Lamplighter (Monster Blood Tattoo Series #2)

Lamplighter (Monster Blood Tattoo Series #2)

by D. M. Cornish


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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. . . .

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780399246395
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date: 05/01/2008
Series: Monster Blood Tattoo Series , #2
Pages: 736
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.32(h) x 2.16(d)
Age Range: 12 - 15 Years

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.

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!"

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Lamplighter 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
emitnick on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Lamplighter by D.M. Cornish (Putnam, 2008) is, like its predecessor Foundling (Putnam, 2007), a dark and dense pleasure indeed. Young Rossamund has begun his prenticeship as an Emperor¿s Lamplighter at the labyrinthine stronghold Winstermill and begins to adapt to the rigorous schedule. Rossamund has a remarkable talent for finding and befriending the gems among some truly rough characters, and these friends come in very handy as a sinister hidden plot results in Winstermill being controlled by nefarious schemers. To shorten the rest of the plot to one sentence ¿ Rossamund and his reluctant friend Threnody are prematurely placed in the most dangerous, monster-ridden stronghold in the Empire, survive several nasty monster attacks, and end up back at Winstermill, where Rossamund is accused of something that the reader has suspected all along. What that is, you¿ll have to discover for yourself; I¿m no plot spoiler!

The many vivid characters and their intriguing relationships to each other, the intricate details of dress, routine, language, food, and everything else, and most of all Rossamund¿s growing awareness of his own nature and thoughts about the world ¿ these elements, bound together by masterful prose, make reading these two books an intense experience. Cornish has built an entire rich world, and I plunged into it gladly.

May I use that word ¿obsessive¿ again? Cornish¿s drawings, tables, charts, glossary, and maps point to a seriously deranged mind. Reading these books is like reading a foreign language you¿re not quite fluent in; you have to keep checking the glossary until finally you just let the strange words sweep you away into the story. In one section of Lamplighter, Rossamund and some others play a card game called Pirouette. Some general rules were given. I checked the glossary; there was an entry but the full rules weren¿t given. However ¿ I am quite sure that if I dropped by Mr. Cornish¿s house in Australia and asked him to play a game of Pirouette with me, he¿d whip out a deck of cards (handpainted by himself) and teach me to play.
Nikkles on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
D.M. Cornish has created a really interesting world for his Monster Blood Tattoo series. It is familiar yet really different from ours with it s monsters and vinegar seas. The action is very well written and in the long periods of inaction keep up a good pace in the story. The mystery of the book is not hard to figure out, though it is not really the focus of the book. The characters are just fascinating and all are fascinating for different reasons. I was disappointed that Fouracres was not in this installment, but I have hope that we will see him again. No small part of the fun is the very excellent illustrations depicting many of the important characters.
davidprovost on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A worthy (and thankfully longer) successor to Foundling. Cornish continues to describe and flesh out the world of the Half-Continent, as Rossamund seeks his destiny with the Imperial Lamplighters. Delving further into the subtle moral choices that must be made in this world of humans and monsters, and featuring interesting new intriguing characters and fascinating new concepts, this sequel does not disappoint. The only negative to mention is that we must now wait for Book 3.
Bitter_Grace on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A wonderful sequel to Foundling. I enjoyed it even more than the first book, which was excellent. Several new characters are introduced, including Threnody, a monster slayer of noble birth who joins the Lamplighters as the first female prentice, and whose haughtiness is supplanted at times by surprising acts of charity. Also Numps, a seltzer-man who has gone a bit mad after being savagly attacked by monsters and now cleans lamp panes and keeps a secret stash of bloom in the fortress. The scenes between Numps and Rossamund are often tender, and provide further hints at a mystery that is introduced in the first book, and expanded on in this volume to great effect. Europe also reappears in this book as a sort of odd, detached maternal figure.Rossamund, who is generally meek and apathetic for a hero begins to show a bit of backbone in this book, maintaining his disgust for monster killing, but fighting bravely to defend his fellow lamplighters and friends. Cornish gives us a complex character who, in the seemingly clear-cut battle of humans vs. monsters is one of the few people capable of seeing in shades of grey. Indeed, some of the human characters are much more monstrous than some of the monsters themselves.Cornish's fantasy world continues to be deeply satisfying and absorbing. The one complaint I have is that the sheer number of new words he introduces, while very inventive and evocative, make it difficult sometimes to keep track of what's what, especially since there are often several different words for the same thing which are used interchangeably. Of course, one can always consult the extensive glossary, however, it takes away from the excitement to have to flip to the back.Highly recommended.
cpotter on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A great second book in the Monster Blood Tattoo series by Cornish. Orphan Rossamund Bookchild begins his training as a lamplighter. On his first day along the Emperor's highway they encounter monsters chasing a carriage filled with passengers. The lampligher trainees know as lampsticks and the senior trainers help the passengers fight off the deadly attack. The passengers are women teratologist--monster hunters with the gift of witting. One of their number a young girl is coming to join the lampsticks. Rossamund has a variety of life threatening encounters with boggles as he finishes his training and is assigned to his first official assignment.Challenging vocabularyrecommend/no language issuesViolence
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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.
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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