Another one-star book for the "so bad it pissed me off" category. I so wanted to like this book. Up until this book I think I read nearly everything Crichton wrote. Timeline, in my opinion, had a great premise. Swashbuckler disguised as Sci-Fi. The problem I had was that Crichton tried too hard to explain his premises, and ended up making a jumble that even he couldn't untangle. This book was supposed to have all the good stuff: time travel, knights, castles, fighting, suspense. But the characters don't ever really make it off the page. The bad guys are so one-dimensional, they are hard to hate. Good book hate requires conflict, and the bad guys are just so unrelentingly bad. Same issue with the good guys, the "good" guys are so boring, they're hard to root for. In the end, I didn't really care if they made it back okay. Speaking of the ending, it all seemed like it was just tacked on because some editor said: "Okay, you have to wrap this up in the next 40 pages, or it won't make a good movie script!" They're all in this inextricable mess, but suddenly the tide turns completely in their favor for the "good guys" who repair the device at the last second, make it running, send the bad guys back to die horribly, and the two sympathetic couples live happily ever after with babies? Ha!...which is another thing that pissed me off. It seemed like Crichton was writing this just because it had been too long since he wrote a book that would "make a great movie!" (Thought the movie kind of sucked too.) And sure enough, it got optioned. bah. Don't you remember the days of amazing novels by Crichton?