Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Bronze and the Brimstone by Lory Kaufman



(Book #2 of the Verona Trilogy)

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 of the rich and powerful.

But standing out can get you into unexpected – 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?



Ok.  I admit it.  After having thoroughly enjoyed "The Lens and the Looker", I was primed to like "The Bronze and the Brimstone" as well; at the same time, I had high expectations for the book.  "Brimstone" is a tremendous follow-up to "Looker"!

Before they realized that "this" 14th century was the actual 14th century, and before they realized that the death of their time-traveling guide meant they were stuck right where they were and that nobody from the 24th century knew where they were, our intrepid trio had been introducing certain advanced technologies to their situation to "throw a wrench" (wait, this is 1347) "throw a stick" into the works.

But then...funny things start to happen.  Sure, the teens have been thrown into the deep end of the pool and it's sink or swim time.  Hansum/Romero finds happiness in hard work and an admiration for Master Agistino and the work that he does on his lenses for the eyes.  Hansum also finds an appreciation of the Master's daughter Guilietta.  With Pan's help, Shamira/Carmella develops some cooking skills and receives praise for her efforts.  Even Lincoln/Maruccio finds a talent for organization and bookkeeping.  Their skills enable them to feel valued and a contributing part of their 'family'.

The Podesta, or ruler of Verona, wanting to solidify and enlarge his political power, takes Hansum/Romero under his wing to develop more of these lookers that can give Verona's armies a huge advantage in battle.  He also seeks to bind Romero to him in loyalty by seeing that Romero marries his daughter, the Lady Beatrice.  One teensy-weensy problem - Romero and Guilietta have already married in secret.  To refuse the Podesta would mean social suicide for all three teens.  To have to be married to Beatrice (who wasn't so bad a girl after all) and 'use' Guilietta as a mistress would be unconscionable.

So, Hansum/Romero thinks, "I'll show the Podesta something even more valuable to him and once I become indispensable, he'll allow me to marry whomever I please."  Thus Romero 'discovers' cannons and black powder - centuries in advance of their introduction in the original time line.

Of course, Verona's rivals and enemies find out about these discoveries as well and make attempts to either steal a looker, kidnap Hansum/Romero, or both.  A prototype cannon, successfully test-fired, is subsequently destroyed in an attack.  Lincoln/Maruccio is shot in the head by an arrow.  Strike one.

A priest of the time happens to see the teens conferring with Pan and accuses them of being in league with the devil.  Pan's amulet/house is destroyed in a scuffle and the teens from the future are truly alone in the past.  Strike two.

And, oh yeah...the Black Death pandemic.  Strike three.

Since the timelines have been, shall we say, 'creatively rearranged', in these present circumstances, do three strikes make an out?  Hmmm.  I guess you will have to read "The Bronze and the Brimstone" to find out. ;)

The first time travel story I can remember reading was in junior high school.  Thirty-five to forty years later, I still remember some of the details; to say the least, it made an impression on me.  I will remember "The Bronze and the Brimstone", and indeed, Kaufman's entire Verona Trilogy, for a long, long time.



"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. The books of THE VERONA TRILOGY 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.


(Disclaimer:  I received print copies of the Verona Trilogy from the author through iRead Book Tours in exchange for my honest opinion.  No other compensation was offered, requested or received.)


  1. Wow! Thanks so much for your review, LuAnn. I am humbled by what you said at the end. I must say that "45" years after reading my first time travel book, I too remember many of the details. But to have someone tell me that they will remember a story I wrote for a long time is so gratifying. I am now nervous about how you will like the last book of the series, "The Loved and the Lost".

    We shall soon see.


  2. This sounds like a really fun story. Thanks for such a thorough and interesting review.

    1. "Brimstone" is very engaging, M.J. Thanks for your kind words. :O)

  3. Replies
    1. A very nice series, Shelley. Great for anyone who likes time-travel.