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The Foundling's Tale, Part Three: Factotum Hardcover – November 11, 2010

4.5 out of 5 stars 54 customer reviews
Book 3 of 3 in the Foundling's Tale Series

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About the Author

D.M. Cornish was born in time to see the first Star Wars movie. He was five. It made him realize that worlds beyond his own were possible, and he failed to eat his popcorn. Experiences with C.S. Lewis, and later J.R.R. Tolkien, completely convinced him that other worlds existed, and that writers had a key to these worlds. But words were not yet his earliest tools for storytelling. Drawings were.

He spent most of his childhood drawing, as well as most of his teenage and adult years as well. And by age eleven he had made his first book, called "Attack from Mars." It featured Jupitans and lots and lots of drawings of space battles. (It has never been published and world rights are still available.)

He studied illustration at the University of South Australia, where he began to compile a series of notebooks, beginning with #1 in 1993. He had read Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast novels, The Iliad, and Paul Gallico's Love of Seven Dolls. Classical ideas as well as the great desire to continue what Mervyn Peake had begun but not finished led him to delineate his own world. Hermann Hesse, Kafka and other writers convinced him there were ways to be fantastical without conforming to the generally accepted notions of fantasy. Over the next ten years he filled 23 journals with his pictures, definitions, ideas and histories of his world, the Half-Continent.

It was not until 2003 that a chance encounter with a children's publisher gave him an opportunity to develop these ideas further. Learning of his journals, she bullied him into writing a story from his world. Cornish was sent away with the task of delivering 1,000 words the following week and each week thereafter. Abandoning all other paid work, he spent the next two years propped up with one small advance after the other as his publisher tried desperately to keep him from eating his furniture.

And so Rossamund's story was born - a labor of love over twelve years in the making.


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 1210L (What's this?)
  • Series: The Foundling's Tale (Book 3)
  • Hardcover: 700 pages
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers (November 11, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399246401
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399246401
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 2.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #512,365 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on November 19, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I don't read novels for young adults. This is out of necessity as a children's librarian more than any personal animosity towards the genre. With all the great middle grade fiction out there who has time for YA? So I'm not sure how I got conned into reading the first Monster Blood Tattoo Foundling back in 2006. However it happened, I was immediately enthralled. Here was a fantasy world I could believe in! One that on the surface looked like it was made up of the usual black and white tropes, and then later turned into an increasingly variegated series of grays. Moral ambiguity city, baby! I devoured Foundling with relish and when its sequel Lamplighter arrived I tossed that back as well. Maybe that's why I took my time with Factotum, the third and (sadly) last book in the Monster Blood Tattoo series. Reading this book meant having to say goodbye to a lot of old friends. It meant bidding adieu to a world I'd grown to love. I never meant to read a young adult novel. Now I've read three and they're books I honestly love with all my heart. Here's hoping Mr. Cornish has something more up his sleeve.

When last we left our intrepid heroes, Rossamund the Lamplighter had been accused of being a . . . well . . . a rossamund. Which is to say, he's accused of being a monster in man's form. Rescued from his accusers by the always impressive Europe, the Branden Rose, Rossamund has become her factotum to escape the public eye.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Somebody needs to address the elephant in the room. Whatever idiot suit in the publishing house decided to "rebrand" this series with an insipid, soulless title and bland, dull cover art, I'm here to tell you, you really need slapped around. G.P Putnam, you've done a major disservice to this writer and his work, right here. And you all should be ashamed of yourselves. I really find it hard to believe your approach is going to significantly boost the sales. You make them look like architecture textbooks. Sheesh.

Eventually I'm going to have to shell out some extra dough for an import edition with the REAL title, the good, catchy, original title, and artwork appropriate to the atmosphere of the piece, as well as matching the previous books of the trilogy on my shelf.

Cornish delivers the goods, thankfully. It's a great story. But this one was packaged by tasteless cowardly MORONS. At least the madness is only here in the States.
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Format: Hardcover
The last book in the trilogy is another masterfully crafted tale. The creatively deep and fertile world continues to delight me with interesting characters, believable interactions, exciting fights, and the intrigue of courtly machinations. While Factotum started a little more slowly for me than the previous two books, this same beginning does lay a strong groundwork that later rapidly seizes the imagination and does not release it until the finale is complete. The conclusion of the trilogy is both satisfying and yet leaves me wanting more. I hope that this is not the final installment in Cornish's fascinating world. It will proudly share space next to the J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis stories on my shelf and be re-read as often as well.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm giving Factotum, the last book of the Monster Blood Tattoo series, five stars because I cried at the end, and it's been a long time since a book made me cry.

I didn't want it to end, something that hasn't happened since I read Lord of the Rings a gazillion years ago. But more than that, the ending took me by surprise, I wasn't expecting things to turn out quite as they did, which has left me longing to continue traveling with Rossamund and learn more about his unique world and its history. Perhaps D. M. Cornish will tell us more about Rossamund's life. Perhaps, as young adults, he will let the young hero meet up once again with Threnody from book two. But that is probably only a dream this reader longs for.

I would tell anyone who wants to read these book to have all three of them at hand so that there is no pause between one book and the next, else you might lose the flow of the story and become confused by the wordage. I would tell them not to be intimidated by the length of the books. I would tell them to go slowly, to savor the language and style of writing. I would tell them to explore the glossary and appendix as it can only help a reader become more grounded in the story. I would tell them to allow themselves to become immersed in this strange new world which is both terrible and beautiful, bizarre and homely all at the same time. I would tell them to open their hearts to both monster and human alike as both have their good and evil sides.
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Format: Hardcover
There is no doubt, as you will see from the many previous reviews, that Cornish has really created something new and vibrant in his wonderful trilogy. The fact that this genre of novel is dominated by generally dull and repetitive story-lines makes it all the more remarkable - when you find a gem amongst all the masses of 'not-gems', then it makes it all the more special. The book cannot really be classified squarely as 'young adult, as I believe it appeals to a much wider spectrum - for myself, as a father who reads TO his young adults, I enjoyed the book tremendously.

I could not, however, be somewhat disappointed with several aspects of the third novel, Factotum. Don't get me wrong though, I enjoyed this book even more than the previous two, but the conclusion left me feeling that all the loose ends had not been covered.

After building up the complex relationship between Rossamund and Threnody in the first two books, she just disappears in the third altogether in the concluding third book - what gives? Numps also all but disappears, along with Sebastipole, a character that we grew very fond of and attached to as one of Rossamund's few supporters.

The story-line for the conniving of the Master-of-Clerks, and the sinister Swill do not seem to play out fully, but end abruptly with their demise - I would have hoped for a greater exploration of what motivated them, and was expecting that there would be an ultimate showdown between these deadly characters and Rossamund .

Perhaps I am being a bit too fussy, but I would have liked a neat clear 'feel good' ending. I can only hope that a fourth book might be in the offing...
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