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The Cross-Time Engineer (Adventures of Conrad Stargard, Book 1) Mass Market Paperback – January 12, 1986

25 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Leo Frankowski was born on February 13, 1943, in Detroit. By the time he was thirty-five, he had held more than a hundred different positions, ranging from "scientist in an electro-optics research lab to gardener to chief engineer. Much of his work was in chemical, optical, and physical instrumentation, and earned him a number of U.S. patents.

Since 1977, he has owned and managed Sterling Manufacturing & Design, the only mostly female engineering company in the Detroit area. Sterling designs electrical and fluid power controls for automatic special machines. It also produces Formitrol®, a stretchy material that is used to fix rusty cars.

He is active in MENSA, the Society for Creative Anachronism, and science fiction fandom. He is an officer in two writers' clubs, and his hobbies include reading, drinking, chess, kite flying, dancing girls, and cooking.

A lifelong bachelor, he lives alone in Sterling Heights, Michigan. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.


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Product Details

  • Series: Adventures of Conrad Stargard, Book 1
  • Mass Market Paperback: 259 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey (January 12, 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345327624
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345327628
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 4.2 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #326,928 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By silliman89 on August 7, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the best time travel series in a realistic timeline ever written. Before these books, L. Sprague De Camp had held that title for decades with his "Lest Darkness Fall", but it was too short. Mark Twain may be the most famous with his "Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court", but that is more light hearted than serious, and disappointing at the end. The Conrad series delivers on all the promise, and even after 5 books, it still leaves you wanting more. (There is a sixth book now, but Conrad is a minor character, and I've reviewed it separately.)
I say realistic timeline, because Conrad isn't really from our timeline. I was a little suspicious right from the start, but it wasn't until Conrad reminisced about the Mongols invading France that I thought "Hey, wait a minute". It turns out that it didn't happen to us (even without Conrad). But the historians I read agree that it would have, except the great Khan died and the Mongols had a war of succession which they never recovered from. This is often used as an example of the actions of one person changing history. I never even heard the story, until Conrad got me to look it up. Go figure.
This is an action story, with fighting and sex, where Conrad overcomes insurmountable obstacles, and usually has a good time along the way. The author doesn't just ignore the time travel though. He writes a science fiction sub-plot about that too. In fact, the author is obviously an engineer, not just because it takes an engineer for Conrad to build the things he does, but also from the way the books were planned out and crafted. Obviously the author planned the Mongol invasion and built the series around it, but he also foreshadows romantic sub-plots 3 books in advance.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By james on April 22, 2004
Format: Unbound
This book, and the others in this series are well thought out, fun, and fast reading books. This series is on my top 10 to re-read list. The book tickles that imaginative spot in most peoples brain that questions "what if I was stuck in poland Pre-Mongol invasion?" Sure we all have thought about it, but Leo Frankowski has brought the idea to life with "The Cross Time Engineer". This is a must read.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Harvey H. Meeker on December 4, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I started reading this series with the second book the High-Tech Knight and only realized that I missed the first book after reading the third. It doesn't matter though as Frankowski's writing holds up very well throughout this series right up until the last two books which accelerate quickly downhill.
This book tells the tale of Conrad Stargard's (nee Schwartz) inadvertent journey back through time to medieval Poland. He there finds himself put upon to use his preponderant knowledge of engineering (and future events) to change the course of history. While he enjoys the comforts of the time (ahem) he also works to improve the lifestyle of all the people that surround him. In the process of making friends he also makes several enemies which engenders more than a few exciting moments.
The mixing of the future and the past makes for a tantalizing tale of fantasy, history and science fiction come together. This book starts it all and is well worth the effort to obtain as the information given here is referenced in several of the following books.
I have every single one of these books and excepting the last two books (Lord Conrad's Lady, only average, and Conrads Search for Rubber, which really should be avoided at all costs) they are all exceptional works.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Will Knight on July 29, 2013
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Originally posted at Bibliophilia, Please [[...]

This review covers the first four books in the series, as they're kind of fast moving and these cover the first arc.

Move over Marty McFly! Here comes Conrad Stargard, and he will make out with your mother.

It's semi-modern day Poland, and Conrad got massively drunk, stumbled into a storeroom in an inn and passed out. He woke up in 1231 A.D., lost, penniless and without even knowing he was stranded in time. And then things got bad. He had a massive hangover.

Conrad's an engineer and a communist. The book does get into politics and religion a bit, but it's not a theological or philosophical book. It's about timetravel, action, and plenty of naked women. Sex scenes are not very graphic, but sex is pretty much ever-present. I don't know if it's a reflection of the times, or if the author just liked the idea of his main character having sex with tons of eager young ladies.

I like Conrad. He's a bit too stupidly moral and honorable, but he's a good main character for the times. Smart, resourceful, determined and on a mission. Thanks to a good education in history, Conrad knows just how much trouble Poland, and him and everyone in it, are in. The Mongols are coming in 10 years and will kill and ravage everything and everyone in sight. Well, not if Conrad has anything to say about it!

The first four books cover these 10 years and Conrad's attempt to prepare Poland to survive the Mongol Horde. It's a fun ride to watch him attempt the Industrial Revolution a couple hundred years before its time. Teaching blacksmiths how to make proper steel, introducing the loom for faster and better cloth, steam engines, a proper army, you name it.
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