Two vampires; immortal life; an anguished courtship. Ambrus, ancient and hedonistic, revels in his powers. But Edward is shocked and bitter when he’s turned against his will. Irresistibly drawn to each other, it may take a century for them to reach the love Ambrus wants – and that Edward needs.
Ambrus travels in space and time, a mature and confident vampire, not looking for any permanent companion. Then in the bloody trenches of WWI, he meets Edward, a beautiful young soldier turned vampire against his will and fighting his fate with bitter anger and resentment. Ambrus is irresistibly drawn to him but Edward rejects him at first. What then follows is a strange, anguished courtship throughout the century, as Ambrus seeks to help Edward find his own way to peace as an immortal, and Edward learns what real love – and a real lover – is.
This story is about two vampires, one newly turned when they first meet and the other who has lived several human lifetimes, and how their lives touch through time, from WW1 to the dawn of a new century. Ambrus found Edward on the battlefields of the Great War among the mud and filth that surrounded the fallen, as he is trying to cope after being turned by a rogue vampire. Edward is understandably angry at his fate, has no survival skills as a vampire, and is feeding wherever he can, even from his dead comrades. He is resentful and fearful and refuses Ambrus’ offer to help him through the transition from human to immortal and they part for several decades as each goes his separate way, although Ambrus always looks for Edward throughout his travels in order to help him. Ambrose has his own agenda in wanting to find Edward – he is very attracted to the handsome former soldier and he sees him as a future companion during his lonely eternal life.
Our protagonists reconnect after the war and then again in the swinging sixties, the time of peace and love and dope, and each time Edward grows in maturity and stature although he’s still having fun with his new mortal friends but he’s saddened to get his first taste of what his life will be like as his friends start to age and die and he’s left alone. Ambrus gently tries to impart his knowledge and wisdom to Edward to teach him about how his world will change now that he’s immortal, so that the transition from human to vampire is easier, but Edward only wants to have fun. Gradually Ambus wins him over through tenderness, love and sex. The sex was erotic and hot as only two vampires can make it and Edward at last understands what Ambrus is trying to show him; his own feelings start to change but will he want to be with Ambrus forever?
Even though Out of Time was dark initially I found the story to be quite compelling and moving, if only because of Ambrus who is complex, astute and persistent. He wants Edward with him forever but knows that Edward needs to first accept his fate and new reality, and second, spread his wings and come to his own decision about how his life will unfold and who he will choose to share it. Ambrus uses the lure of sex to get close to Edward and show him what a wonderful relationship they could have if only he would join him.
Clare London’s prose and the clever way she positions these two disparate protags, as well as the foxy and wily character of Ambrus who knew that all he had to do was be patient and he would get his heart’s desire for all eternity, are what lifted this story above the usual vampire fare. The concept was original and the execution even better. The changing decades also added to the uniqueness of the tale as the reader gets to experience, if only for a few minutes, times that have moved into history. The complexity of Edward’s and Ambrus’ relationship over the years and the way that Edward’s personality evolved from the young headstrong human soldier to the seasoned savvy vampire, and Ambrus’ change from mentor to lover add to the texture of the story.
Out of Time is an unusual story and is part of the Immortal Fire series. Definitely recommended!