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Lamplighter (Monster Blood Tattoo Series #2)

Lamplighter (Monster Blood Tattoo Series #2)

4.7 14
by D. M. Cornish
Continuing the absorbing, inventive saga started in Foundling, Lamplighter follows Rossam?nd Bookchild, now one of the EmperorÕs lamplighters, who is sworn to protect travelers from the ferocious bogles that live in the wild. Small and meek, he does not fit in. Then a haughty young female monster hunter is forced upon the lamplighters for training.


Continuing the absorbing, inventive saga started in Foundling, Lamplighter follows Rossam?nd Bookchild, now one of the EmperorÕs lamplighters, who is sworn to protect travelers from the ferocious bogles that live in the wild. Small and meek, he does not fit in. Then a haughty young female monster hunter is forced upon the lamplighters for training. As Rossam?nd begins to make new friends in the dangerous world of the Half-Continent, he also seems to make more enemies, finding himself pushed toward a destiny that he could never have imagined. . . .

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
-Reminiscent of the works of J. R. R. Tolkien or Robert Jordan.+ -School Library Journal, starred review

-From the pre-industrial English feel to the sprawling setting and backstory, this book feels every bit as substantial as its heft implies.+ -Publishers Weekly, starred review

+Gives the Dickensian orphan story an original spin. . . . Expertly envisioned and peopled with intriguing characters.+ -Booklist, starred review

KLIATT - Donna Scanlon
In this second volume of the series, Rossamund Bookchild is now an apprentice lamplighter in the Emperor's service. The responsibility of the lamplighters is to light the way along the Emperor's highways and protect travelers from the monsters that run wild across the Half-Continent. Just as in the previous book, Foundling, Rossamund is the smallest and weakest in the group, and he is not much happier than he was at the orphanage where he was raised. At least the lamplighters have a common purpose, as he learns when he helps defend a coach from a monster attack, although he has no idea how that carriage will change his life. One of the passengers is Threnody, a strong-willed girl determined to apprentice with the lamplighters, and she replaces Rossamund as the primary object of scorn. Cornish's books are richly complex, packed with intricate plots, maps and illustrations, characters with Dickensian names and an entirely new vocabulary, spelled out in the glossary called the "explicarium." It is essential to read the books in order; many of the entries in the explicarium in Book Two refer the reader to Book One. The Half-Continent is an entirely original work of imagination and creativity; it is a world as carefully developed as Middle Earth and one in which the reader becomes completely engrossed. This does lead to the question of the appropriate audience for the series. Lamplighter is a hefty book at over 700 pages, although that includes all of the appendices and other matter. While the length won't necessarily deter readers, the complexity might bog some down. Yet readers who are looking for a challenge to their imaginations will love Rossamund's story, and while it isaccessible to tweens, older YAs and adults will enjoy it as well. Libraries with Foundling in their collections really must purchase this title; as for those who do not own the first book, purchase of both titles is strongly recommended. Reviewer: Donna Scanlon
VOYA - Mary Arnold
As readers plunge back into the amazingly elaborate world of the Half Continent and continue the coming-of-age adventures of orphan and apprentice lamplighter Rossamund Bookchild, the burning question is whether, as he has always been taught, all monsters are evil and must be destroyed. This philosophical debate is complicated by other changes to what has always been, particularly that the manse at Winstermill has admitted its first female apprentice, Threnody, daughter of the Lady Vey. Threnody rejects her training as a calendar, women monster hunters pledged to protect the needy and poor, and comparing poorly against her superior skills means Rossamund once more struggles to fit in and prove himself. Filled with marvelous storytelling, intricately developed characters, compelling pencil-sketch plates, and building tension as monster attacks increase and mysterious secrets emerge, readers root for the young hero as he comes to grips with the understanding that not all is as it seems, nor can all those he encounters be trusted to have good hearts. There is sufficient backstory that readers new to the Monster Blood Tattoo series can start here, but they will want to go back to read the early history of the orphan boy with a girl's name. Fans of high fantasy will delight in detailed maps, the lengthy "explicarium" of terms, and the delightfully wicked idea of commemorating victories with a tattoo from the blood of the vanquished monster. Reviewer: Mary Arnold
School Library Journal

Gr 8 Up- Rossamünd Bookchild has begun his training as a lamplighter, lighting the highways of the Half-Continent and fending off the increasingly frequent attacks by the varied and dangerous monsters of the land. The militaristic lifestyle is rigorous and lonely. His only companion is a fellow outcast, a haughty aristocrat's daughter who is the only girl among the cadets. Rossamünd's alienation grows with his increasing suspicion that not all "boggles" are evil-a philosophy regarded as treasonous in his society. Both the story and the accompanying 90-page "Explicarium" build on and expand the information in Foundling (Putnam, 2006), and reading this book without a firm grounding in the first is not to be attempted. Cornish's rich supporting cast brings together some of the best characters of the previous installment (most notably the captivating, mercenary monster-slayer Europe) with a host of intriguing new personages, including a former lighter who is physically and mentally scarred from a monster attack, a sinister surgeon, and a horrible half-human half-monster construct. Devout fantasy fans will welcome the return to the socially and morally complex world of the Half-Continent and eagerly anticipate the concluding installment.-Christi Esterle, Parker Library, CO

Kirkus Reviews
Cornish again buries a likable protagonist and perfectly viable plot under a mountain of obscure words and pretentious prose in this overweight sequel (Foundling, 2006). Young Rossamund has begun his apprenticeship as a lamplighter, venturing out daily to light and douse highway lamps. With monsters everywhere, lamplighters are also fighters, killing every bugaboo, bogle and nicker in sight. Challenging society's pure hatred of monsters is criminal, but Rossamund privately doubts this dogma, having met one personally. Meanwhile, corrupt, high-ranking officials covertly create zombie-like monsters from discarded organs. Cornish characterizes Rossamund with a light touch, fear and sadness mingling with hints about unusual roots, as he does Numps, mentally wounded from a monster attack and living underground with his "friend," a plant that makes lamps glow. However, the turgid narrative voice clashes with Rossamund's gentleness as he ponders moral subtleties in a forcefully verbose prose, crammed with archaic English words on top of a fantasy terminology that apparently requires a 94-page glossary (which, despite its length, often fails to clarify). (glossary, appendices) (Fantasy. 10-14)

Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
Monster Blood Tattoo Series , #2
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.32(h) x 2.16(d)
Age Range:
12 - 15 Years

Read an Excerpt


calendar(s) sometimes also called strigaturpis or just strig-a general term for any combative woman; the Gotts call them mynchen-after the do-gooding heldin-women of old. Calendars gather themselves into secretive societies called claves (its members known as clariards)-constituted almost entirely of women-organized about ideals of social justice and philanthropy, particularly providing teratological protection for the needy and the poor. They usually live in somewhat isolated strongholds-manorburghs and basterseighs-known as calanseries. Some claves hide people-typically women-in trouble, protecting them in secluded fortlets known as sequesturies. Other claves offer to teach young girls their graces and fitness of limb in places known as mulierbriums. Calendars, however, are probably best known for the odd and eccentric clothing they don to advertise themselves.

The short run of road that went east from Winstermill to Wellnigh House had a reputation as the easiest watch on the Wormway-and for the most part it was. Known as the Pettiwiggin or the Harrowmath Pike, it was so close to Winstermill, the mighty fortress of the lamplighters, that those who used it were rarely troubled by nickers or bogles. Close and safe, the Pettiwiggin was ideal for teaching young -prentice--lighters the repetitious tasks of a lamplighter.

For nigh on two months the "-lantern--sticks," as they were called by the scarred veterans who taught and chastised them, had been at their training. In another two, if each boy made it through, he would be promoted to lampsman. On that great day it would be his privilege to be billeted to one of the many cothouses-the smallfortresses punctuating the long leagues of the Wormway-to begin his life as a lampsman proper.

At this middle point in their training the prentices were taken out on the road to begin the lighting and the dousing of the -great--lamps that lit the Wormway. Until now they had marched and drilled, learned their letters and practiced at lighting on -yard--lanterns safe within Winstermill. Rossamünd had found it all as boring as he once feared a lamplighter's life might be. Indeed, his first excursion out to light lamps had been uniformly laborious and uneventful, the overnight stay in Wellnigh House uncomfortable, and the return to the manse dousing the lanterns the next morning as dull as the night before. He keenly regretted that he might never become a vinegaroon as he had once hoped, and often thought to himself,Oh, that's not how -they'd do it in the navy; that's not what -they'd do on a ram.

For Rossamünd the first half of prenticing had been long, yet not quite as lonely as his old life at Madam Opera's Estimable Marine Society for Foundling Boys and Girls. Here at Winstermill he shared the trials of training with the other prentices, all boys of a similar age from poor and obscure origins like his. Together they fumbled through each movement of their fodicar drill; together they winced at each reluctant, -shoulder--wrenching shot of pistol or fusil; together they balmed their feet after day-long marching. Yet the other lads were not nearly as keen on pamphlets or the matter they contained-tales of the heroic progenitors of the Empire and the monsters they slew. Most could barely read, despite the attempted remedies of "letters," the reading and writing class under Seltzerman 1st Class Humbert. None of them showed any interest in the vinegar seas or the Senior Service, nor desired a life of a vinegaroon. -Grass-combers, Master Fransitart, his old dormitory master, would have called them-true lubberly, ground-hugging landsmen.

Rossamünd's failure to get to the manse in time for the start of prenticing meant he had missed that first crucial period when fragile bonds of friendship begin. He had been late only one week, but -Lamplighter--Sergeant Grindrod had dubbed him "Master -Come--lately," and the name had stuck.

One skill he had learned at Madam Opera's proved exceptionally useful. The hours spent keenly watching his old master and dispensurist Craumpalin had shown their fruit, for he was known for his facility with potives and restoratives. He had been made the custodian of the -prentice--watch's chemistry, doling out repellents or healing draughts where necessary. This earned him a little respect, but it meant that out on the road, while the others carried a -short--barreled musket known as a fusil, he was to content himself with his fodicar and a satchel of potives. However, he had seen the effect of both musket ball and repellent. As reassuring as it was to have a firelock in your hands that could cough and boom startlingly at an enemy, a -well--aimed potive could deal with many more monsters at once and often more effectively.

The evening of this second -prentice--watch, Rossamünd was called forward, joining the six others he had been listed with when he first began as a -prentice--lighter. These were the boys of the 3rd -Prentice--Watch, Q Hesiod Gæta. Though, by -letter--fall order, Rossamünd's name should have appeared -second--from--top in the appropriate -triple--marked ledgers (B for Bookchild), he was nevertheless gathered with the six whose names were at the end of it, lads like Giddian Pillow and Crofton Wheede. For a second afternoon these six and Rossamünd stood in single file on the Forming Square as the other prentices looked on.

The platoon of prentices was sectioned into three quartos, one of which would go out on the road each evening to light the lamps, staying in Wellnigh House over the night and returning to Winstermill the next dawning, putting out the lights and getting back by -mid-morning. Each quarto was named after a doughty -lamplighter--marshal of old: Q Protogenës, Q Io Harpsicarus and Q Hesiod Gæta, Rossamünd's own.

With a cry of "A light to your path!" Lamplighter--Sergeant Grindrod led the watch through the great bronze gates of Winstermill down the steep eastern drive known as the Approach and onto the Pettiwiggin. After them came the crusty Lampsmen 1st Class Assimus, Bellicos and Puttinger, veteran lighters glaring and complaining under their breath, barely tolerating the green incompetence of the prentices.

Much of the -six--mile stretch of the highroad was raised on a dike of earth, lifting it almost a yard above the Harrowmath-the great flat plain on which Winstermill was built-giving a clear view over the high wild grasses. Ever the wayward lawn of the Harrowmath was mown by fatigue parties of peoneers and local farm laborers with their glinting scythes, ever it would grow back, thick and obscuring. At its eastern end, after five miles and eighteen lamps, the Pettiwiggin descended flush with the land and passed through a small woodland, the Briarywood. Tall sycamores and lithe wandlimbs grew on either side of the way, with shrubby evergreen myrtles and knotted briars flourishing thickly about their roots. Yesternight, when the -prentice--watch had worked through it, Rossamünd had keenly felt the workings of mild threwd-that ghastly sensation of hidden watchfulness and threat that thrilled all around. This evening it had grown a little stronger as he went along, tiny prickles of terror upon his neck, and its subtleties felt like a warning.

There was a -great--lamp to light at the beginning of the Briary, one at its end and another right in its midst. This middle light was found in a small clearing on the shoulder of the highroad.

After this only five lamps to go, Rossamünd consoled himself. Puffing at the stinging cold, he stared suspiciously at the darkling woods about him. The thorny twine of branch and limb crowded the broad verge, newly pruned by the -day--watch fatigue party out gathering firewood. Anything might be creeping behind those -withy--walls, lurking in the dark beneath the briar and -winter--nude hawthorn, sneaking between thin pale trunks, hungry, waiting. Behind him the glow of the cold evening gloaming could be seen through a grandly arched gap in the tall trees where the Pettiwiggin entered the woods. The sky showed all about as pallid slits between the black of the lithesome trees. In the thin light Rossamünd adjusted the strap of his salumanticum-the satchel holding the potives-and checked once more that all within were in their place. He had been as eager as the other boys to start at lighting proper, but now here, out in this wild unwalled place, he was not so sure. He arched his back and looked up past the steep brim of his almost new, lustrous black -thrice--high through the overhanging branches at the wan measureless blue of evening. Without realizing it, he gave a nervous sound, almost a sigh.

"Are we keeping you up, Master -Come--lately?"

This was -Lamplighter--Sergeant Grindrod. Even when he hissed angrily, the -lamplighter--sergeant seemed to be shouting. He was always shouting, even when he was supposed to be talking with the habitual hush of the -night--watch.

Rossamünd snapped back his attention. "No, -Lamplighter--Sergeant, I just . . . !"

"Silence!" Ducking his head to hide a frown, Rossamünd swallowed at an indignant lump and held his tongue. -Can't he feel the horrors growing?

From the first lamp of the afternoon until now, the -prentice--watch had stopped at every lamppost to wind out the light using the -crank--hooks at the end of their blackened fodicars to ratchet the winch within each lamp. Bundled as best they could be against the bitter, biting night, they halted once again, stamping and huffing as Grindrod called Punthill Plod forward. The boy pumped the winch a little awkwardly and wound out the phosphorescent bloom on its chain, drawing it out into the glass bell of the -seltzer--filled lamps, where it came alive with steadily increasing effulgence. The prentices not working the lamp looked on while -Lamplighter--Sergeant Grindrod spelled out each -rote--learned step.

The little thrills of threwd prickled all the more, and Rossamünd could no longer watch so dutifully. Something was coming, something foul and intending harm-he could feel it in his innards.

There it was: the clatter of horses' hooves, wild and loud. A carriage was approaching, and fast.

"Off the road, boys! Off the road!" the lampsmen called in unison, herding the -prentice--lighters on to the verge with a push and a shove of their fodicars. Buffeted by the back or shoulders of several larger boys, Rossamünd was shoved with them, almost falling in the scramble.

"The wretched baskets! Who is fool enough to trot horses at this gloamin' hour?" -Lamplighter--Sergeant Grindrod snarled, mustachios bristling. "See if ye can eye the driver, lads-we might have a writ to write back at Winstermill!"

From out of the dark ahead six screaming horses bolted toward them, carrying a -park--drag-a private coach-with such bucking, rattling violence it was sure to break to bits even as it shattered past the stunned lighters.

The prickle of threwd at Rossamünd's back became urgent.

"There's no coachman, Sergeant!" someone cried.

Rossamünd's internals gripped and a yelp of terror was strangled as it formed. A dark, monstrous thing was rising from the rear of the -park--drag. Massive horns curled back from its crown; the slits of its eyes glowed wicked orange. Threwd exploded like pain up the back of Rossamünd's head as the carriage shot by, the stench of the -horn--ed thing upon it rushing up his nostrils with the gust of their passing.

Some boys wailed.

"Frogs and toads!" Grindrod cursed. "The carriage is attacked!"


Meet 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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Lamplighter 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Newfound.Joye More than 1 year ago
The Monster Blood Tattoo series' second novel, Lamplighter is a superb continuation of the trilogy. If you read Foundling (which you should if you plan on reading this second book), the tone and mood of the novel remains the same. You will constantly find yourself reading this book well into the wee hours of the night. Cornish's fantastical world will draw you into the history and language of the characters. Again, for a young adult novel, this is an extraordinary text. The illustrations have the same quality as the previous book and the familiar supplemental material returns. If you enjoy fantasy books with several addictive twists, I recommend that you invest time into Lamplighter.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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aimee1 More than 1 year ago
WOW! this is a fantastic read for all ages (my son and I read "The Foundling" and "Lamplighter" together; he is 15 and I am 35; I honestly think I liked it more than he). It's one of the most original novels I've EVER read. Bottomline: FUN FOR ALL AGES
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Left me craving Book #3!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I came across the first book 'Foundling' without any knowledge of it. Little did i know that it would turn out to be the start of one of the best series i have ever read. 'LampLighter' is one of those books you can't keep your hands off of it is a book of many conflicts and always has you wondering what will be on the next page. This book is full of many twists and will keep you on the edge of your seat whenever reading. D.M. Cornish is a brilliant author and has out done himself with this new series. I can't wait until the third book of this series comes out i am very much anticipating its arrival =]].
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Monster Blood Tattoo series is a masterpiece! I came across the first book, Foundling without any realization of how fond I would become of this series. The second book is even better than the first because of it's unpredictability and unique story. These books are unlike any other books I have read before and I am so pleased to have read them. I can not say how much I am looking forward to reading the third book. Any reader who loves fantasy books must add this to their collection!
harstan More than 1 year ago
In Winstermill, Lamplighter trainees are learning on the job their prime duties of lighting and dousing when Master Rossamund's group comes across bogles attacking a carriage of females. They ally with the women to defeat the bogles, but Rossamund who observed the battle as he held the lamp-lighting alchemy accessories also noticed that one of the coach occupants could not control her talent that one Threnody tells him she wants to become a lamplighter and she joins his troupe of rookies. --- Rossamund is kind to the acrimonious temperamental Threnody, and his patience with her crankiness slowly turns Threnody around. A monster attacks people just outside Wintersmill Rossamund and Threnody team up to battle the dark one enabling those still there to flee. He recognizes the odor of the 'dark trades' behind this assault and other subsequent vicious attacks. The Lamplighter Marshal is accused of failing at his duty and shockingly removed from office, which angers his subordinates who trust him as they have seen him fight monsters worse the incompetent pretentious but never get dirty Master of Clerks Podious and his sycophant surgeon Swill take over the Lamplighter legion. They demote Rossamund to novice and exile him to a dangerous isolated outpost having accused him of lying about a fight against a monster Threnody accompanies him. Bogles attack their new outpost with the duo as the only survivors which subject them to an official inquiry. --- The second Monster Blood Tattoo epic fantasy (see FOUNDLING) is a superb complex thriller starring a strong case starting with Rossamund and Threnody. The story line is fast-paced and the etchings throughout enhance the saga. Also adding depth is the glossary that packs additional information about the world of Cornish set aside some time as this addition to the first novel is worth reading. The support cast is solid, but the tale belongs to the heroic Rossamund and his friend-student Threnody, as they are at the epicenter battling against the increase dark trade monster activity. This is a fascinating strong entry in a wonderfully refreshing series. --- Harriet Klausner