LONDON - DECEMBER 17: Author Philip Pullman unveils his 'Find Your Daemon' Christmas trail and exhibition at London Zoo on December 17, 2004 in London. The exhibition is based on "His Dark Materials" trilogy of books, helps visitors to the zoo find their own daemon. (Photo by MJ Kim/Getty Images)

New Philip Pullman – book news

It’s been quite a wait, but Philip Pullman fans can expect new work from the author of the hugely successful His Dark Materials series. The first volume of the highly-anticipated The Book of Dust will be La Belle Sauvage. The book will be published simultaneously on 19 October 2017 by Penguin Random House Children’s and David Fickling Books in the UK, Random House Children’s Books in the US and Penguin Random House in Australia.

In an exclusive first extract from La Belle Sauvage published in The Guardian, readers have been introduced to the story’s hero: 11-year-old Malcolm Polstead and his dæmon, Asta, along with his boat La Belle Sauvage. Lyra Belacqua (familiar to readers from His Dark Materials) is being sheltered – from her own father – by the nuns at Godstow Priory near Oxford. The extract comes from chapter ten, where Malcolm is persuaded to help Lord Asriel secretly see his infant daughter.

Two decades after Northern Lights (1995) (published as The Golden Compass in the US) The Book of Dust will return to the parallel world that has enthralled readers young and old. La Belle Sauvage is set 10 years before Northern Lights and centres on the much-beloved Lyra. Alethiometers, daemons, and the Magisterium all return to play their part.

The author says: “When I wrote the first book of His Dark Materials – sometimes called Northern Lights, sometimes called The Golden Compass – I certainly didn’t anticipate that so many people would find Lyra as interesting a character as I did.”

“The thing about Lyra is that she’s not a special child. She’s not especially gifted or talented – she’s a very ordinary child. When I was a teacher, I taught many girls who were like Lyra. They were brave, inquisitive, curious, disobedient: all those interesting things for storytellers. I think the reason that people have read this long and complicated story is because they’re with Lyra. She doesn’t know the things that are threatening her and she’s in the same position as the reader, because the reader shares her sense of danger and excitement and curiosity about what’s going to happen next. I hope the same thing will be true of Malcolm in La Belle Sauvage.”

Individually, the three books of His Dark Materials—Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass—have won several literary prizes, among them the Carnegie Medal (1996) and the “Carnegie of Carnegies” (2007) and the first Whitbread (now Costa) Book of the Year Award to be given to a children’s novel (2001). The books have been adapted for stage and screen countless times, and His Dark Materials will appear once again in a BBC One adaptation in 2018, produced by Bad Wolf and New Line Cinema.

Other reviews you might enjoy: