Here’s what we know about The Book of Dust, so far

Here are 10 things we know about Philip Pullman’s much-anticipated upcoming fantasy trilogy. (Okay, nine things we know, and one thing I hope…)

1. The Book of Dust is going to be a three-part book series that overlaps with Pullman’s beloved His Dark Materials trilogy, and has the ever-brilliant Lyra Belacqua at its heart. Pullman describes his new trilogy as neither prequel or sequel, but rather as ‘equel’; the new books will stand as companions to the original trilogy.

2. The as-yet-untitled first volume will be released on Thursday, 19 October 2017. Set 10 years before the events of Northern Lights take place, this first book tells the story of how Lyra came to be living at Jordan College which, in turn, becomes a much bigger adventure.

3. The next two volumes take place 20 years later. They are set 10 years after Lyra comes home to Jordan College, following her adventure in the Arctic at the end of The Amber Spyglass.

4. Fans of the original trilogy will recognise many familiar settings. Expect to see alethiometers, daemons, the Magisterium and more. I’ve personally got my fingers crossed for Iorek Byrnison to return…

5. Readers who were paying attention may also recognise one of the most important new characters in this first volume – an ordinary boy who’s appeared in Lyra’s story before now. The two children will both become swept up in an exciting, terrifying journey together.

6. Pullman felt compelled to return to the world (or, really, worlds) he created in the original trilogy because of his ongoing fascinating with Dust. In a letter to his readers, he writes: ‘The idea of Dust suffused His Dark Materials . Little by little through that story the idea of what Dust was became clearer and clearer, but I always wanted to return to it and discover more.’

7. Dust has been equated to dark matter, which scientists say exists because of evidence of its gravitational impact on the motion of visible matter. In an article on the Guardian, it is hinted that Pullman will incorporate new findings about this substance into the new books.

8. In the same Guardian article, Pullman also talks about how Dust is a metaphor for the original story, which he based upon Milton’s Paradise Lost, and describes his new story as being linked to William Blake’s vision against a fiercely reductive way of seeing things. He writes: ‘It’s an attack on the reductionism, the merciless reductionism, of doctrines with a single answer.’

9. The premise of this new trilogy feels extremely topical right now. It centres on a struggle between a despotic and totalitarian organisation, which wants to stifle speculation and enquiry, and those who believe thought and speech should be free.

10. We don’t actually know this one to be a fact… But surely Pullman will reveal some details about Will’s life post The Amber Spyglass. It might break my heart all over again if he doesn’t.

Pre-order your copy of the first book of The Book of Dust today for the super special price of $26.95 (was $32.99).

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La Belle Sauvage (The Book of Dust Book 1)

La Belle Sauvage (The Book of Dust Book 1)

Philip Pullman

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