In Lory Kaufman’s sequel to The Lens and the Looker, he deals with heavier subjects. Literally.
It’s still in 14th century Verona, and in fact the stakes are raised progressively throughout the book. This increases the tension, and allows some of the characters to shine more in The Bronze and the Brimstone than they did in the first book of the series. He also explores the science behind canons and black powder.
To me, this is the meat of the ‘alternative history’ movement in literature: show me something NEW and explore how it would impact the lives of those folks on the micro and macro scale. And Kaufman does just that. While we still don’t get a lot of complexity with some of the characters, he rounds them out well. And he crams more information and education in here than I remember getting in my European History class in high school. He also does a great job of not demonizing those in power in the book (as true to real life, and history, it’s not good vs. evil, but power and control and sacrifices made for the greater good).
I’ll be honest….I cried during this book. If you read it, you’ll know which part(s) I’m referring to.
I love when a book makes me cry.
And, of course, he left it open ended enough to remove any doubt about a third novel in the series. Keep the History Camp novels coming, Mr. Kaufman!
*I should note here that, once again, you cannot judge this book by the cover art or cover tagline. Just ignore those. They’re clearly meant to make the book look more adventurous- it’s adventurous enough without the weird bubble crap on the front cover!