Wednesday, June 15, 2011

On Tour ~ The Bronze and the Brimstone

Today I am featuring "The Bronze and the Brimstone" by Lory S. Kaufman.  He is currently on tour with Pump Up Your Book and was kind enough to send me a copy to review.  This is the second installment of  The Verona Trilogy.

In a nutshell, this trilogy features three troublemakers from the 24th century.  They are sent to History Camp to learn how easy they have it in their time period.  They are sent to a camp that simulates life in the past.  The children must learn to work and how to function in society. (Is there a history camp I can send my kids to?  :0) ) There is of course a twist in this series.  A rogue camp director from the future sends them back to real life Verona, Italy.  The children are taken from the safe camp to the harsh conditions and realities of the past.

The first book in the trilogy is "The Lens and the Looker".  You can find my review... here!

Lets start with the synopsis from Goodreads:
What could go wrong in the 14th-century 
for three time-traveling teens? 
How about – EVERYTHING! 

Hansum, Shamira and Lincoln, three teens from the 24th-century, are trapped in 14th-century Verona, Italy. They’ve survived many deadly experiences by keeping their wits about them and by introducing futuristic technology into the past. Principal among these inventions is the telescope, which brought them to the attention to the rich and powerful. 

But standing out can get you into unexpected and dangerous situations. The nobles of Verona now believe Hansum is a savant, a genius inventor, especially after he brings them plans for advanced cannons and black powder. Being the center of attention is great, but the potential for trouble is now exponentially greater because people are watching Hansum’s every move. 

Meanwhile, artistic genius Shamira has fallen for a Florentine artist with bloody and disastrous consequences. Lincoln, considered an incompetent back home in the 24th-century, has blossomed – at least until he’s shot in the head with an arrow. And Hansum, after secretly marrying his new master’s beautiful daughter, Guilietta, is offered the hand in marriage of lady Beatrice, daughter of the ruler of Verona. To refuse could mean calamity for all the teens. 

Amazingly, none of this is their biggest challenge. Because a rash illness is spreading across Verona – and it is threatening to consume everyone. 

Do they have a future in this past? 

My thoughts:

I like the premise of the trilogy.  I like the idea of kids from the future learning to appreciate what they have in their modern day lives by learning from the past. Lincoln, Hansum and Shamira are troublemakers.  They are also extremely smart and adaptable.

In this second book the teens are entrenched in the 14th century Verona culture.  They have done surprisingly well in learning how to behave and take care of themselves in the primitive circumstances.  They do have the help of their artificial intelligence "genie" named Pan.  They wouldn't have been able to do as well without him.  In fact, they probably would have failed miserably.  He has given them much needed information about the political structure and how to interact within the caste system.  He has given them fantastical ideas (at least for the time period) to make them invaluable.

I was not as impressed with the second book as I was with the first.  This book seems to be more harsh.  But then, it was a harsh environment, definitely survival of the fittest.  This book is full of detail.  It details the social culture, the art of war, the making of gunpowder and of cannon.  There are plots within plots.  The Podesta (local ruler) plots to keep Hansum at his side and Hansum plots to be with the woman he loves.  The workers plot, other leaders plot, apprentices plot, everyone plots.  I found the plotting to be very interesting.  I loved to see how everyone reacts to each other and that they are sometimes able to get what they want and which plots fail.

I couldn't help but notice that there is a link to Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet".  Hansum has been given the name Romero for history camp and his love  interest is Guilietta.  They are secretly married, forces are trying to keep them apart, there are bloody battles, two powerful houses are warring, there are poisons used, and it is set in Verona.

The book is well written.  Lory Kaufman does a wonderful job at expressing himself and getting his ideas across.  You can tell that he has done extensive research of the time period.  I was very impressed with his knowledge and the descriptions that he used.

There will be third book and I think it will be very interesting to see where the youth are taken in the last book.  The book will be "The Loved and the Lost."  The titles that he uses give clues to part of the content of the book.  "The Lens and the Looker" refer to eyeglasses and telescopes.  "The Bronze and the Brimstone" refer to cannon and the making of gunpowder.

This is technically a young adult book, but I would not recommend it to a younger audience.  The time period is brutal and violent.  Some of the aftermath is graphic in description and there is sexual innuendo. I would only recommend to those 16 and older. I am giving it a 3.5 rating.

About the author: “I write Post-Dystopian fiction. After society’s collapse, which is imagined in so many great dystopian stories, humans will either fade into history, with the dinosaurs, or, if it learns the right lessons, society will go on to construct a civilization to last tens of thousands of years. History Camp stories are the exciting adventures of young people doing the latter.” -Lory Kaufman
On the artistic side of Lory’s career, he’s written, acted and directed children’s theatre and musical theatre. He enjoys art, especially sculpture. He loves science fiction and historical fiction and he has been deeply involved in the green movement all across North America. All this shows through when you read his work. Lory has three grown children and works and lives in Kingston, Canada.
To find out more about Lory visit

FYI - This book up for grabs on Goodreads!  The contest ends on June 17th.  It is open for US, Canada, and GB.  Go and enter now!

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