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Factotum: Part Three of The Foundling's Tale    by D. M. Cornish order for
by D. M. Cornish
Order:  USA  Can
Putnam, 2010 (2010)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

I imagine a great many of you are scratching your heads at the latest book from D. M. Cornish. If you have read the previous books, the title of the recent release, Factotum, makes perfect sense as Rossamünd Bookchild was chosen to be the new factotum to the great monster hunter Europe at the end of Lamplighter. But Lamplighter was the second book in the Monster Blood Tattoo trilogy, so how come Factotum is part three of The Foundling's Tale? The answer is actually simple: Cornish changed the name of the trilogy – and for the better, I say, as the new title is not as harsh and gory sounding, and fits better with the Victorian feel of the story.

In the first two books, Foundling and Lamplighter, Rossamünd Bookchild began to learn that something about him was different, not just the fact that he was foundling. In Factotum, Rossamünd learns the true facts behind his unique origin. But there is more to learn about than just his heritage. He must now prove himself as Europe's factotum and find his true place in the world, a world that is less accepting of him than he could ever imagine. His new career may take him all over the Half-Continent, but there is no running from who he really is.

With each installment a massive tome unto itself, The Foundling's Tale is indeed an epic trilogy. Cornish expertly captures the feel of an era gone by, but in a world that is unlike our own. Rossamünd's world is beautifully imagined and highly researched, and that is what will make The Foundling's Tale a fantasy trilogy to survive the ages. Cornish's world-building is just as elaborate, and in some instances may even surpass, the great fantasy writers of the 20th century.

Aside from being a highly-imaginative fantasy, The Foundling's Tale is also a wonderful coming-of-age trilogy. Rossamünd may face challenges that teens never will have to face, but his feelings are universal. Everyone must eventually learn who they really are and what their place in the world is, and Cornish writes that with a deft hand. Factotum is a fitting conclusion to a new classic. Rossamünd Bookchild may be finished with his story, but I hope D. M. Cornish has many more tales to entertain us for years to come.

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