Everything we know about Philip Pullman's The Book of Dust

Everything we know about Philip Pullman's La Belle Sauvage

When is La Belle Sauvage out, midnight bookshop openings, what's a dæmon again and how does it relate to His Dark Materials?

When bookshops are opening at midnight you know something pretty important is about to hit the shelves. Over two decades after the publication of Northern Lights, Philip Pullman returns to the world of His Dark Materials with his new book La Belle Sauvage. Prepare to be amazed at how quickly some people can finish a book.

Is it called La Belle Sauvage or The Book of Dust?
Both. La Belle Sauvage is the first novel is a series titled The Book of Dust, just as Northern Lights was the first novel in the series His Dark Materials

Is it a sequel to His Dark Materials?
No. It's set 10 years before Northern Lights. It is being described as an 'equel', a new story that stands alongside his previous trilogy. However, it does inhabit the same universe. The story centres on the much-beloved Lyra Belacqua, one of the protagonists from His Dark Materials, and alethiometers, dæmons, and the Magisterium all return.

I read it back in the 90s, what are alethiometers, dæmons and the Magisterium again?
Alethiometres are compass-like objects used to communicate with Dust and find truthful answers. Dæmons are the physical manifestation of a human soul in Lyra's world; they take the form of animals. Lyra has a pine martin named Pan (short for Pantalaimon). The Magisterium is the Church. They are not the good guys.

What or who is The Belle Sauvage?
It's a canoe, owned by the story's hero: 11-year-old Malcolm Polstead. Malcolm and his dæmon, Asta, are living with his parents at the Trout Inn near Oxford when he learns they have a guest with them, a baby called Lyra Belacqua.

Have I heard of Malcolm Polstead before?
Well spotted, eagle eye. He was mentioned in Lyra's Oxford.

When is it out?
Release date in the UK and the US is Thu 19 Oct. It accidently got released early in the Netherlands by a Dutch publisher, but they were all recalled and none were sold – phew.

When can I get a copy?
You can pre-order now, with some bookshops staging midnight launches so you can get your hands on a copy as soon as midnight strikes on Wed 18 Oct. Others are opening early on Thu 19 Oct so you can pop in en route to work, or whenever you need to be at 9am.

How many pages is it?
Odd question but since you ask it's 560 pages.

Did they make His Dark Materials into film?
The first book was adapted into a film, using the American name The Golden Compass, and starred Dakota Blue Richards, Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig. After a religious boycott from the Magisterium, I mean America's Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, the next two films were never made.

Is there an extract I can read?
There is indeed, on Philip Pullman's website.
Or you can listen to Michael Sheen read it.

The Book of Dust is out Thu 19 Oct, via Penguin Random House Children's and David Fickling Books

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