Cornish, D.M. 1972–

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Cornish, D.M. 1972–


Born 1972. Education: Attended University of South Australia.


E-mail—[email protected]


Writer and illustrator.


(Self-illustrated) Foundling (Book 1, "Monster Blood Tattoo" series), Putnam (New York, NY), 2006.


D.M. Cornish is an Australian author of young adult fantasy novels. Beginning as an art student in 1993, he spent a decade meticulously filling twenty-three notebooks with the facts, figures, histories, definitions, and pictures of a mythical world, Half-Continent, which he was happily creating. Then in 2003 a children's book publisher encouraged him to put these notebooks to use in creating fantasy juvenile fiction. The result was Foundling, the first of three planned novels in the "Monster Blood Tattoo" series.

This initial novel in the series features the foundling named Rossamund who was raised in Madam Opera's Estimable Marine Society for Foundling Boys and Girls. Possessing a girl's name does not make life any easier for this young boy, who finally sets out to report to his new job as a lamplighter for the emperor. Thus he is launched into a medieval-style world and has adventures fighting monsters and meets strange and curious people as he comes of age. Writing in SFFWorld, Rob H. Bedford felt that "the detail and thought put into his world is indeed extensive, [and] Cornish's many years of building up the world are evident throughout." Bedford also went on to praise the narrative viewpoint Cornish employs. "By placing the story at Rossamund's level," the critic noted, "Cornish allows the reader to discover his richly detailed world along with … Rossamund." Similar praise came from Booklist contributor Cindy Dobrez, who called Foundling a "Dickensian orphan story [with] an original spin." Dobrez also commended Cornish's original and "impressive black-and-white portraits." Likewise, School Library Journal contributor Christi Voth dubbed Foundling was an "inventive debut novel," as well as a "delightful, refreshing standout in a sea of cookie-cutter fantasy worlds." However, with its hundred pages of glossary and appendices, the book is also "overblown," in the opinion of a Kirkus Reviews critic. A Publishers Weekly reviewer had no such reservations, concluding of Foundling that "from the pre-industrial English feel to the sprawling setting and backstory" Cornish's debut "feels every bit as substantial as its heft implies."

Biographical and Critical Sources


Booklist, April 1, 2006, Cindy Dobrez, review of Foundling, p. 42.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, July-August, 2006, April Spisak, review of Foundling p. 493.

Kirkus Reviews, May 1, 2006, review of Foundling, p. 455.

Publishers Weekly, June 19, 2006, review of Foundling, p. 63; July 10. 2006, Michelle Kung, "Hot-Blooded," p. 16.

School Library Journal, July, 2006, Christi Voth, review of Foundling, p. 100.


D.M. Cornish Home Page, (March 3, 2007)., (June 2, 2006), Rob H. Bedford, review of Foundling.

Wantz upon a Time Book Reviews Web site, (July 21, 2006), Christina Wantz Fixemer, review of Foundling.