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The Foundling's Tale, Part Three: Factotum


The Foundling's Tale, Part Three: Factotum

After being whisked away from the foundling orphanage into the life of service as a lamplighter, Rossamund Bookchild has experienced more in his short life than most in the rugged world of the half-continent. From rescuing the Duchess-in-waiting of Naimes from monsters to surviving the monstrosities of men, Rossamund still struggles to make sense of the world he lives in and where exactly he came from. Can the ludicrous accusations made from his previous employers be true? Can he actually be a monster?

Rossamund is eager to begin his new post as factotum to Europe. Responsible for more than just creating Europe’s treacle to keep her electric innards safe, Rossamund’s job is to seek out new monster-hunting assignments and be Europe’s right-hand man. This doesn’t sit naturally well with him as he is known to be a sedorner, or a person who empathizes with monsters, and the fact that he may just be a monster himself. 

Being a factotum is not without its perks, however, as Rossamund soon finds out. Armed with new clothes, new money, and the new reputation of being attached to Europe, he is quickly swept up in the nightlife that the large city Branden-Brass has to offer. While dining and playing cards with new friends, Rossamund is dismayed to learn of underground dog fighting that pits dogs against monsters. Unable to see a monster be ripped apart, he intervenes, destroying the fighting ring, and quickly makes enemies with some powerful adversaries who will stop at nothing to recount their losses.

Rossamund barely escapes with his life, and while he soon departs with Europe on a monster-hunting adventure, his enemies wait for the opportunity for revenge. On their trip, he witnesses firsthand the horrors of both monsters and men. Europe and Rossamund spectacularly destroy a hideous monster plaguing a countryside town only to be ambushed along the road by his enemies. Once again, Rossamund saves Europe and this time vows to stop at nothing until the people who created such havoc have paid mightily for their deeds --- no matter the cost!

FACTOTUM succeeds on so many levels. The world of the half-continent once again shifts into new cities and realms that only add to its ever-increasing complexity and beauty. Many characters from the previous two installments of the trilogy reappear, some with joy and others with fury, while new ones --- both monsters and men --- are introduced and tied effectively into the storyline. Once again, D.M. Cornish provides a complete picture into the world he has created with a well-designed glossary, maps and numerous detailed sketches that add greatly to the overall experience.

Cornish also provides a satisfying conclusion to the story of Rossamund Bookchild, who is uncomfortable in the world of men and monsters, as he often learns throughout the trilogy that both can act quite contrary to their given nature and that oftentimes the division between the two is blurred. The journey that he takes to learn who and what he is and then to accept it is one filled with adventure and self-revelation. It’s also a journey worth reading and one that I hope is only just beginning.

Reviewed by Benjamin Boche on November 11, 2010

The Foundling's Tale, Part Three: Factotum
by D. M. Cornish

  • Publication Date: December 8, 2011
  • Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Young Adult 12+
  • Paperback: 704 pages
  • Publisher: Speak
  • ISBN-10: 0142419443
  • ISBN-13: 9780142419441