Michael Crichton remains one of my favorite authors, mostly because I grew up reading Jurassic Park more times than I can count. His books are always pretty short and easy to read over a long weekend. I enjoyed this one in particular because I’ve always had a weird fascination with the Middle Ages. After spending some time in Europe and being exposed to some truly old cities (compared to cities in the US), it got me thinking about how these places looked half a millennium ago. How were they furnished? What were they used for? What did they smell like? (Poo and body odor, probably.) What were the people like, and what did they talk about during their day-to-day? It’s fascinating to think about.
A moment that stuck with me from this book is when the group first sets foot in the medieval world. One of the first things they notice is how quiet it is—the complete lack of ambient noise. We’ve become so accustomed to man-made white noise (planes in the sky, distant traffic, ventilation systems, etc.) that it’s nearly impossible to find a place that’s completely isolated from it. We don’t even notice until it’s missing.