Book Review: The Bronze and the Brimstone by Lory S. Kaufman
The second installment of Lory S. Kaufman’s History Camp Trilogy– The Bronze and the Brimstone moves fast. Trapped in 14th century Verona, Italy teenagers Hansum, Shamira and Lincoln turn to the artificial intelligence smuggled in a tiny oil lamp. Using AI Pan’s exhaustive knowledge, Hansum allows himself to be taken as a prodigy while introducing telescopes and gun powder hundreds of years before they were historically developed. The powerful Podesta de la Scala brings Hansum into his service. Meanwhile Hansum, who has taken the name Romero, attempts to persuade both the lens maker, Agistino, and the Podesta to allow him to marry Agistino’s daughter Giulietta, whom he fell in love with back in The Lens and the Looker.
Meanwhile brilliant artist Shamira falls in love with a noble artist, with bloody and disastrous consequence as the teens and Agistino’s family continue to be plagued by their nemeses including the prodigal son from the Podesta’s rival clan. The orphan Uglino returns to Agistino’s family and appears to become loyal to them. My only real criticism of The Bronze and the Brimstone is the opening dream sequence, in which it briefly appears as though Hansum has managed to take Giulietta back to the 24th century to meet his parents. With all of the time travel the characters did in the first book, I found the dream sequence, which seemed to supplant the ending of book one an off-putting way to begin the second volume.
That one criticism aside, The Bronze and the Brimstone is a real page-turner that kept me reading for hour on end, very much involved in the story and anxious to see how it ended. Just as the first volume ended with the teenagers facing the revelation that their time-travelling acquaintance was dead and his technology destroyed, stranding them in the 13th century, the second volume ends as their artificial intelligence, Pan, is destroyed and the teens are rejected both by Agistino and his family and the Podesta and his organization. I find myself genuinely anxious to learn of the third volume’s publication and hope very much that I will again be allowed to read and review the final volume of a trilogy that has become genuinely compelling to me. The Bronze and the Brimstone— Very Highly Recommended.