About the Books:
The LENS and the LOOKER
BOOK #1 of The Verona Trilogy:
It’s the 24th century and humans, with the help of artificial intelligences (A.I.s), have finally created the perfect post-dystopian society. To make equally perfect citizens for this world, the elders have created History Camps, full sized recreations of cities from Earth’s distant pasts. Here teens live the way their ancestors did, doing the same dirty jobs and experiencing the same degradation. History Camps teach youths not to repeat the mistakes that almost caused the planet to die. But not everything goes to plan.
In this first of a trilogy, we meet three spoiled teens in the year 2347. Hansum almost 17, is good looking and athletic. Shamira, 15, is sassy, independent and an artistic genius. Lincoln, 14, is the smart-aleck. But you don’t have to scratch too far beneath the surface to find his insecurities.
These three “hard cases” refuse the valuable lessons History Camps teach. But when they are kidnapped and taken back in time to 1347 Verona, Italy, they only have two choices; adapt to the harsh medieval ways or die. The dangers are many, their enemies are powerful, and safety is a long way away. It’s hardly the ideal environment to fall in love – but that’s exactly what happens. In an attempt to survive, the trio risks introducing technology from the future. It could save them – or it could change history.
The BRONZE and the BRIMSTONE
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, Giulietta, 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?
The LOVED and the LOST
Book #3 of The Verona Trilogy
A quest for lost love. An adventure of many lifetimes.
Hansum, Shamira and Lincoln are three 24th-century time travelers desperate to return to 14th-century Verona and reclaim their medieval family’s shattered lives. It is a mission fraught with danger and the risk of unexpected consequences for themselves and their worlds. For all three, it is a matter of the heart. For one, though, it is truly the only thing that matters, as the fate of his eternal love and the life of their unborn child is the prize to be won – or lost forever.
In this, the final book of The Verona Trilogy, our three time travelers go on the boldest adventure of their lives. They will face hardship, tragedy, and threats from sources they couldn't have imagined – all in an effort to wrestle a future from the steely grip of an unforgiving past.
Heart of a Philanthropist's Take:
I did not know what to expect when I received The Verona Trilogy. I was not quite sure what dystopian meant. I thought it had something to do with science fiction, and it did, but it also means the opposite of Utopia. Therefore, dystopia means everything is as bad as is possible. That is definitely the case in The Lens and the Looker!
This is what happens. A smart-alec kid named Hansum gets sent to history camp- kinda like a re-enactment of historical times. Ever been to one? We went to Yosemite and Plymouth Rock when I was a kid. It was the same kinda re-enactment 'camp' but we were only there for the day. Anyway, he sneaks a helper with him which is a big no-no. Gets caught and is sent back in time even further, but this time in REAL history- not a camp.
He travels back in time with two other trouble makers- Shamira (Carmella) and Lincoln ( )- who are just as obnoxious as he is. They soon realize this is not camp, but real life. They are trapped in history and their life as they knew it ceases to exist. Their names are changed. Romero is given the name Hansum (because he is just so darn cute) and falls for a girl who is his master's daughter. Her name just happens to be Gulietta. Get it? Romero and Gulietta (Romeo and Juliet).
There is a lot of explanation about how to make lenses for seeing (eye glasses as we call them now) in the fourteenth century Verona. It seemed a bit wordy but in order to understand the job that Hansum and Lincoln had to do for almost the entire trilogy, we needed to understand how to make lenses.
I did not like the swearing in this book. There was a lot of "God' in the story. Of course, that was so that Master Mastino della Cappa could punish the boys for using the Lord's name in vain. Catholicism was very important to Verona in the 14th century.
Oh, and a romance begins to bud between Romero and Gulietta in this story. That doesn't bode well for Romero's relationship with Ugilino- the Master's other servantboy. He has had his eye on Gulietta and assumed he would marry her one day.
Don't forget Mrs. Master Mastino della Cappa. She is a bit crazy in the head. She talks to the archangel Michael who visits her in her house all the time.
See what happens at the end of this book. You will want to jump to the next one just like I did! I don't normally like to read for hours on end, but I took exception to The Lens and The Looker. I read this book (over 300 pages) in two sittings!
Book 2 gives very little backstory which I like. I already read the first book. I don't need to reiterate what I just read. However, if you take a few days before getting into Book 2, you will not be lost because it gives a bit of the last story to remind you where it left off.
The Verona nobles discover that Hansum is quite intelligent. They even mistake him for a savant. They of course do not realize that Hansum has a secret that he brought with him from the future giving him all the 'knowledge' they see. The podesta makes a deal with Master della Cappa (who is a bit unwilling) that he will take Hansum to live in his quarters. He wants Hansum to make the podesta lookers and more. What does he want him to make? Read it and find out!
The podesta has other plans for Hansum as well. He wants Hansum to marry his very pretty daughter Beatrice. How can Hansum marry Beatrice when he is in love with Guilietta? Hansum must be very careful about proceeding. Although he loves Guilietta, he lives in close proximity to the beautiful Beatrice. She is very decisive and obvious about her feelings toward the savant. How Hansum handles this could mean the success or complete and utter failure of his master's livelihood.
Podesta decides to hire someone to kill Guilietta so that she will not be competition for Beatrice. This is not a quick and sudden death, it is a tricky death.
Let's not forget that Hansum and his friends introduced new technology to the 14th century. This is a big no no in time travel. Therefore, events of the future happened earlier in time. At the end of the novel the plague has already taken over Verona. Everyone around him is dead or dying. Will his Master's family make it? Will the time traveling trio make it?
There was more swearing in this book. It didn't need to be there. It was a distraction from the good work of The Verona Trilogy. I found myself skipping over it as much as possible. (This is a word to the author for future novels).
Although there was a love relationship between Hansum and Guilietta, there was 'long hard kisses' but that was about the extent of the sex. This I liked. After all, this was not a smutty romance novel...
Shamira develops a love interest too. Is this a good thing? What will happen between her and her beau?
I have to admit, I did not see the end coming. So much was left unanswered. I HAD to pick up the third book and start reading immediately. I highly suggest getting all three books because when you finish with one you will feel the need to keep reading.
At the end of book 2 author Lory Kaufman admits he is not sure where book 3 will take us because he hadn't figured it out in his mind yet. Well, Mr. Kaufman, I loved where book 3 took us! Thanks for that!
Book 3 starts in another place and time all together. Turns out that it was just a ploy to get the threesome to really learn in Verona. They could come home after all. Their lives were played out on a television show for the entire world to see. Along the way, they fell in love with the romance developed between Hansum and Guilietta.
The trio goes before a panel and begs to be allowed back in the past to save their family from sure devastation. This panel decision and their pleas are displayed for all the world to see, and the world is watching. Everyone is rooting for Romero to go back in time and save his Guilietta (and we find out their unborn child).
Their request is granted. The trio goes back in time. This time Shamira takes her love Lincoln with her. Lincoln is married to the woman in his head. (Yes, I'm serious), and she goes on the trip as well.
I'm sure you've heard the phrase, "History repeats itself." Well, it does, but there is always a bit of a change. Will the trio save Guilietta? And if so at what cost? If you watched "Groundhog Day" with Bill Murray, you will understand the cyclical repetition of The Loved and the Lost. The story repeats itself, but has a different ending each time. I have to say I was pleased with the ending.
One loose end wasn't tied up. That was the story of Pan. The priest took Pan at the end of The Bronze and The Brimstone (probably to be reintroduced in The Loved and The Lost) but he was never mentioned again. I will just assume he liked the light and put him on a shelf in his room for decoration.
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. 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.