So, I received this ARC of Factotum because I've talked of my love of D.M. Cornish's stories here. Before, this set of stories on half-continent was called The Monster Blood Tattoo, but I have to admit that the arc is better named The Foundling's Tale, as at its core, it is and ever will be about the boy Rossamund, whatever he may actually be.
If you haven't read any of D.M. Cornish's work, I envy you, because you get to discover it for the first time. Cornish's Half-Continent is part Baroque, part Lewis Carroll, and part Revolutionary War. The writing is witty, the dialogue a perfect imitation of the novels written in the period, and the characters strong and with heart.
If all this weren't enough, there's art work. Cornish himself draws the monsters and the characters in an angular, eerie portrait style.
In this particular volume, Rossamund, our young hero, lives with the fallout from the accusations and realizations of book 2, championed by the fulgar (monster hunter) Europe. They make political enemies, and in the end, Rossamund has to make a decision about where he belongs and where his allegiances lie.
Besides the incredibly well realized Europe and Rossamund, the book boasts all sorts of characters. The Lapinduce who appears only briefly, almost steals the book.
The vocabulary and the world require some explanation, but in addition to character sketches, Cornish provides you with vocabulary and appendices. It's exactly the kind of book my husband won't read, for those reasons, but in this case. that means more Cornish for me.
And more Cornish for you. Factotum will be at a bookstore near you in November, 2010. Go out and buy it, and learn a little bit about really sophisticated world building.