So, I'm trying to remember the name of a series of books that I read years ago, probably during the early-to-mid 00's.

It was set in a dystopian Victorian-era England-like land, where there was a main highway that had lanterns. The lanterns had be lit each night to keep monsters at bay, and the story revolved around a young boy who was training to light these lanterns. I think there was some magic involved somewhere and by the end of the second novel I think the young boy had become part-monster or something.

Anyone know the books I'm talking about? Thanks!

1 Answer 1


This is the "Monster Blood Tattoo" series, by D. M. Cornish. This first is called Foundling, the second Lamplighter, the third Factotum. (Just looking at the website, the series title is "The Foundling's Tale" in the US and Canada.)

The young boy is Rossamund, who is an orphan. He trains to be a lamplighter, who are, as you say, the people who light the lamps that keep the monsters away from the road.

There is a mystery around the boy, as he is a foundling, but the caretakers at the orphanage seem to know something about him, and tell him he must keep using a special perfume or potion. He feels a sympathy towards the monsters he meets and sees killed.

This is an excellent series, and you have reminded me to go and read it again!

  • Ah! Beautiful! I thought there was something about lights in the title. Thanks, that was driving me nuts! :D Jul 4, 2013 at 1:50
  • It's a great series, a really well-made world. I was going to write more of a synopsis but thought you would probably find and read all the books now, so I didn't want to spoil it for you!
    – NiceOrc
    Jul 9, 2013 at 0:29

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