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The Lens and the Looker
The Bronze and the Brimstone
The Loved and the Lost

***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, 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?


Here’s a collage of excerpts from History Camp’s second book in the Verona Trilogy,



Do NOT read the following if you haven’t read

The Lens and the Looker

You heard me.  Order “The Lens and the Looker”,

read it and then “try” not to  come back and read

The Bronze and the Brimstone!


Well, first off, Hansum and Guilietta’s romance really blossoms, but true love does not always run smoothly. Master della Cappa refuses to consent to their marriage. Guilietta runs out of the house in anger. Hansum runs after her;


“Guilietta, Guilietta, stop!” Hansum shouted as he chased his distraught lover. Guilietta slowed to a quick walk. Catching up to her and keeping pace, Hansum asked, “Why did you run away, Guilietta? Running away solves nothing.”

“I could not stand it there,” she said, furious. Hansum had never seen Guilietta angry.

“But where are you going, my love?”

“I don’t know. Maybe I’ll throw myself off the Navi Bridge.”

“Guilietta, don’t talk like that.” Guilietta stopped quickly and faced Hansum. Her face showed anger that shouldn’t be one so fair, Hansum thought. “Everything will be alright. It will all work out.”

“How will they work out? You marry the Podesta’s daughter and then my father gives me to some old butcher or miller?”

“I don’t know. But I tell you, nothing will come out of you jumping off a bridge,” he said.

“Fat lot you care! Being offered the Podesta’s Beatrice.”

“Guilietta, it wasn’t my idea. And I do care, my love. If anything ever happened to you, I don’t know what I would do. I’d jump off that bridge right behind you.”

“You would?” she squeaked, her eyes welling up with more tears.

“Guilietta, I love you.” The two embraced in the streets, then kissed. People passed, glancing at the two. Several little children laughed and danced around them, making kissing sounds.

Finally, Hansum said, “Come. Let’s go home and talk to your father.”

“No,” Guilietta said. “I know my father.” She took Hansum’s hand and began to walk back in the direction they came. But at the first side street, Guilietta turned left, pulling Hansum with her.

“Where are we going?” Hansum asked. Guilietta didn’t answer as she strode forth purposefully. “Guilietta, where are we going?”

“To see Father Lurenzano.”


“To get married.”


Married? “And who is Beatrice,” you ask?  The Podesta’s daughter?  Yes, Podesta Mastino della Scalla believes that Hansum is a savant, a genius who has the secrets to advanced cannon and blackpowder, tools which will make him ruler of Europe. Of course, he doesn’t know that it’s Pan who, with his universal knowledge of the future, is advising Hansum. As the story goes on, Hansum is taken to a secluded estate in the country, to start producing cannons. While there, the Podesta, unaware of Hansum and Guilietta’s secret marriage, introduces him to his own daughter. Let’s peek in at this scene.


Beatrice smiled at Hansum. Hansum nodded but was much more reserved. Finally Beatrice broke the silence.

“My father speaks highly of you, Signor. He says you are a great savant. I always have thought savants as old and wizened. You are quite pleasant to look at.”

“I am continually complimented by your father’s attentions. I fear he exaggerates.”

“She’s given you a compliment, you ninny.” Pan whispered. “You must compliment her back.”

“Withal, Lady Beatrice. I think this room more graced by your looks than mine.”

“My father gave me one of your famous lookers. I have used it to spy on birds outside my window, and at people in the market. It’s great fun.”

“The fame goes to Master della Cappa. It comes from his shop.”

“Modesty again. I am not used to such as this from the young men I know.”

“Perhaps they have nothing to be modest about.”

“Si, but most have nothing to boast about either. And yet they do. Perhaps they should choose to boast about their modesty as you do.”

Hansum couldn’t help but smile. She had skewered him well with that one. He was finding it hard not to appreciate Beatrice’s wit and poise. Knowing what the Podesta had on his mind, he had hoped Beatrice would be plain and boring. But she wasn’t.

“I’m sorry you think my modesty a boast,” Hansum said, “but how can a person take credit for their talents? One is born with them, like a man who can run fast or who can lift great weights.”

“So, if you are not responsible for all the wonderful ideas you bring my father, where do they come from?”

Sparring with words was something Hansum always enjoyed, and irony was his favourite device.

“A little voice in my ear, my Lady.”

“Ah, you hear voices,” Lady Beatrice said, taking a step forward. Her long, sweeping skirts made a swishing sound against the floor. She was now closer to Hansum. She looked at him out the side of her eyes. “Does your muse have physical form, or is she only a voice?”

Hansum continued the verbal jousting.

“I must admit he’s not a beauty at all. What would you say if I told you he is half goat and half man?”

“I’d say he’s the piper, Pan.”

“Master, stop jesting. It is a dangerous game you play. You must not say anything to encourage her. And stop flirting. You are a married man, after all!”

This comment brought Hansum back to Earth very quickly. The look on Beatrice’s face showed she expected him to continue the word play, but Hansum felt his face go cold.

“Your muse is Pan, Signor?”

A much sobered Hansum said, “I jest, Lady Beatrice. Forgive me.”

“Not at all,” the lady said. “It’s fun.” Continuing with her coquettish banter, Beatrice added, “To extrapolate upon your theory, your supposition presumes then, that compared to man, a bird must be a genius in that it can fly and we shall never be allowed to. We are ever chained to this earth till we fly with the angels. Or do you foresee in your savant mind a way and a day when man can join the doves and the hawks in the sky?”

“I fear, if man does learn to sit between wings and soar in the clouds,” Hansum said in a much sobered voice, “it would be as the hawk and not the dove.”

“Do you really think it possible? What does your little voice say?”

“Don’t even conjecture on the future of flight,” Pan warned. “Not in the least.

“Alas, Lady Beatrice, my little voice says not the least about flight.”

Hansum had become so conservative in his tone of voice that it seemed Beatrice could do nothing but believe he was serious in what he said.

“So, you truly do give credit to God for your talents. Then I say, let us give the credit to God, who has put whatever talents you have in your humble frame. What do you say? Shall we give all credit to God?”

“I think you are making the joke now, Lady Beatrice.”

“No, truly, this coming Sabbath. Come with me and father to the local church. We shall all give thanks to God for your talents. Otherwise, if you are not humble enough in front of the Almighty, he may take your genius away.”

“My lady, you are very kind, but I must not lead you on or be insincere.”

“A prayer is not a promise of anything, Signor, except to God.”

“But this trip to prayer is step towards a vow. And a vow is a promise.” Hansum felt very confused, and couldn’t stop himself from rambling. “And a vow, whispered or shouted, said in secret or on a steeple top, is still a vow. I, I must not start a thing in hopes of a promise, which I intend not, and indeed, cannot fulfill. And I must fulfill the vows that I have thus far made to make myself worthy of that vow.” Beatrice looked perplexed.

“Finally you say more than a short sentence and it is so complicated with vows that it might as well be full of ploughs and cows and sows, for all the sense it makes.”

“Si, I’m sorry. Often the truth to one is a puzzle to others.”


So, poor Hansum has the misfortune to, not only be entangled with two interesting and beautiful women, he’s also allied with one of most powerful and ruthless men in fourteenth century Europe.  But he’s not the only one experiencing excitement. While he’s off in the country, Shamira, Lincoln and Guilietta are having their own trials and tribulations back in Verona.


“Shoot her!”

Shamira turned and, to her continued horror, saw the guard, about a hundred paces from her, raise his bow.

Then, like a vision, two forms appeared behind the guard. It was Guilietta and Lincoln. They leaped on the soldier’s back. The arrow let loose and screamed just an arm’s length from Shamira’s head. The man went down, with Lincoln smashing his fist with a rock in it onto the guard’s helmet. The man threw Lincoln off and Shamira couldn’t believe it when she saw Guilietta raise a knife blade high over her head. The man twisted and grabbed the knife, throwing Guilietta onto her back, and then started grabbing for the blade with both his hands. Shamira started running at full tilt toward the fray, watching as Guiletta bit into the guard’s hand with all her might and Lincoln flung himself back into the guard, forcing him to roll to the stone floor. It was a twisted and writhing pile of bodies that Shamira came upon, when the guard’s boot came out and kicked her in the stomach. Shamira felt herself flying sideways, toward an open parapet, and then felt her head hit hard against the stone wall. A wave of pain rang out in her brain and she staggered in a daze to the floor.

“Help me, Excellency,” she heard the guard scream through her fog. She slowly turned her head to see Feltrino throwing a rope over the side of the wall and begin to climb down. Behind him, Herado Starini was staggering to his feet, trying to walk. Feltrino disappeared and Shamira had to close her eyes. She felt herself passing out, and then willed herself awake. She didn’t know how long she had been unconscious. ‘Seconds only,’ she thought. ‘Maybe a minute.’

“I’ll kill you!” she heard a gruff voice scream. She opened her eyes and saw that the guard had regained his footing. He had Lincoln pushed between two parapets, the guard’s hands on his throat. Lincoln’s feet were lifting off the ground and he was about to be thrown off the high wall to certain death. Shamira strained to raise herself up and saw Guilietta, dirty and bleeding, pushing herself onto all fours.

“Carmella,” she heard and turned her head. Herado Starini was staggering toward her. “Carmella,” he repeated, and then a look of renewed terror gripped his face. Shamira turned to look at what he saw. It was Guilietta, both hands on the handle of her knife, the blade held high. Lincoln’s feet were well of the ground now and Guilietta did not hesitate. The blade came down . . .


That’s right. Feltrino’s back and Shamira becomes entangled with a man. But there’s more excitement. Lincoln ends up at the estate in the country with Hansum, helping perfect the advanced cannon and black powder. They are wildly successful. Mastino really could become ruler of Europe, with their help. But powerful men have equally powerful enemies. Enemies who won’t stop at anything to steal the secrets of the cannon – – and Hansum.


When Hansum saw the arrow plunge through Lincoln’s helmet, then saw him fall to the ground, panic and terror consumed him.

“LINCOLN!” he cried, starting to run toward him. The lieutenant grabbed Hansum’s arm.

“No Signor, flee to the house. We will keep them busy while you escape.”

Hansum looked up and saw the 20 mounted horses dashing out from the forest. Half went toward the cannon and the others came at a dead run toward his group. The horses were covered with armour and the men’s bascinet helmets had their visors down. Some soldiers had swords, the others, poleaxes. The noise of the hooves on the ground, the men shouting, and the armour and weapon clanging filled the air with a terrifying din.

“But my friend!” Hansum screamed.

“He’s fallen, Signor. Save yourself!” the lieutenant shouted. He shoved Hansum in the direction of the house and pulled down his visor. “Form around me!” he called to the five men with him. “You, go with the Signor,” he said to one. “Protect him with your life.” Hansum began running as fast as he could toward the woods that separated him from the manor house. Beside him ran the tall, lanky infantryman who had lit the fuse under Gina. He was running again, a look in his dark eyes that Hansum had never seen before. The long scar on his face, which spoke to the fact that he had been in these terrifying battles before, had turned deep red. Looking back as he ran, Hansum saw his protectors forming a line between him and the advancing horses. Three of the 10 horses swung off to the right to go around them and were coming straight at him. The seven remaining horses barrelled towards the five standing soldiers.

“Shoulders together! On one knee! Brace!” the lieutenant shouted, pulling out his sword and stepping behind his line. “Shields!” All the men prepared themselves to take the charge. Their poleaxes were extended as far out as they could in an effort to spear their opponents. “Take the horses!” the lieutenant shouted, and they lowered their weapons slightly. The cavalry fell upon them. By standing so close together, only two of the seven mounted attackers were in killing proximity of the infantry men. The horses ran into the poleaxe’s pointed tips and luck was with the Scalligers. Two spears found their way through the horses’ armour. One horse reared up backwards. The other tumbled forward over the defenders. The helmet came off its heavily armoured knight, causing him to become an easy target for the lieutenant’s sword. Luckily, all five of the defenders survived the initial assault. They stood up and two attacked the second downed cavalry man. His helmet was still on. As he stumbled to his feet, they began to pummel his covered head with the hammer side of their poleaxes. The pointed top of the helmet initially did its job and deflected most of the blows. But soon it caved, as did its inhabitant. Two of the defenders kept at killing him while the other three formed again in front of the lieutenant.

The remaining five attackers had swung their horses back around and, without hesitation, were charging again. It became a slashing, banging, cutting and spearing battle of attrition.

The fight for the cannon was not so grand. Only two men with poleaxes against eight men on horses and a bowman, not 50 paces away. Within a minute all the cannoneers lay bleeding, dying or dead. When the attackers rode toward the cannon’s horses, the animals bolted, breaking their leads. The mounted cavalry caught one horse quickly and had to chase the other.

More easily caught was Hansum. He was the most vulnerable. Feltrino rode ahead of Hansum and blocked his way. The infantryman jumped in front of Hansum and slashed at the air to make Feltrino back his horse up. The brave defender then jumped back to confront the two other attackers. He swung his poleaxe at the closest one and it hit his shield. He pulled it back again over his head to make another blow, but never delivered it. The other horseman had gotten behind him and slashed him on the back with his sword. Though the chainmail held, it threw him off balance and then the haunch of the attacker’s horse ran into the poor man as he passed. He stumbled and the other rider’s heavy sword came down and caught him right on the top of his head. His helmet split and the man fell to his knees right in front of Hansum.

“Perche?” was all the man could say before blood and brains spurted out of his skull. He fell to the ground dead.

Hansum screamed at the grisly sight. Feltrino got off his horse, sword in hand. Hansum looked to the infantryman’s fallen poleaxe and leaned toward it. One of the prancing hooves of the horses came down on it, holding it fast. Feltrino looked at Hansum through his closed helmet. Then he sheathed his sword, lifted his visor and looked at Hansum.

“Feltrino!” Hansum gasped. Feltrino removed one of his gloves and held up the hand. It was short a thumb. But Feltrino didn’t look angry or revengeful. He bowed slightly to Hansum.

“Master Monticelli,” he said, respectfully. “You are my prisoner, Signor.”


Well, just when you think things couldn’t get any worse . . . Guilietta becomes ill, very ill. They are parted and Hansum is worried sick for her. He has a dream of them communicating with her the way he communicated with his friends back in the twenty-fourth century, by implant telepathy. But is it a dream?


He wanted to be near her, commune with her. He began to imagine being able to touch his temple, as he had done in his previous life, and talk to her. He allowed himself this fantasy.

“My darling, I am ever here for you,” Hansum said low, as if he were using his implant. “I am your slave, your devoted.”

“Romero. My Romero. Where are you, my Romero? I hear your voice. I see you in my mind, like a window to another place. Is this a dream? Is this Heaven?” Hansum opened his eyes in surprise. It was just like the semi-telepathic experiences he’d had back home. But this was impossible. “Where have you gone, my love?” Guilietta’s voice asked in his head again. “You’ve disappeared. Please come back to me.” Dream or hallucination, it didn’t matter. Hansum closed his eyes again and drew up his knees, tight to his chest.

“I’m here, my love. Don’t be afraid.”

“I can see you again. Oh, thanks be to God, I can see you again.”

“And I you, my love. How are you, dearest?”

“I was in pain, husband, but now I am calm. And you?”

“The Podesta is not allowing me to leave the palace. I am okay, but worried for you, my darling.” And then tears poured from Hansum’s eyes. “Oh, Guilietta, I miss you so much.”

“Oh, my poor darling,” Guilietta’s voice soothed. “To be alone, without each other at this painful time, me without you and you without me. Be brave, my Romero, like I know you are.” The image of Guilietta smiled in Hansum’s mind. Hansum smiled too, thinking of the dream’s irony. The dream had questioned whether he was a dream. “Father says . . . they all say, you are devils.”

“No, my love. We are not. I am only a man. Just a man. A man who loves you.”

“And I love you, Romero. But why do they say such things?”

“Because they see we are different. And they are right in that. But I am not a devil.”

“Then what are you?”

“I am a man, Guilietta. I am a man from a different time. From the future. Why God has sent me here, I don’t know. How to get back? It’s a mystery. I will clear up this fear everyone has of me, and we shall be together soon, my beautiful Guilietta.”

“I fear not, husband. I fear not. I am dying.” Hansum didn’t like this daydream anymore. He pulled his knees even closer and wept openly. “Come to me, my darling,” Guilietta’s voice said. “Hold me while I go to God.” Hansum heard a low male voice in the background of the dream. It sounded like the Master.

“She’s talking to herself,” Agistino’s voice said. “What’s she saying?”

“Maybe she sees St. Peter,” said a voice sounding like Nuca’s.

“He’s right on the ceiling with Michael,” the Signora’s voice wept. Then Hansum saw Guillietta wince in pain. “Oh my baby,” shrieked the Signora’s voice, and there was the sound of someone collapsing.

“Help take the mistress to her bed,” the man’s voice said, frantically. “Then send Ugilino for Father Lurenzano. He’s gone back to his church.”

“Come to me, my darling,” Guilietta’s voice whispered desperately. “One last kiss before I meet Jesus. I am content that your voice is the last thing I’ll hear.”

“No Guilietta. You’re not dying. You mustn’t die!”

“I am done, my love, but I am happy.”

“You mustn’t die, Guilietta. I love you. I need you. I’ve always loved you. Before we met, I loved the idea of you. I need more of you.”

“We had the time on the wall, with the moon and cool breeze showing us we were alive.” Guilietta said.

“I want that time again,” Hansum wept. “You cannot go. I’ve not had enough.”

“Who’s to say what’s enough? Not those who say it,” and then there was silence.


(end of excerpt)

  • December 30th, 2010
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