Quantum physics is the focus of the book and its many possibilities. These include parallel universes, time travel and subatomic computers. Crichton indicates that several companies are already involved in a great deal of R&D in these fields.
The story focuses on a group of archeologists being sent back in time to rescue a colleague in 14th century England. He had gone back there to the same site at which he was digging at in the present and not returned. He had then left a message in a bunch of parchments that he knew his colleagues would find in the present.
The group of rescuers includes Professor Mare, who always thought himself to be a knight. Mare seems quite at home in the past and one can easily predict what his fate will be. There is Chris, who is a wimpy professor who becomes a "man" but going back and being forced to live in a cruel and menacing era. Kate is the mandatory lady that needs rescuing in this tale though at various points she seems to hold her own. Two "security" types get bumped off rapidly (a la Star Trek) round out the cast.
Back in the lab in the present is Stern the scientist who comes up with the idea a "band-aid" approach to repair the technology that failed in the nick of time. Donniger the head of the project who is similar to some of the project heads in other Crichton books (Jurassic Park).
The book did have its suspenseful moments (the inept Chris having to face a knight in a jousting match) but as one reads you can many times guess the outcome. The cruelty and complete disregard for human life took all the glamour out of what we expect knight tales to be.
This book is definitely not a page-turner but there is enough history and science to make it worth a read.
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