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In 1999, Professor Edward Johnston heads a team of historians and archaeologists in studying a site in the Dordogne region of France where the medieval towns of Castelgard and La Roque stood. Suspicious of ITC's (their funder) detailed knowledge of the site, Johnston flies to their headquarters in New Mexico to investigate. Soon the archaeologists find modern objects Ч that they recognize as Johnston's eyeglasses Ч amongst untouched ruins. Researchers Chris Hughes, Kate Erickson, André Marek (a medieval re-enactor), and David Stern fly to ITC. They learn that Johnston traveled to 1357, to the site they were excavating, but did not return as expected.

Chris, Kate, and André travel to the past with two experienced ITC employees and are given 37 hours to return with Johnston. Upon arriving, one of the ITC guides pulls out a pistol and several hand grenades, arguing to the lead guide that even though Doniger (the owner of ITC) had strictly forbidden bringing any modern day artifacts into the past, this mission could be very dangerous. Shortly after, the ITC employees are killed by Sir Guy de Malegant who is chasing a boy through the woods. As the horse archers gallop out the forest, the rebellious guide runs to the time machine, grabs a grenade, and pulls the pin. Moments before he can throw it, an arrow punctures his chest and throat, killing him and driving him into the time machine. The machine instantly reverts back to the present, with the dead guide and the armed hand grenade with it. In the lab, the time machine apears, and the hand grenade blows up damaging the return site, and preventing the time travelers from coming back until it is repaired. Sir Guy de Malegant also tramples the already dead lead guide (Gomez) with his horse. Stern, who had stayed behind because he did not trust the explanation of time-travel methodology given (particularly concerning matter destruction and reconstruction), proves to be helpful to ITC in their efforts to rescue everyone. Yet throughout the story, their efforts are ignored and sometimes stalled by ITC founder Robert Doniger because he prizes good public relations over human lives.

Kate and André see Johnston being taken away by the men of Lord Oliver of Castelgard. Separated from the others, Chris follows the boy and accidentally declares himself as a noble. The boy leads Chris to Castelgard and reveals herself as Lady Claire in disguise and running from a suitor. In the castle, Chris and André find themselves challenged to joust Sir Guy and his second. Chris, thanks to André's instruction, survives the joust and André defeats both Sir Guy and his second. Sir Oliver orders the death of André and Chris for dishonoring Sir Guy. Kate helps them escape, but from then on they are pursued by the forces of Oliver, most notably Sir Guy and Sir Robert de Kere

Sir Oliver believes that Johnston knows a secret passageway into the otherwise impenetrable castle of La Roque. Arnaut de Cervole is approaching Castelgard to lay siege and Oliver must know this secret to successfully defend the castle. Johnston helps Oliver, despite knowing that, historically, he loses the siege, but he never gains Oliver's trust. Chris, André, and Kate use Johnston's clues (which they had uncovered in 1999) to find the secret passageway themselves in order to save Johnston.

Chris and company learn that someone else from 1999 is also in the past with them and has been spying on their transmissions, always staying one step ahead in their pursuit for Lord Oliver. ITC knows that Rob Deckard, an employee and former marine who went insane from too many "transcription errors" (slight mistakes in the matter reconstruction process), went into 1357 more than a year ago and never returned. Eventually Robert de Kere reveals his identity to the researchers and tells them that he has no intention of permitting their return to 1999.

Kate, Chris, and André are captured by Arnaut's men but are saved by Lady Claire and later escape. André enters La Roque as Johnston's assistant. As Arnaut prepares his siege, Oliver decides that Johnston is hiding information and takes him to a torture device to drown him. Meanwhile Chris and Kate find the secret passageway and enter La Roque. Kate kills Sir Guy and Arnaut's men begin to enter La Roque. Arnaut and André find Oliver about to drown Johnston, but save Johnston and leave Oliver to drown instead.

ITC and Stern finally repair the landing area just in time for the returning travelers. Chris kills Robert de Kere and the team escapes the chaos of the siege to return back to 1999. André, who dreamt of living as a knight in the Middle Ages, decides to stay in the past and marry Lady Claire. After learning of Doniger's true reason for developing time travel technology, to create historically accurate and genuine tourist attractions, ITC employees transport him to Castelgard circa 1348, where he finds himself immersed in the Black Death. Months later, Chris, a pregnant Kate, and Johnston go to a castle where there are two burial stones, one depicting Claire, and the other depicting André. Documents stated that André and Claire were deeply in love and had five children. André's family motto was mes compaingnons cui j'amoie et cui j'aim, ... Me di, chanson, meaning "Companions whom I loved, and still do love,... Tell them, my song."

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