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Read an Excerpt From ‘Lost in Time,’ The New Sci-Fi Thriller From Worldwide Bestselling Author A.G. Riddle

From A.G. Riddle, the worldwide bestselling author of The Extinction Trials, Departure, and The Atlantis Gene comes his latest science fiction novel, Lost in Time, now available from Head of Zeus Publishing.

Dr. Sam Anderson is one of the most celebrated scientists in history. Ten years ago, he invented a device that changed the world forever. Now his life is about to be ripped apart—and his own creation may be to blame.

One fateful morning, Sam discovers that his girlfriend has been murdered and that his daughter is accused of the crime. Sam believes she’s innocent, but he can’t prove it. There’s only one thing he can do to save his daughter: confess to the crime. And so he does. But in the future, murderers aren’t sent to prison. They’re sent to the past. Thanks to Sam’s invention—Absolom—the world’s worst criminals are exiled forever, sent back to the time of the dinosaurs, where they live out their lives alone.

As Sam steps into the Absolom chamber to leave for the Late Triassic, he makes a promise: he will get back to his family, clear his name, and find the person who killed the woman he loved. What Sam doesn’t know is that there’s a secret waiting for him in the past. And it might be his only hope of saving himself and his family.

Below check out an exclusive excerpt of the book,
available now via paperback, hardback, e-book or audio.

   *   *   *   *   *  

On the anniversary of his wife’s death, Sam Anderson visited her grave.

It was a crisp spring morning in Nevada, with dew on the grass and fog rolling through the cemetery. In one hand, Sam carried a bouquet of flowers. In the other, he gripped his son’s hand. Ryan was eleven years old and strong-willed and  introverted, like his mother. After her death, he had withdrawn, spending even more time alone, playing with LEGOs, reading, and generally avoiding life.

Counseling had yielded little help for Ryan. At home, Sam had searched for a way to get through to his only son, but he had to admit: he wasn’t half the parent his wife had been. Most  days, he felt like he was simply reacting to his children, making it up as he went, working on a mystery without any clues.

He hoped the visit to Sarah’s grave this morning would be the start of turning that around.

Sam’s daughter, Adeline, gripped Ryan’s other hand. She was nineteen years old, and to all outward appearances seemed to  have coped better with her mother’s passing. But Sam wondered if Adeline was just a better actor than Ryan or himself. He worried about that too, about her bottling it all up and carrying the burden of unaddressed grief.

Last night, he had seen a glimpse of her hidden rage. Adeline was still furious with him over the evening’s argument. So angry she wouldn’t even hold his hand or look at him. Hence, Ryan  walking between them.

But she had agreed to be there that morning, and Sam was thankful for that.

They walked in silence through the cemetery much like they had floated through life since Sarah’s death: hand-in-hand, trying to find their way through it all.

Fog drifted in front of the headstones like a curtain being drawn and opened. Across the cemetery, sprinkler heads rose  and began deploying water. The cemetery likely cost a fortune  to irrigate out in the Nevada desert, but of all the problems Absolom City had, money wasn’t one.

At the edge of the grass, Sam thought he saw a figure watching them. He turned his head, and yes, there was a man there. He wore a dark uniform, though Sam couldn’t make it out from this distance. Fog floated in front of the man, and when Sam looked again, he was gone.

Ryan must have felt his father slow down.

“What is it, Dad?”

“Nothing,” he muttered, resuming their pace, tugging on his son’s hand.

Near Sarah’s grave, Sam spotted a man and a woman standing on the other side of the cemetery. They were also wearing dark uniforms. Sam’s first instinct was that they were here for a burial service. But they didn’t move deeper into the maze of graves. They stood there, staring at Sam and his family.

He set the flowers at the base of Sarah’s headstone and tried to put the figures out of his mind.

Mentally, he had rehearsed the lines he wanted to say a hundred times. And as he spoke the first words into that foggy April morning, they sounded just like that to him: rehearsed and passionless.

“I’d like to say something.”

Adeline’s gaze shifted away from him. Ryan stared at his shoes.

Sam decided right then to drop the speech and say the first thing that came to his mind. That thing was a memory. “I want to tell you what your mom said to me one of the last times I saw her.”

Adeline’s head turned quickly. Ryan looked up.

“She told me that it would make her very sad if she was what kept me from being happy after she was gone. I think she  meant that for all of us. She was selfless like that—in life and even after.”

Adeline closed her eyes and raised her fingers to her eyelids. A warm wind blew across the three of them. A tear leaked  from the edge of Adeline’s right eye and lingered there, soaking itself in mascara, and slowly began painting its way down her cheek as if an invisible hand was drawing warpaint on her face.

It was the first tear Sam had seen her shed in years. “The second thing she told me is something I think about a lot: time heals all wounds. But it won’t work if you don’t give time a chance. That was her point: we just have to accept that sometimes things are going to be hard for a while. If we’re  strong enough—if we hold on long enough—things will get  better. Every year, this hurt we feel is going to get a little better. I promise you.”

He reached out and pulled Ryan into a hug, and Adeline  closed the distance between them and wrapped her arms around Sam, and buried her face in his shoulder. He felt the warmth of her tears soaking through his shirt.

A buzzing overhead caught his attention. It was a drone. Not  one, but three of them.

A computerized voice called through the fog.

“Dr. Samuel Anderson, please step away from the others.”

Sam glanced around the cemetery. What was happening here?

“Dr. Samuel Anderson, this is your second warning. Step away and put your hands on your head.”

“What?” Sam called out.

Adeline looked up. “Dad, what’s going on?”

The three drones were hovering above them now. The computerized voice called again.

“Adeline Anderson, step away and put your hands on your head.”

Sam realized the suited figures he had seen earlier were  surrounding them now. There were seven in all, wearing  Absolom City Police uniforms, standing with their hands on their belts within easy reach of the handcuffs and stun batons hanging there.

The drone called again.

“Dr. Samuel Anderson, this is your final warning. You have five seconds to separate yourself from the others and place your  hands on your head.”

“Dad…” Adeline’s voice was ragged and panicked. “It’s okay,” he whispered as he turned and scanned the police  officers, searching for the person in charge to address. “I’d like to talk to—”

The sharp pain in his neck was like a bee sting. He reached up and felt a circular piece of metal the size of a coin dug into his skin. He was trying to pry it loose when his vision blurred. His legs went weak, and he fell headfirst into the soft grass.

The last thing Sam saw before the darkness swallowed him was the engraved letters on his wife’s headstone.

Excerpted from Lost in Time, by A.G. Riddle. Head of Zeus, 2022. Reprinted with permission.

 

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