Phillip Pullman's allegorical trilogy has been delighting readers since 1995 - when The Northern Lights was first released - and now fans have something new to sink their teeth into!
The series, known as the His Dark Materials trilogy, takes place in a world of alternate universes, starting in one where humans' souls live outside their bodies as animal-shaped daemons. It's a universe filled with magic and anthropomorphic animals, supernatural beings, heavenly hosts, heroes and villains, and so much more. With a coming-of-age story at its heart, His Dark Materials took YA fantasy to new heights.
The Book Of Dust
After one big-screen adaptation that was a box office flop (2007's The Golden Compass), the trilogy has been picked up by the BBC, with plans to make it into a TV series. This was huge news for the fans, but the project has been in development for a few years now, with little movement. However, earlier this year it was announced that fans of the series have something else to look forward to - a new novel: The Book Of Dust.
The new book has been described by Pullman as an 'equel' rather than a sequel or prequel, with scenes taking place both before and after the events of His Dark Materials. It's the first in a new trilogy, and fans are thrilled to delve back into Lyra's world for another adventure.
A First Look: The Book Of Dust
The full novel won't be available until October, but today The Guardian published an exclusive extract from the new book, introducing readers to the key characters - and some familiar faces!
This new extract reveals several exciting new things that fans can expect in October, including the book's title: La Belle Sauvage.
- The protagonist appears to be Malcolm, a young boy who works at an Inn in Oxford run by his parents. It's unlikely that he is a throwaway character, as the novel is named after his canoe.
- Lord Asriel is making a return, as the extract deals with his attempts to see the infant Lyra, and Malcolm's help. This isn't too much of a surprise, but it's definitely going to be interesting to read more about a young Asriel.
- This extract could be the opening passage of the novel, as it takes place when Lyra is first born, and introduces the new main character of the series.
- Lyra's childhood is going to be explored in more depth, starting with the nuns that cared for her as a baby.
Malcolm isn't a major character (or even a recognizable minor one!) in the original trilogy, so this also raises a lot of questions. Who is Malcolm to Lyra? Who is the doctor who is caring for her, and how does Malcolm know her? Why is an inkeeper's boy so well-informed about Lyra's situation?
Only time will tell, and unless another extract is released in the coming months, we'll just have to wonder until October!
The first book in The Book Of Dust trilogy will be released on the 19th of October worldwide.