The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage Summary and Reviews

The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage

The Book of Dust #1

by Philip Pullman

The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman

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Book Summary

The much-anticipated new work from the author of The Golden Compass is coming at last!

Renowned storyteller Philip Pullman returns to the parallel world of Lyra Belacqua and His Dark Materials for a thrilling and epic adventure in which daemons, alethiometers, and the Magisterium all play a part.

The Book of Dust will be a work in three parts, like His Dark Materials (The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass). The book is set ten years before The Golden Compass and centers on the much-loved character Lyra and her daemon Pantalaimon.

Philip Pullman offers these tantalizing details: "I've always wanted to tell the story of how Lyra came to be living at Jordan College, and in thinking about it, I discovered a long story that began when she was a baby and will end when she's grown up. This volume and the next will cover two parts of Lyra's life: starting at the beginning of her story and returning to her twenty years later. As for the third and final part, my lips are sealed.

"So, second: is it a prequel? Is it a sequel? It's neither. In fact, The Book of Dust is ... an 'equel.' It doesn't stand before or after His Dark Materials, but beside it. It's a different story, but there are settings that readers of His Dark Materials will recognize, and characters they've met before. Also, of course, there are some characters who are new to us, including an ordinary boy (a boy we have glimpsed in an earlier part of Lyra's story, if we were paying attention) who, with Lyra, is caught up in a terrifying adventure that takes him into a new world.

"Third: why return to Lyra's world? Dust. Questions about that mysterious and troubling substance were already causing strife ten years before His Dark Materials, and at the center of The Book of Dust is the struggle between a despotic and totalitarian organization, which wants to stifle speculation and inquiry, and those who believe thought and speech should be free. 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."

The books of the His Dark Materials trilogy were showered with praise, and the Cincinnati Enquirer proclaimed, "Pullman has created the last great fantasy masterpiece of the twentieth century." With The Book of Dust, Philip Pullman embarks on an equally grand adventure, sure to be hailed as the first great fantasy masterpiece of the twenty-first century.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"The Book of Dust feels more earthbound — in the best way — than the earlier trilogy. The cosmic clockwork of His Dark Materials, with its multiverses and metaphysics, becomes grounded in this new novel... This is an alternate world where a clever boy reads both Stephen Hawking and Agatha Christie, and the first stirrings of sexual desire are as puzzling to him as the uncertainty principle. But there is plenty of magic here, too, not just daemons and startling prophecies but witches and specters, forays into Faerie, and Malcolm's eerie, migraine-like visions of the aurora borealis. Too few things in our own world are worth a 17-year-wait: The Book of Dust is one of them." - Elizabeth Hand, The Washington Post

"Philip Pullman is the living heir of Lewis Carroll and George MacDonald and, yes, CS Lewis – in spite of Lewis being his chief bugbear, whom he attacks furiously for his religiosity and misanthropy. While JK Rowling carried on the tradition of jolly school adventures and gripping supernatural yarns, he has chosen the pilgrim road of fantastic metaphysical allegory, and his new book nods to Spenser's The Faerie Queene in the same way as His Dark Materials took on Milton and Paradise Lost. In this longed-for opening volume of the new trilogy, Pullman faces his lineage without apology: his young heroine is even called Alice, and the story follows her as she is swept down the Thames in the eponymous canoe of the hero, Malcolm. But whereas the Thames offered Carroll's Alice an idyllic, pastoral meander, a very contemporary apocalypse explodes around this older Alice." - Marina Warner, The Guardian

"The highly anticipated first book in the companion series to Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials is out today, 17 years after The Amber Spyglass, the final book in the trilogy, was released. 'The [new] story begins before His Dark Materials and continues after it,' Pullman said on NPR's Morning Edition. 'You don't have to read it before you read [the original trilogy]... it's not a sequel, and it's not a prequel, it's an equel.' Equal indeed--the masterful writing, fantastic elements and heroic journey that made the first three books shine are in full force in La Belle Sauvage." - Siân Gaetano

The information about The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

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Author Information

Philip Pullman Author Biography

Philip Pullman was born in Norwich on October 19, 1946 to Audrey and Alfred Pullman. The early part of his childhood was spent traveling from base to base as his father, and later stepfather, were part of the Royal Air Force (RAF). At age seven, following the death of his father, Philip and his younger brother Francis moved back to Britain to live with their grandfather in Norfolk, an Anglican clergyman. Their mother moved to London to find work.

When Pullman was eight, a stepfather - another RAF pilot - entered the Pullman family and once again the family moved from base to base. For a time, they settled in Australia. In Australia, he first discovered the wonders of comic books, a force that would later influence both his writing and illustrating of future stories. The family moved ...

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Name Pronunciation
Philip Pullman: As it looks: pull-man

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