The Book of Dust

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The Book of Dust
Author Philip Pullman
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Series The Book of Dust
Genre Fantasy
Publication date
19 October 2017 (1st volume)

The Book of Dust is an as-yet-uncompleted trilogy of fantasy novels by Philip Pullman and is a companion to his His Dark Materials trilogy. The plot focuses on a battle for free speech and thought against a theocratic totalitarian organisation. The books touch on research into Dust, the cosmic matter that governs consciousness, as well as the portrayal of religion in His Dark Materials.[1]

Pullman said the trilogy addresses consciousness: "Perhaps the oldest philosophical question of all: are we matter? Or are we spirit and matter? What is consciousness if there is no spirit? Questions like that are of perennial fascination and they haven’t been solved yet, thank goodness.”[2]

The first novel in the intended trilogy, La Belle Sauvage, was published in October 2017; it is set 12 years before Northern Lights (known as The Golden Compass in some countries) and centres on protecting the baby Lyra Belacqua, one of the protagonists of the original trilogy. Alethiometers, dæmons and the Magisterium return, alongside new characters, including a new hero, 11-year-old Malcolm Polstead owner of the canoe, "La Belle Sauvage".

History[edit]

Pullman conceived The Book of Dust before the publication of Lyra's Oxford in 2003.[3][4] On his website in April 2005, he wrote that the book was "under way".[5] In 2007, he described it as "a big, big book".[6] In a 2009 interview with Oxford University newspaper Cherwell, Pullman stated that The Book of Dust was "growing" but that he was "encountering complexities that seem to be making it longer than I thought it would be."[7] In 2011, Pullman said that he was considering writing The Book of Dust in two volumes, one set before His Dark Materials and the other set afterwards.[8] In September 2012, Pullman told the BBC that The Book of Dust was now his focus and that he had written 220 pages.[9] In December, he told Wired that he had cleared 2013 and most of 2014 to write the book.[10] In May 2016, he said he had vowed to not cut his hair until it was complete.[11]

On 14 February 2017, Pullman announced that The Book of Dust would be a new trilogy, and announced the publication of the first novel, La Belle Sauvage,[12] published on 19 October 2017.[13] The books are jointly published by Random House Children’s and David Fickling Books in the United Kingdom, and by Random House Children's Books in the US.[14]

Books[edit]

The Book of Dust takes place before, during and after the original trilogy; Pullman described it as an "equel", rather than a sequel, which "will begin and end with Lyra".[15] The plot focuses on a battle for free speech and thought against a totalitarian organisation.[16] The books will touch on research into Dust, the cosmic matter that governs consciousness, as well as the portrayal of religion in His Dark Materials.[17] Pullman said the trilogy addresses consciousness: "Perhaps the oldest philosophical question of all: are we matter? Or are we spirit and matter? What is consciousness if there is no spirit? Questions like that are of perennial fascination and they haven’t been solved yet, thank goodness.”[18]

La Belle Sauvage[edit]

The first book, La Belle Sauvage, was published on 19 October 2017.[13] Set ten years before the His Dark Materials trilogy, the story follows 11-year-old Malcolm Polstead, his dæmon Asta, a village girl named Alice and her dæmon Ben who become the protectors of the infant Lyra Belacqua and her dæmon, Pantalaimon, in their canoe, La Belle Sauvage, after a flood. The novel introduces the alethiometer specialist Hannah Relf, allied with the secret organisation Oakley Street, and a new villain, Gerard Bonneville, allied with the Consistorial Court of Discipline (CCD). Returning characters include Lyra's father Lord Asriel and mother Mrs Coulter, and the Gyptian elder Farder Coram.[18]

The Secret Commonwealth[edit]

The second book, The Secret Commonwealth, begins with Lyra as a 20-year-old undergraduate[19][18] and involves her journeying to the Far East via the Levant.[20] No publication date has been officially announced,[17] but at the launch of La Belle Sauvage, Pullman announced that it was complete[18] and has said that he hopes it will be out a year after La Belle Sauvage.[21] As of September 2017, work on the third book had not commenced.[20]

The Secret Commonwealth takes its title from a compilation of folklore by Robert Kirk that Pullman has said is one of his favourite books.[20]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kean, Danuta (2017-02-14). "Philip Pullman unveils epic fantasy trilogy The Book of Dust". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 18 October 2017. 
  2. ^ Flood, Alison (2017-10-18). "Philip Pullman launches La Belle Sauvage and says sequel is finished". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-10-19. 
  3. ^ Thorpe (2003-04-06). "Pullman brings back Lyra for Oxford". The Guardian. 
  4. ^ Mitchison, Amanda (2003-11-03). "The art of darkness". London: The Telegraph. Retrieved 2008-01-12. 
  5. ^ "April message". Philip-Pullman.com. April 2005. Archived from the original on 16 October 2005. Retrieved 12 January 2008. 
  6. ^ Fleming, Tom (2007-08-03). "A very grown-up children's author". London: The Guardian Unlimited Arts Blog. Retrieved 2015-10-14. 
  7. ^ "Oxford's Cherwell Interviews: Philip Pullman". Cherwell. 2009-09-02. Retrieved 2009-06-02. 
  8. ^ Brown, Helen (2011-10-17). "Page in the Life: Philip Pullman". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2012-03-12. 
  9. ^ "BBC News: Philip Pullman turns to Grimm task". BBC. 2012-09-24. Retrieved 2012-09-24. 
  10. ^ "Philip Pullman Is Planning on Going Silent". Wired.com. 2012-12-27. Retrieved 2013-04-29. 
  11. ^ Nicolette Jones (6 May 2016). "Philip Pullman interview: 'I've always loved comics – now I'm writing one'". The Telegraph. 
  12. ^ "Author Philip Pullman Announces A Follow-Up Trilogy To 'His Dark Materials'". NPR.org. Retrieved 2017-02-15. 
  13. ^ a b "First Book of Dust novel to be called 'La Belle Sauvage' | The Bookseller". www.thebookseller.com. Retrieved 2017-06-19. 
  14. ^ "Long-awaited Philip Pullman series The Book of Dust revealed | The Bookseller". www.thebookseller.com. Retrieved 2017-02-15. 
  15. ^ Saner, Emine (2017-02-17). "The Book of Dust: after 17 years, Pullman's latest work has new relevance". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2017-03-02. 
  16. ^ Flood, Alison (2017-10-18). "Philip Pullman launches La Belle Sauvage and says sequel is finished". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-10-19. 
  17. ^ a b Kean, Danuta (2017-02-14). "Philip Pullman unveils epic fantasy trilogy The Book of Dust". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 18 October 2017. 
  18. ^ a b c d Flood, Alison (2017-10-18). "Philip Pullman launches La Belle Sauvage and says sequel is finished". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-10-19. 
  19. ^ O'Kelly, Lisa (2017-10-22). "Philip Pullman: 'My daemon is a raven, a bird that steals things'". The Observer. ISSN 0029-7712. Retrieved 2017-10-22. 
  20. ^ a b c Elmhirst, Sophie (2017-10-12). "Philip Pullman Returns to His Fantasy World". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-11-06. 
  21. ^ hermes (2017-10-24). "His Dark Materials universe draws Philip Pullman back for new trilogy". The Straits Times. Retrieved 2017-11-06.