Timeline

Michael Crichton, Author Knopf/Everyman's Library $26.95 (464p) ISBN 978-0-679-44481-7
""And the Oscar for Best Special Effects goes to: Timeline!"" Figure maybe three years before those words are spoken, for Crichton's new novel--despite media reports about trouble in selling film rights, which finally went to Paramount--is as cinematic as they come, a shiny science-fantasy adventure powered by a superior high concept: a group of young scientists travel back from our time to medieval southern France to rescue their mentor, who's trapped there. The novel, in fact, may improve as a movie; its complex action, as the scientists are swept into the intrigue of the Hundred Years War, can be confusing on the page (though a supplied map, one of several graphics, helps), and most of its characters wear hats (or armor) of pure white or black. Crichton remains a master of narrative drive and cleverness. From the startling opening, where an old man with garbled speech and body parts materializes in the Arizona desert, through the revelation that a venal industrialist has developed a risky method of time-travel (based on movement between parallel universes; as in Crichton's other work, good, hard science abounds), there's not a dull moment. When elderly Yale history prof Edward Johnston travels back to his beloved 15th century and gets stuck, and his assistants follow to the rescue, excitement runs high, and higher still as Crichton invests his story with terrific period detail and as castles, sword-play, jousts, sudden death and enough bold knights-in-armor and seductive ladies-in-waiting to fill any toystore's action-figure shelves appear. There's strong suspense, too, as Crichton cuts between past and present, where the time-travel machinery has broken: Will the heroes survive and make it back? The novel has a calculated feel but, even so, it engages as no Crichton tale has done since Jurassic Park, as it brings the past back to vigorous, entertaining life. Agent, Lynn Nesbit. 1,500,000 first printing; Literary Guild nain selection; simultaneous large-print edition and audiobook. (Nov. 16)
Reviewed on: 11/15/1999
Release date: 11/01/1999
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FORMATS
Compact Disc - 978-0-375-40436-8
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-375-40435-1
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-375-40437-5
Paperback - 768 pages - 978-0-375-70416-1
Hardcover - 978-0-7838-0261-9
Mass Market Paperbound - 512 pages
Prebound-Glued - 496 pages - 978-0-613-33633-8
Mass Market Paperbound - 512 pages - 978-0-345-44194-2
Hardcover - 768 pages - 978-0-375-40873-1
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 978-0-345-46991-5
Mass Market Paperbound - 496 pages - 978-0-345-51781-4
Prebound-Other - 978-0-606-19739-7
Mass Market Paperbound - 512 pages - 978-0-345-44583-4
Paperback - 512 pages - 978-0-345-46826-0
Compact Disc - 978-0-7393-3422-5
Paperback - 978-3-442-45122-7
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4159-5038-8
Prebound-Glued - 978-0-7569-0661-0
Paperback - 496 pages - 978-0-09-924472-1
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