In the heart of the beautiful and historically rich Dordogne Valley of France, a team of archaeology students and their professor diligently work to uncover the ruins of a 14th-century castle. For Professor Edward Johnston, the project is the culmination of a lifelong dream. Aided by assistant professor Andre Marek, his son Chris and students Kate, Stern and Francois, Johnston has made major strides in unearthing not only La Roque Castle but also a monastery and structures from the surrounding village of Castelgard.
But things are about to go haywire...
Suspicious of the dig's benefactor, International Technology Corporation (ITC) and the man who runs it, Robert Doniger, Professor Johnston heads to ITC headquarters in New Mexico to get some answers, and while he's away, his students discover a chamber that has been sealed for more than 600 years. Marek and Kate descend into the unstable room, and just before a near disastrous cave-in, they make two startling discoveries -- a bifocal lens, which couldn't have been invented before the chamber was sealed, and even more intriguing, a handwritten plea for help dated April 2, 1357... from Professor Johnston!
Determined to solve the mystery, the students head for ITC headquarters, where they are stunned to learn of Doniger's new invention -- a machine that can actually transmit three-dimensional objects through space. Although he meant for the device to revolutionize shipping, Doniger inadvertently opened a wormhole that leads directly to the 14th century, and Professor Johnston, who had insisted on experiencing the discovery himself, is now trapped in a vicious French vs. English feudal war! Can Johnston's loyal students survive one of the most violent battles in world history... and make it back to the 21st century alive?
In order to impose a total realism, Richard Donner (Ladyhawke, Superman, Lethal Weapon) made build in the vicinity of Montreal in only thirteen weeks the complete human size structures of a castle based on castles of the valley of the Dordogne in France. Scenes of the most elaborated combats mobilized up to 300 hundred of participating people armed with masses, sabres, swords, arcs and burning arrows.
With more than 100 millions of copies translated in about thirty languages, Michael Crichton alternates between bestsellers and direction of prestigious films (Westworld, Looker, Coma). For this writer and moviemaker fascinated by science fiction, « Timeline » is his twelfth novel carried to screen.