Excerpt from La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

La Belle Sauvage

The Book of Dust #1

by Philip Pullman

La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman X
La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Oct 2017, 464 pages
    Paperback:
    Jun 2019, 464 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Michelle Anya Anjirbag
Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


"Don't blame you. You going to go on visiting Dr. Relf?"

"Yes. Because she lends me books as well as listening to what's happened."

"Does she? Good for her. But tell me, the baby—is she being well looked after?"

"Oh, yes. Sister Fenella, she loves her a lot. We all— They all do. She's very happy—Lyra, I mean. She talks to her dæmon all the time, just jabber jabber jabber, and he jabbers back. Sister Fenella says they're teaching each other to talk."

"Does she eat properly? Does she laugh? Is she active and curious?"

"Oh, yeah. The nuns are really good to her."

"But now they're being threatened... ."

Asriel got up and went to the window to look at the few lights from the priory across the river.

"Seems like it, sir. I mean, Your Lordship."

"'Sir' will do. You know them well, these nuns?"

"I've known 'em all my life, sir."

"And they'd listen to you?"

"I suppose they would, yes."

"Could you tell them I'm here and I'd like to see my daughter?"

"When?"

"Right now. I'm being pursued. The High Court has ordered me not to go within fifty miles of her, and if I'm found here, they'll take her away and put her somewhere else where they aren't so careful."

Malcolm was torn between saying, "Well, you ought not to risk it, then," and simple admiration and understanding: of course the man would want to see his daughter, and it was wicked to try to prevent him.

"Well ..." Malcolm thought, then said, "I don't think you could see her right now, sir. They go to bed ever so early. I wouldn't be surprised if they were all fast asleep. In the morning they get up ever so early too. Maybe—"

"I haven't got that long. Which room have they made into a nursery?"

"Round the other side, sir, facing the orchard."

"Which floor?"

"All their bedrooms are on the ground floor, and hers is too."

"And you know which one?"

"Yes, I do, but—"

"You could show me, then. Come on."

There was no refusing this man. Malcolm led him out of the Terrace Room and along the corridor, and out onto the terrace before his father could see them. He closed the door very quietly behind them and found the garden brilliantly lit by the clearest full moon there'd been for months. It felt as if they were being lit by a floodlight.

"Did you say there was someone pursuing you?" said Malcolm quietly.

"Yes. There's someone watching the bridge. Is there any other way across the river?"

"There's my canoe. It's down this way, sir. Let's get off the terrace before anyone sees us."

Lord Asriel went beside him across the grass and into the lean-to where the canoe was kept.

"Ah, it's a proper canoe," said Lord Asriel, as if he'd been expecting a toy. Malcolm felt a little affronted on behalf of La Belle Sauvage and said nothing as he turned her over and let her slip quietly down the grass and onto the water.
"First thing," he said, "is we'll go downstream a short way, so's no one can see us from the bridge. There's a way into the priory garden on that side. You get in first, sir."

Asriel did so, much more capably than Malcolm had anticipated and his leopard daemon followed, with no more weight than a shadow. The canoe hardly moved at all, and Asriel sat down lightly and kept still as Malcolm got in after him.

"You been in a canoe before," Malcolm whispered.

"Yes. This is a good one."

"Quiet, now ..."

Malcolm pushed off and began to paddle, staying close to the bank under the trees and making no noise at all. If there was one thing he was good at, this was it. Once they were out of sight of the bridge, he turned the boat to starboard and made for the other shore.

Excerpted from The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage (Book of Dust, Volume 1) by Philip Pullman. Copyright © 2017 by Philip Pullman. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  Godstow Abbey

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous
    On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous
    by Ocean Vuong
    On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous, the bold and bracing debut novel by acclaimed poet Ocean Vuong, ...
  • Book Jacket: Daisy Jones & The Six
    Daisy Jones & The Six
    by Taylor Jenkins Reid
    In this evocative novel written in the format of an interview with members of a fictional music ...
  • Book Jacket: The Age of Living Machines
    The Age of Living Machines
    by Susan Hockfield
    In the face of looming global challenges, such as overpopulation, resource depletion and disease, Dr...
  • Book Jacket
    The Mars Room
    by Rachel Kushner
    There is palpable tension between expectation and reality in Rachel Kushner's third novel. The ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Patsy
    by Nicole Dennis-Benn

    A haunting depiction of immigration and womanhood, and the silent threads of love.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club
Book Jacket
An American Marriage
by Tayari Jones

A masterpiece of storytelling, and a 2018 Oprah's Book Club Selection.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win The Guest Book

The Guest Book
by Sarah Blake

"An American epic in the truest sense."
—Entertainment Weekly

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

M I Haste, R A L

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.