easily been written by a ninth grader. Both plot and character development were extremely formulaic. There were turns in the plot that had nothing to do with anything except trying to make things exciting, and failing. There were characters who, had they been developed might have been pretty interesting, yet they were thrown aside never to be heard from again. And any characters who WERE developed were caricatures of themselves, with not even an inkling of subtelty. I found myself rolling my eyes WAY more than should be allowed for any science fiction thriller.

To cap it all off, I wasn't a huge fan of the narrator, either. There were numerous times in the reading when it was clear the narrator didn't understand the point of what he was reading, using phrasing that was completely out of alignment with the text.

Oh well. This is the ONLY time where the overall rating of Audible listeners led me astray, and I've been a listener for several years. And this is just my opinion. If others found this book enjoyable, so be it. I just felt compelled, for the first time in my life, to express my personal dissatisfaction.

Sorry.

20 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

audible needs a rating system...

Great book! However, I personally am OFFENDED when I hear the "f" word. There needs to be way to know before you buy a book if the author has used it or not. I'm sure I'm not the only one that feels this way. That said, I loved the story and the style of writing.

16 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

I so wish there were two and a half stars...

Because I am certainly in two minds about this book. On the one hand, I loved the "realized history" of life in the 14th century. Crichton obviously did his homework on this one. His opinion (woven throughout the tale, and stated explicitly in the epilogue) that modern man's arrogant assumption of progressive superiority over preceding generations does not stand up to historical fact is right on.

On the other hand, the book--as a work of fiction--fell far short of my expectations. Many other reviewers noted the predictable, repetitive plot turns, immature character development, and a story premise that just lacked compelling interest. It really did read like a treatment for a screenplay; one with lots and lots of extra scenes that could be dropped or rearranged to fit the director's needs.

But to try to make this review constructive, I will take a stab at predicting whether you'll like the book: If you're a history buff who enjoys a well-researched historical novel, and who also likes a swashbuckling, "Perils of Pauline" adventure story, this book is for you. If you're looking for a more nuanced science fiction mind-bender in the style of Bradbury or Heinlein, you will be disappointed.

13 people found this helpful

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • V. S.
  • 07-15-05

Crichton at his best!

Don't be put off by the rubbish movie made of this book. In fact if you haven't seen the movie, don't bother, get this book instead. Crichton is a master at seeing the possibilities in today's technology and weaving masterful fiction around the 'what ifs'. This is my favorite Michael Crichton book - the research he put into this is phenomenal and the narrator does a wonderful, wonderful job. A brilliant blend of science fiction and medieval history.

Well worth using an audio credit on!

20 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • WJE Hoppitt
  • 08-29-07

Crichton writes of science gone wrong- again!

I got this book after seeing the film which I thought was good fun. As with Jurassic Park the book has much more depth to it, with much more to the characters, science fiction aspects and historical descriptions. Crichton paints a gruesome picture of medieval warfare and conflict, which contrasts with some of the rather quaint depictions we are used to from films and children?s stories. It is, therefore, somewhat surprising to hear his conclusion in the epilogue that the so-called ?Dark Ages? were an invention of the Renaissance, and that humankind has not since advanced to a better way of life. Whether you agree with Crichton?s usual paranoia of scientific and technological advancement, it always makes for an exciting read, and Timeline is no exception, with a catastrophe around every corner for our heroes! Well worth a credit.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Jane
  • 01-24-07

A bit repetitive

I really enjoyed the first half of this, but after that started to play it at a faster speed because I was getting bored (I don't normally do this). The idea behind the story is very good and the blend of science and history works well. But then there are a lot of repetitive fight scenes which don't really advance the plot at all, but which all take place at some significant feature of medieval architecture which gets explained in detail. I also felt that the plot did not entirely hold together and that some opportunities to explore interesting themes were wasted. Overall it isn't bad, it just doesn't finish as strongly as it starts.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Helen
  • 04-08-22

Great story with some questionable science

I love this story and it gets your imagination going. Don’t spend too much time thinking about the scientific stuff which doesn’t stand up to scrutiny, just allow it to facilitate the historic tale. Not that this is accurate either but it is fun and educational. The disappointments lie in the formatting. Splitting the story into just a few chapters, one of which is many hours in length, makes it difficult to move around. There are also quite a lot of very long gaps for no apparent reason.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Steve
  • 03-30-13

One of my favourites..

I love this audiobook; it's one that I return to over and over. Being an avid audiobook listener (I'm often listening for many hours at a time) I have built up quite a library of go to authors and Crichton is up there with The King. Timeline is a definite Crichton book with a good science fantasy base (like Jurassic Park et al) which is Crichton's story style of "what if...."



The other key thing with audio books is the narration and I have had occasion to put up with/get used to some poor production values or irritating accents but in this instance you don't notice the narration, which is as it should be, and is the highest praise for John Bedford Lloyd's skills. He doesn't get in the way of the story but enhances it very much like Stephen Fry. This is an under appreciated craft and I hope that as this market expands more quality narrators will emerge.



Anyway, I recommend Timeline, it's well written, well read, and a good length.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Christine
  • 01-23-10

Thoroughly excellent!

Being a huge Michael Crichton fan I couldn't let this one pass by. I read it a few years ago when it first came out and was delighted to see that in audio format. This was a throughly enjoyable and absorbing listen.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • NewBox Reviews
  • 10-29-08

Wow, I learned a lot and enjoyed it

When the book first started I felt a bit out of my depth, it starts off talking about quantum physics and it's history. I thought oh no what have I let my self in for. But after the introduction (which is very informative), I really enjoyed the book. I love the way they mixed fiction with non-fiction. I thought this was a very good story and very well thought out and really well researched.