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The Lens and the Looker

The Lens and the Looker

3.7 168
by Lory S Kaufman, Lou Aronica (Editor)

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BOOK #1 of The Verona Trilogy:

Young Adult, Post-Dystopian Fiction

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


BOOK #1 of The Verona Trilogy:

Young Adult, Post-Dystopian Fiction

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 degradations. 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.

Series Overview:

The Lens and the Looker is the first book of The Verona Trilogy. It's followed by The Bronze and the Brimstone and The Loved and the Lost.

The series takes readers along on the life-changing journey of three 24th century teens. While the three protagonists appear quite immature in the first half of The Lens and the Looker, this is not a series aimed exclusively at young teens. Lory Kaufman says he writes for readers 13 to 113, (and precocious 12-year-olds) This is borne out by the fact that about half the readership of the series is adult.

What many readers say they love about this series is its wonderful mix of science fiction (the future) and historical fiction (the past). While there's time travel, there are also sword fights, and while there are detailed descriptions of ancient technologies, the story also includes many colorful characters who just happen to be artificial intelligences. There's allusions to a Romeo and Juliet love story and also characters who have murderous intentions toward the lovers. And the setting? Many readers are praising the accurately described historical setting of 14th century Verona Italy, where much of the story takes place.

Product Details

CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.70(d)

Meet 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. History Camp stories are the exciting adventures of young people doing the latter." -Lory Kaufman

On the artistic side of Lory Kaufman'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. He has three grown children and works and lives in Kingston, Canada.

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Lens and the Looker 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 168 reviews.
TheStephanieLoves More than 1 year ago
The Lens and the Looker by Lory S. Kaufman Series: Verona Trilogy (#1) Release Date: March 16th, 2011 Publisher: The Fiction Studio Page Count: 336 Source: Received from author via Pump Up Your Book for review Though this book isn't particularly lousy, my biggest problem is how half-assed it is. Is it a sci-fi? A young adult fiction? A romance? A historical novel? A middle-grade book? A contemporized classic? Well, it's a little bit of all of the above, which makes it sound really, really cool. That's what I thought at first. But seems to be, when you mix everything up together, you don't result in a beautiful wonderful charming story. No. What you get, is a big, tricky mess. Kaufman had such a rolling idea with this story. The dystopian young adult thriller -- with time travel! What's not to like? Here's what's not to like: the addition of a cumbersome romance, which I'm sure most young adults don't care for; that could ruin a few things. An awkward, difficult-to-follow writing style (the kind that names the main character Hansum since he IS handsome... HAHAHAH!!); that might do it. An embarrassingly childish tone to the narrator; that will do it. I kept telling myself this is young adult. Nitty gritty, hits-so-close-to-home young adult. But an immature cast of characters and the author's way of narrating as if he were talking to a ten-year-old, completely disrupts the expected tone. And then there are the contradictions. The Lens and the Looker is based loosely off of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Even if you haven't read the Victorian play, you know the story is basically of two people who fall in forbidden love, and end up killing themselves for it by the end. Sort of crappy? Well, that's why it's called a tragic romance. For a younger audience's novel to contain the heaviness of tragedy and love, pleases me some. I like how this book is sort of a modern version of the classic play. However, paired with the adolescent voice of the story, it just doesn't work. Either this is a children's story, or it's an adult story. Adding elements from both won't equate the book into the median and make it magically become "young adult". Like I said, Kaufman's ideas really could have gotten somewhere. The concept of History Camps is fascinating, but he really should have stopped there. The Lens and the Looker needs to make up its mind about what type of book it is. Overall, it's a so-so read (if you can get past the author's lack of creative flow), but it certainly isn't something I am able to recommend to kids, teenagers, or adults, mostly because I don't know who it's aimed for in the first place. Radical Rating: 5 hearts- Satisfying for a first read, but I'm not going back.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Unfortunately, due to the idiocy of many people who do not undetstand that reviews are meant to actually review and not for comments or questions, this book has recieved a low rating. I assure you this should not be the case. This is a very interesting novel and I urge you to give it a try. If you would like more information on the actual story line please read the description or keep scrolling to find helpful reviews. I personaly enjoyed it and quite sure you will too.
GHott More than 1 year ago
There was so very much background info and set-up that for a while there it seemed like the adventure would never arrive but when the story rolled around I was so captivated by the teens that I just could not let go even for a few moments - even getting coffee on a chilly morning seemed like too much time away. I had planned on giving this series to my 10 year old for Christmas but there is no way he's patient enough to make it through the background, however, I think this is perfect for my 13 yr old son. There are some areas that I felt would be a bit too much for my younger son but that I know my niece of the same age would love. Overall, I'd say that if your child loves to read they'll definitely love this book but if not - then wait for the movie.... yes, I'm really hoping for a movie version of this one - it'd be SO MUCH FUN! Synopsis: What does one do with teens that just insist on wreaking havoc and causing chaos wherever they may go? Well, in the year 2347 they send the rebellious teens to history camp. This way they're less likely to repeat the mistakes of the past. But when a group of three teens and a wayward genie push the limits of even the most harsh history camp and manage to actually get sent back to Verona, Italy in the year 1347 even they begin to see life in a new light. Now, if they can only learn the value of work, perseverance, and humility they might just live through this.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
While many are confused about target reading groups for this book according to the reviews I have read, I have to say this is indeed a young adult novel. Many of my middle school students will enjoy these characters and their adventures, much like The Lightning Thief or The Hunger Games. I found the story enjoyable and look forward to the next.
Sensitivemuse More than 1 year ago
Okay. Word to the wise; there is sci fi elements, but you won't be spending too much time in the future world. The book is mostly set in 14th century Italy. That being said, this might disappoint some readers who are looking forward to reading about a post-dystopian world. I didn't mind as historical fiction was always something I liked to read. Mixing historical fiction with science fiction elements also provides an interesting story. The sci-fi element does make a significant impact on the story (with Pan) but it doesn't overpower it. Which is nice, as there's lots of historical setting descriptions to provide a good accurate setting that is easy to picture. I thought it was interesting the author decides to make this book a post-dystopian society/setting. With all the dystopian fiction out there, this is an interesting and refreshing twist. Although not all the answers on how the setting came to be is revealed. It would have been nice to provide that bit of background information, alas it's not necessary. The main general plot was really good. It gets even better towards the end with a good action climax and the ending leaves you wanting to know what happens next (there is a bit of a sneak preview of the second book at the back). As mentioned before, I liked the description of the historical setting. Not only was it concise and in detail but it was enforced and repeated throughout the novel. I can only think this is because it makes the characters (and the reader included) realize how much everything is taken for granted. The constant reminder of people's rotting teeth was rather gross, but it really does enhance the setting, and lets you count your blessings for being born in a different time period. The three characters were nicely written and well done. I would have preferred to see more of Lincoln in this story (he is a smart aleck and has a funny quote or two). Yet the story focuses a lot more on Hansum and a little on Shamira. Lincoln does disappear for some time during the last half of the book however I am hoping he would come back with a bigger role in the second book. I'd have to say I liked how all three developed in their own way. Lincoln ends up maturing a lot as he used to be the real mouthy and rebellious one of the three. I liked Hansum, he was the steadier and unspoken leader of the three plus the love story with Guilietta provides a good part of the romance in the book - I thought they were rather cute together. Although besides Lincoln, I liked Pan a lot too. He helped the three through their adventures, but also provided a means of making their living situations improve (however it does have consequences). I'd like to know more in detail what consequence this may have in the future, but for now you do see a change in Pan's appearance (which is comical). With such a unique idea of the History camps and an interesting blend of science fiction and historical fiction, this book was a real fun read. It had a bit of everything in one well written book. Readers might also notice it's also an interesting history lesson on 14th century Italy (well, at least on how people lived back then). I would definitely recommend this to other readers (I think it's most suited for those that like YA). It's certainly a different read and lets readers take a break from the massive amounts of dystopian fiction out there.
Dadarian More than 1 year ago
This is a great modern book, I was lucky enough to get an early copy from a friend of mine and fell into the story after the first page. I recommend it to all readers, young or old, Sci-Fi, romance or just escapist. This is definatly (along with 1st Hungar Games book) my favorite book in the last 5 years. Now to tell the truth, I don't tend to like modern books (past the 90's) because of their lack of drive, I mostly read the classics and old Sci-Fi. But this book has drive and is diffinatly the best Sci-Fi to come out in a while. Keep on writing Lory.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a free Friday book, so i figured "Why not?" (even though it is classified as young adult and I am not). I found it to be a very entertaining and addicting read. It is clear that the author took time to research what 14th century Verona was like, which made the story more detailed and believable. The characters were well developed and the story line very unique. I look forward to reading more from this author!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a fun novel about three teens from the future who find themselves trapped in the fourtenth centutry. Imagine going from a world of safety and comfort, with out disease, with easy access to informtion and entertainment, and very little mannual labor to a subsistance lifestyle. I think kaufman does a good job of discribing the shocking disparity between our utopian future and squalid past. Seeing these spoiled kids come to care about more than getting the better of the adults around them and figure things out is great. Watch Hansum fall in love is the doomed love of the tale, as the nobles get involved you get the feeling things will come between the time crossed lovers in the end. All in all a good book worth reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
At first I thought this book was only for teens, since the characters were quite immature at the beginning. But by the end of the book, I realized it was for anybody.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It can be for kids ages 12 thru dosent matter. Has cuss words but still a generally good book.
ThatBookishGirl More than 1 year ago
In The Lens and The Looker we have a combination of subplots going on that all weave together to form a remarkable story of love, friendship and responsibility. The book's description states that there are three main characters; Hansum, who becomes Romero, Shamira (Carmella) Lincoln (Maruccio). However, the storyline focuses more on Hansum than the others. You learn the most of him and he is the easiest to sympathize with. Plus he is the one with the love interest. Now, before I get into too much detail about the plot, I want to forewarn you that this isn't a book purely driven by romance. While there is a romance found within, it doesn't take center stage. If you go into reading The Lens and The Looker hoping for an over the top, historical teen romance, you are going to be disappointed. Now, again, this wasn't an issue for me, I truly enjoyed what the book had to offer. But if you are solely seeking a romance, keep looking. The majority of the book takes place in 14th century Verona, not the 24th century. It's a time travel book, but the characters do not hop back in front throughout history. I have never read a book about Italy during that time, or any other place really, well besides Romeo and Juliet. Although that doesn't really count, it takes place nearly 200 years later. The magic of this book lies with the wonderful, thoughtful take on 14th Century Verona, and the sort of coming-of-age story of the three teens from the future. Like I stated earlier, I cannot remember ever reading a book that tackled this particular time period before and Kaufman approaches it with such care and gusto. He paints a truly vivid picture of the setting and colorful characters that come with it - He made me want to meet the lens maker, his kooky wife and beautiful daughter. I want to walk the bustling market streets and see the stunning church interiors. The reader is introduced to the period and all of its quirks in a very unique and effective way. As the three teenagers are first coming to terms with their surroundings, so are the readers. They react in the same way that I would imagine we all would - which makes the experience and story really come to life. I also found it immensely interesting to see how they struggle to fit into their new life and surroundings. It is exceeding difficult for them because they even have a different way of holding and presenting themselves - they act privileged for the time period. Those they meet certainly find them odd; not only do they speak their minds and boldly look you in the eye, they can read and write. There isn't a great deal of action within the book, the progression is much more character-oriented. While the plot moves at a steady pace, the characters, their feelings and interactions are primarily what keeps you turning the pages. I only wish that we could have seen more of the story from Shamria's perspective. I thought she was one of the more interesting characters and unfortunately she sort of rides shotgun to the boys. I think her story would be incredibly interesting - a teenage girl going from the 24th century to the 14th. Think of all the status changes that would involve. The Lens and The Looker is both captivating and intelligent. I was swept away with the story, especially with the idea of them rewriting history. I am incredibly eager to see what happens next!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Typos and missing ends of sentences detract slightly. Futuristic tale of 3 incorrigible children, taken to Verona of the 1370's, and not able to return to year of 2347. They must learn to adapt, but unfortunately the tale is not completed without purchasing the sequels. I wasn't enamored of it enought to do that.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought this was a captivating book, and I couldn't put it down. I loved how the characters you saw lots of, like Hansum, Guilietta, and Carmella, for example, had detailed backstories. Unfortunately, thanks to all the people who comment -- Does the button not say "Post your own review?" -- this book has gotten a low rating. However, I have boughtthe second book, in which the romance escalates, as does the drama, and I liked it even better, if possible. If you're wondering what ages this book is geared for, I would say girls 10+ and boys 12/13+. I am not trying to be sexist, I am merely pointing out the fact that girls seem to like romance more then boys. Overall, this book is an amazing read, and I would DEFINITELY recommend it to you. Five stars!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's a cute book... little romance, a little sci-fi, all kinds of stuff. If you have ever read Romeo and Juliet, you will appreciate the book even more as it references that play a lot.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mr. Kaufman succeeds in delivering distinct action and combat scenes. The teen dialogue seems stereotyped from the start and Hansom's early character development makes him seem both more arrogant and perceptive than he behaves in later scenes. (Why the rhyming* fails to trigger a response in the teens made me speculate on plot) Despite being frustrated when the plot failed to answer my anticipated questions, I hope the series will eventually catch up to the anonymous highway robbers* as well as provide more enticing settings and improved dialogue because the plot and most details are engrossing. I'm going to give the series a chance: they are quick reads with good "bones" *I can't provide more plot without giving away scenes.
avalonpriestess More than 1 year ago
Do you like books about the past? Books about time travel? You should love this book. A brief overview: Hansum, Lincoln, and Shamira are three kids from the 24th century who are what we would call 'problem children'. They don't pay attention in school and cause problems wherever and whenever they can. They are juvenile delinquents in the making. As a punishment, they must "do time" in a history camp. A re-enactment of a time when life wasn't so easy. The kids are sent to a camp representing Verona,Italy in 1347. Does the date sound familiar? Remember The Black Plague? Luckily for them, they have the assistance of an Artificial Intelligence genie named Pan. Pan is a genie whose goal is to cause havoc. With help from Pan they cause problems in the camp..Remember, this is supposed to be a school of sorts. Well, obviously they are not learning much. A strange traveller from the future named Arimus approaches the kids and takes them to the real Verona, Italy. During the actual 14th century. No prettified (is that a word?) camp with safety precautions in place. The kids must find a way to survive, or die. I like Mr. Kaufman's writing style. This was a very well written book. His descriptions of life in the history camp and then in 14th century Verona were just incredible. He even went so far as to explain the differences in the 14th century between the camp and the actual Verona. I love history and was fascinated by his descriptions of everyday life. Next time you walk down the street, think about how you would feel (or smell) if your neighbor threw the contents of a chamber pot in front of you. The three brats, I mean kids, were spoiled individuals. I didn't think too much of them at first. Slowly I began to change my mind. We see them mature and grow. Remember, this is the first in a trilogy. The second book, The Bronze and the Brimstone is available now.
Heavensent1 More than 1 year ago
The Lens and the Looker is book one in the Verona Series (History Camp: the Verona Trilogy) Hansum, Shamira and Lincoln are three teenagers who like to create chaos wherever they go. They don't like to follow rules or listen to their elders and for that reason, they are sentenced to a session at History Camp where for the next two weeks, they will live in 14th century Verona, serving their time while living the hard reality of another. Arriving at their destination, the three work to upset the balance of their teachers and enactors. Working as "apprentices" to an eye glass maker, the three play a few pranks and earn the wrath of their elders and are sent to bed without any supper. However, before they can decide if they have pushed the gambit too far, a mysterious man, who speaks in rhyme and prose, appears and whisks them through a time travel portal and takes them to the real Verona, a place where their are no teachers to stop the program and protect them. The three must learn to survive until the mysterious stranger arrives to take them back home. Again, they are placed in the care of an eye glass maker and his family. Believing they aren't really in dangers harm, the three conspire to do the same and bring the attentions of the teachers to their aid. However, there is no one listening and when accidents befall them, they realize that they are in this for real and only their wits will keep them alive. Changing the course of history, the three begin to realize that if they make the wrong choice or influence the wrong thing, then maybe they will undo their own existence and change history forever! I really enjoyed this book and the characters portrayed within. The concept of History Camps is a rather interesting one and the ability to go back in time and experience life first hand would be a very creative way to spend your time. I enjoyed the characters and the humour that ensues. I found everyone to be believable in their roles and the history that is dispersed throughout the pages, concerning ancient Verona, were most enjoyable to read. It's like getting a history lesson without even realizing it! There are a few minor expletives, but nothing that defracts from the enjoyment of the story, and the violence is mild to moderate. The background description of their place in history was well done and I could almost imagine myself walking through the streets of the market. The mystery of how the children will return keeps you reading to see where their antics are going to lead them next as well, their coming into their own was well-balanced and read well. At first you disliked the spoiled, rude, obnoxious children but as the story progresses you watch them mature and come to love them, even Lincoln, whose sassy mouth continously lands him into troubles of some sort or another. I cannot wait to read the next book in the series, I would recommend this for young adults and anyone who enjoys fantasy and history combined. I think author Lory Kaufman has done a magnificent job of creating a fantasy that can give us a break from our reality for a few hours.
SummerSW More than 1 year ago
"The Lens and the Looker" by Lory S. Kaufman is about 3 adolescent "hard cases" from the year 2347 who get sent to a History Camp in hopes of being reformed. The History Camps are replications of how humans in the past lived, worked, and survived their day to day lives. After believing to have outwitted the History Camp en-actors the 3 youth meet a man from the future who will take them on a journey that would change their lives in more ways than they could imagine. "The Lens and the Looker" not only is filled with tragedy, deception, adventure, sense of family, love and much more but also is so descriptive that you feel like you can actually see what the author is describing. I would recommend this book and am looking forward to reading the next two in the Trilogy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I don't normally read this genre, but absolutely loved all three books. I could not put them down. The futuristic setting, the characters and the details in the story were all very enjoyable.
Airforce35 More than 1 year ago
The Lens and the Looker is a very interesting, creatively written and detail-oriented story. The author delivers a wonderful, well thought-out original storyline about three trouble-making youths in the 24th century who are sent to History Camp for rehabilitation. These youths, who are known as hard cases, are ultimately sent to 14th century Italy, where they learn to live without the luxuries they always took for granted. In the beginning of the book, I struggled to understand the behavior of the three protagonists since there was very little background to glean from. Yet, as the story evolved, I grew to appreciate and love what each character offered. I have to say, my favorite character is Shamira because she is quiet, observes the world around her, and transforms it onto paper as a portrait. I was mesmerized with the author’s description of Verona in 1347. I felt as though I were transported back in time. This book was so carefully crafted that it was easy to engulf oneself into the characters. When the family ate rations, I felt their hunger. When the family ate plenty, I felt their joy. I really thought this was a wonderful book. I had a hard time putting the book down once I got invested in the storyline. *I received this book free from the Fiction Studio as a part of the Pump Up Your Book tour, for my honest review.*
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you like the hunger games you will probably like this book. less painfull and blody. better for younger kids i'd say about 10 or 11. Look into the past and learn how to use the knowlage today. Awesome book for those who decide to read it. Hope this helps your decision.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The mixed themes of scifi/fantasy with historical fiction work well in this fast-paced teen novel. You have to suspend disbelief of course, but the novel holds together well and leaves you ready to leap into the second novel of the trilogy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is not the sort of book I would typically purchase since it appeared to be yet another YA Fantasy/Romance. Thankfully however, I DL'd it as one of Barnes and Noble's better Free Friday's offerings, and started to read it just to see what it was about, then I found it to be such a quick, smooth, entertaining read, that I did not want to put it down. Extremely refreshing and creative take on education in the future and time travel, wrapped in a lushly descriptive and interesting narrative. This is a great read for adults or mature teens interested in SciFi/Fantasy with descriptive, intelligent historical content. That said, those overly offended by a few well placed swear words used to accentuate a story, or anyone looking for the more common mindless action novels, or for stories with tons of sappy unrealistic romance dripping from and obscuring the storyline, may want to look elsewhere. However, I found this book to be so awesome that I can hardly wait to read the next in this series! So, thanks again to B and N's Free Fridays for introducing me to this author and a refreshing new series!
edevo More than 1 year ago
This book is full of imagery and exceptional history applications! Great twists and written so well! Keeps you hanging on and hard to put down!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
excellent read