Badly wounded and on the run from his WWII Hungarian brigade, Janos Nagy stumbles through a temporal gateway to the future. Suddenly stranded in Manchester, England, 2041, Janos wants answers about a crazy world he doesn’t recognize.
Dieter Schmidt, flamboyant historian/linguist for the Temporal Research Institution has those answers, but the TRI is a neutral entity, set up to verify historical events under a strict code of noninterference. That doesn’t stop Dieter from taking Janos under his protection. Trust doesn’t come easy to Janos, who came from a time when revealing his secrets could get him killed, but the two men slowly build a tentative friendship with a possibility for more. But Janos’s continued presence in the future and Dieter’s persistence raise questions about the limits of the noninterference policy.
Since the rules have been bent once, one agent sees no reason why he can’t push them further, and he travels back to 1914 to make a few changes of his own. Under Janos’s guidance, Dieter must leap back in time to stop the rogue agent from changing the past and risking everyone’s future—if he can survive history.
I love time travel novels, and this one did not disappoint. Time Waits was a bit unusual as it takes place in the future, 2041 to be exact, and one of our main characters is from the WWII era — a wounded, nearly dead Hungarian soldier on the run who suddenly finds himself in an unexpected time period in a confusing place surrounded by strangers. This aspect added an especially riveting element to the story.
I enjoyed the slow-build of the romance in this story as each of our two protagonists fights his attraction for the other; Nagy because of internalized homophobia due to an especially traumatic and horrifying event in his past and out-and-proud Dieter, who fights against taking advantage of this man now trapped 100 years in the future. It’s also worth noting that Dieter also has severe PTSD as a result of his initial encounter with Nagy.
Both men suffer from physical wounds and deep emotional wounds, and the road to recovery isn’t easy for either of them. Thus, they have a plethora of issues they need to overcome, and I enjoyed witnessing their journey as they did so, though the book explores a few dark themes along the way.
In this way, Time Waits ends up being quite an emotional read that takes us on a rollercoaster of emotional ups and downs: pride, anger, aggression, resentment, hope, hopelessness, kindness, cruelty, hatred, and love. The romance here is complicated as both men have traumas preventing them from opening up to the other. And just when you think our guys have finally attained their “happily ever after,” the author throws in one final heart-wrenching curveball, which sends their futures into uncertainty.
So even though the beginning of their relationship was more than a tad rocky side, our two protagonists do have an amazing simmering chemistry between them, and I rooted for their HEA. They’re both complex, multi-layered, and exceptionally vivid characters — so vivid, in fact, that they jumped off the page for me. There was also some phenomenal world-building here, which also helped to bring this story to life.
The author does a brilliant job of crafting vivid, tension-filled, heartfelt scenes that flooded me with the characters’ depth, complexity, and their flawed, beautiful hearts. Besides being a compelling sci-fi adventure, Time Waits is also a heart-tugger of a story filled with life, loss, fear, survival, heartbreak, compassion, and eventually, love. This immersive narrative swept me up from the first page to the last. It’s about facing unimaginable heartbreak and coming out stronger on the other side, no matter how long it takes you.
This is the first book in the Time Lost series, and I’ll definitely be continuing on with the rest of them.
A huge thank you to Netgalley and Nine Star Press for providing me with a review copy of this book.