An A to Z of Literary Ladies – Kate Erickson

Kate Erickson

“Kate moved quickly down the center rafter. Despite the height above the floor, she felt perfectly comfortable. The beam was six inches wide. Nothing to it. Hearing another gasp from the people below, she glanced back and saw Sir Guy step onto the center beam…” -Michael Crichton, Timeline

The Basics:

Short ash blonde hair; blue eyes; darkly tan; early twenties; originally from Colorado; a graduate student at Yale university spending the summer helping to excavate ruins in France along the Dordogne River.

Where to find her:

Kate Erickson is a secondary character in a 1999 novel by Michel Crichton entitled  Timeline. A science fiction thriller, Timeline tells the story of a group of historians who travel back to medieval France on a rescue mission. Anyone familiar with me knows that time travel is a favorite book theme of mine and this particular one is my favorite.

Why she made the list:

I can come up with a few reasons why I’m a fan of Kate’s. First of all, she has a cool job. She was originally an architecture major but switched to history, so in the book she’s been recruited to spend the summer in France studying the ruins of an ancient medieval castle. When they end up traveling back to 1357, she is the one who knows her way around the castle and even shows the others a few secret passages she had discovered.

I could also say that I appreciate her practicality and resourcefulness. Originally, when she goes back in time, she is fitted with typical female clothing from the time period, however, Kate quickly discovers how confining and constricting the long skirt is so she trades it in first chance she gets and spends the remainder of the time masquerading as a young squire. That gives her the physical freedom of movement that brings me to my most favorite reason…she likes to climb stuff!

Kate is an avid rock climber, something she did quite a bit back home in Colorado. At the site, she spends every Sunday climbing the rock cliffs along the Dordogne River and when we first meet her, she is hanging from a harness fifty feet in the air taking mortar samples from the chapel ceiling. I totally get this.

As a kid, I was always up in trees or at the top of the monkey bars. There is a certain freedom that comes with being high up and I loved to freak out my mom by dangling from my knees. Even as an adult, I enjoy heights and climbing. My favorite ride is the Ferris wheel and, if I can ever talk my husband into it, I would love to go up in a hot air balloon.

Near the end of the book, there is a really great chase scene that puts Kate’s climbing skills and her love of heights to very good use. In an attempt to get away from a very nasty knight she finds herself tiptoeing around up in the rafters of the castle’s great hall. Michael Crichton very kindly included some illustrations in the book including this one of the ceiling…


Does it look like fun to you? Kate thinks it is and, as she moves around quite nimbly from beam to beam the crowd below begins cheering her on. I don’t want to spoil the suspense by telling you exactly what happens but I will tell you, it doesn’t end well for the knight.😊


imageMy A to Z Challenge theme this year is a celebration of literary females.

I don’t necessarily mean famous literature or famous women, just ladies from some of the many books I have read over the years, who have stayed with me for whatever reason. Some are main characters, some are not. Some are heroines, some are screw-ups and some are very, very naughty but, for me, they were the driving force in the story, the reason I kept reading or came back to read again.

Perhaps, if you haven’t already met these literary ladies, you’ll be inspired to, and if you have, we can compare notes and share opinions. I’d love to hear about your favorite female.


10 thoughts on “An A to Z of Literary Ladies – Kate Erickson

  1. I read the quote from the book and thought to myself that it sounded familiar. I had forgotten the name of the book was Timeline, but I have read this book, too. It was very good! If memory serves, they made a movie out of it. Not as good as the book, of course, but not bad. Hmmmmm, now I may have to go to my nearby, really cool, used bookstore, and see if they have a copy of this. The copy I read belonged to my now ex-husband, so not in the house any longer. 🙂 Thanks for reminding me of this book. BTW, I love books that deal with time travel, too!

    • Yes, you should absolutely find a copy and reread (shame we don’t live closer, I could just loan you mine)! I’m so glad I reminded you. The movie was a lot different so I did like the book better but that is usually how I feel. Good luck!

      • I wish we lived closer so we could share some cups of coffee together. 🙂 Very few books have I liked the movie better. The ones I can think of where I actually liked the movies better are Forest Gump, The Horse Whisperer, and Brooklyn.

      • I agree about Forest Gump and the Horse Whisper (love Robert Redford and Scarlett was amazing in it). Haven’t seen Brooklyn yet but I was really disappointed in how the book ended. Was the movie less “anti climatic”?
        PS This conversation would be much easier and fun over a cup of coffee in person!

      • Yes, the conversation would be wonderful over a cup of coffee! I’m not going to say anything one way or the other about the ending of the movie. I will say I liked the ending of the movie, but wanted it to keep going. Wasn’t ready for it to end. I agree, Scarlett was amazing in The Horse Whisperer. In truth, I think she and some of the supporting actors are what made that movie.

  2. I was always at the top of the nearest tree as a kid and I used to like sitting up on the carport roof but I’m not quite as brave in my middle-age. Not sure I could walk across a roof beam any more.

    • I always wished we lived in a two story house so I could climb out the window onto the roof! Not sure I would be brave enough now either, but maybe….?

      • We live in a two storey house but with a single story roofline on the front room and down the side. Also a porch roof at the front door. I climb up on that to clean the Eldest Son’s bedroom window and then walk around the side to clean the one at the end of the upstairs hallway. I love the clambering over the roof bit but I hate getting from the ladder onto the roof. The other day I did it while no one was home (carrying a bucket up the ladder) and later thought that probably, with my propensity to fall off things and damage myself, that wasn’t the wisest move. But the windows are clean. 🙂

        I could climb out the boy’s bedroom window but it’s a wind out window, not a sash, so I’d have to unscrew the winder. Urgh.

      • Eek! I’m covering my eyes thinking about you going up that ladder carrying a bucket!!! I need to get up high in a way that doesn’t require grace or balance, since I have neither. Be careful please! 😳

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