Timeline is a 1999 novel by author Michael Crichton. It involves quantum physics effectively applied as time travel (though it is more complicated than that), set in the Hundred Years War.An old man has been found in the midst of the New Mexico desert, and is soon discovered to have strange deformities and to be an employee of a company named ITC. He is dead within a day of his discovery, and is quickly cremated by his closest associates. Meanwhile, a group of researchers in the Dordogne region of France, exploring a medieval archaeological dig, make an astounding discovery. ITC contacts them and reveals its greatest secret - tapping quantum technology to effectively travel through time...A film adaptation was released in 2003, starring Paul Walker, Gerard Butler, Frances O'Connor, Billy Connolly and David Thewlis among others. The resulting movie was a critical and box office failure.
Tropes within the novel include:
Alternate Character Interpretation: In-universe example; historical records paint Lord Oliver as a heroic character and Arnaut de Cervole as the villain, yet the differences are blurred when the characters meet them.
Awesome, but Impractical: Due to Doniger's marketing plan, which is using the time travel technology just to create historically-accurate historical restorations, instead of, you know, obtaining stock prices from the future.
In the book this was a lie, and he planned to steal future technology.
Ax Crazy: Robert de Kere/Deckard. At first sight, a typical bloodthirsty medieval warrior, yet in fact a traveler gone mad due to transcription errors.
Justified: the reason the protagonists are sent to the past is that they are experts on exactly that time period.
Cut Lex Luthor a Check / Reed Richards Is Useless: A lot of the technologies that had to be developed to make they system work, like quantum computers that ran millions of calculations in parallel and down-to-the-atom body scanners, would have probably made more money than the actual plan ever could if they had just sold those.
Disguised in Drag: Kate and no-one else because guards were looking for three foreigners; two males and one female. Guess what they did to fool them?
Grandfather Paradox: When one of the travelers asks this exact question, Doninger explains that one person couldn't make the Mets beat the Yankees: i.e. you can't change the course of history that much. But when the questioner presses the point, we get a Hand Wave.
Law of Conservation of Detail : Heavily averted, as several pages are devoted to explaining the concepts of quantum mechanics and parallel universes, even though they really are not central to the plot.
Reality Is Unrealistic: A problem that ITC encounters when it tries to market the time travel technology. Who wants to witness the Gettysburg Address when all you're getting is watching an ugly man with an incredibly high-pitched voice speak quickly to a group of morose people in the rain? Who wants to see George Washington seasick and huddling with his men from a stormy, cold night during the famous crossing?
Sleep Learning: How ITC prepares its travelers to speak the proper dialects and such.
It doesn't work too well. Apart from picking up a few words and phrases while they're there, only André and the Professor can really communicate properly, since they already knew the basics. Chris manages to scrape by with a bit of Latin.
Thrown Out The Airlock: Adapted, effectively, on Doniger. In the book, he is tossed into the time machine and sent back a year after the rest, when the Black Death arrives in Europe.
Too Dumb to Live: The book version of Chris is pretty stupid, mostly not listening to André regarding anything for the first half. After which they're separated and he becomes marginally more intelligent.
Time Is Dangerous: Travel is accomplished by copying the information required to rebuild a perfect copy (at the atomic level) of the traveler and beaming this information into the past. Errors in copying are possible (in fact, inevitable if the machine isn't properly shielded) leading to Clone Degeneration.
Thrown Out The Airlock: Doniger is thrown into the final battle using the time machine, where a knight instantly decapitates him.
Too Dumb to Live: Taking François back with them. Did no-one understand that taking a Frenchman back in time to a period where the English and French were at war would be an incredibly bad idea? Sure enough, shortly after arriving, he is forced to translate the phrase "Je suis un espion" into English ("I am a Spy") and gets himself run through.
Sadistic Choice: Lord Oliver forces François to translate "I am a spy" from French into English to prove that he is an interpreter and not a spy. If he refuses or translates it wrongly, he'll be declared a spy and executed. If he complies... it'll be considered a confession and he will be executed.