Wednesday, June 8, 2011
The Lens and the Looker by Lory S. Kaufman
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Fiction Std (March 16, 2011)
Buy the book: Amazon
When I heard the premise of this book I thought it could be really interesting. And, possibly it will be for younger readers. For me it was only so-so.
The Lens and the Looker is the first book in The Verona Trilogy. The story opens in the Community of New York in the year 2347. The main characters are 3 teens, unknown to each other in the beginning, who have difficulty behaving in an acceptable way for their society. It is determined that each should be sent to Deep Immersion History Camp. History Camp involves immersing the kids in a time period that is populated by actors who always stay in character. There is a guardian who watches over them while there. Hansum, Shamira and Lincoln are all sent to live as servants of a lens maker in Verona, Italy in the year 1347. All three kids are rebellious and uncooperative. This was heightened by the fact that Hansum's mother worked as a History Camp Elder and Hansum knew all the secrets and how to get around them. One day a guide shows up and tells them that since they are so uncooperative, they are going to be actually sent back in time to Verona to serve under another lens (eyeglass) maker. When the teens arrive on this scene, they discover that they are actually in 1347 Verona, Italy and under the supervision of Master Agostino. They were told that they would be on their own there for 3 months with no means of communication with the present day world. At the end of 3 months he would return to get them. Much to the teens dismay, they found all of this to be true. The master, his family, the townspeople were not just play actors who would ultimately take it easy on them. Their only counsel came from a genie in a bottle that they had managed to smuggle along with them. The teens used some of their 24th century knowledge to help the master and somewhat adjusted to their situation. They were looking forward to their return home when the terrible news came that their guide had been killed by robbers. What now? How were they to get back to their homes and lives when no one else knows where they are? As they ponder their options they continue to help Master Agostino makes lenses and even manage to make a "looker" also known as a telescope. Their fortunes rise as the lens and the lookers become popular and Hansum falls deeper and deeper in love with the master's daughter, Guilietta. However, items as valuable as eyeglasses and telescopes do not go unnoticed in the city and envy, lust, jealousy and power take hold. The story contained in this book comes to a conclusion but when the last page is read, Hansum, Shamira and Lincoln are still living in 14th century Verona with no idea how they are getting home.