Foundling (Monster Blood Tattoo, Book 1)

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9780399246388: Foundling (Monster Blood Tattoo, Book 1)

Meet Rossamünd?a foundling, a boy with a girl?s name who is about to begin a dangerous life in the service of the Emperor of the Half-Continent. What starts as a simple journey becomes a dangerous and complicated set of battles and decisions. Humans, monsters, unearthly creatures . . . who among these can Rossamünd trust? D. M. Cornish has created an entirely original world, grounded in his own deft, classically influenced illustrations. Foundling is a magic-laced, Dickensian adventure that will transport the reader.

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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.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Trembling, and ignoring the dead bogles, Rossamünd crept closer to the fallen fulgar. His heart teetered on the brink of complete terror at the thought of being left alone in this malignant place. As he neared her, he bent lower and ever lower, trying to see her face, trying to gain some hopeful hint of her condition. She lay twisted, limbs carelessly poking every which way, long hair a wispy mess obscuring her whole head. Holding back for just a moment, he knelt beside her and gingerly poked some of her chestnut locks away from her throat, cheek and brow. She was deathly pale.

Grinnling cries in the distance.

Rossamünd scurried to the landaulet, took the lantern and dashed back to where the fulgar lay. He knelt and looked to see if she was still alive, wanting to weep but holding it in- he had cried enough on this journey. Blood was running from Europe's nose. There were nasty bites upon her neck where the proofing did not cover. Breaths did come: short, shallow puffing. She lived!

Rossamünd leaned closer and whispered, "Miss . . . ! Miss . . . Miss Europe . . . !"

The fulgar's lashes fluttered and slowly parted, her vision clearly swimming. They shut again and it seemed she might slip into insensibility. Rossamünd pressed twice, sharply, on her shoulder, not wanting her to pass out. She groaned and shifted, opening her eyes again to peer at him.

With a gasp, Europe pushed herself up on her arms and sat, head lolling, hair drooping. "What happened?" she panted.

Rossamünd sat back. "You won . . . you beat them all."

She looked about, blinking heavily. Her eyes were streaming with ash-colored tears.

Rossamünd winced. He had hit her with the bothersalts too.

After a long pause and a deep sigh, she whispered, "Good . . . They were . . . difficult." Sitting up straighter, she flexed her shoulders and rolled her head about, grunting and grimacing. "My organs have spasmed," she breathed cryptically. "Not the best time for it, at all . . . I thought I was done for." Pausing for a rattling wheeze of air, she muttered, "Never advisable to . . . start a fight . . . when one is missing a . . . a dose of treacle."

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