This is Philip Pullman in top form, telling a story that holds the reader spellbound. The Book of Dust is very definitely an English fantasy. It reminds me strongly of Susan Cooper’s The Dark Is Rising, only with more bite. The characters are satisfyingly drawn, the plot sufficiently tense, and the conclusion does not disappoint. I was happily swept along by the inexorable current of Pullman’s narrative. Recommended By Mary Jo S., Powells.com
Returning to the world Pullman created in the His Dark Materials series is so satisfying and worth the long wait. Malcolm Polstead, son of an innkeeper and helper to the nuns at the Priory of St. Rosamund, takes it upon himself to help baby Lyra when the town experiences a major flood and shady people are after her. He, Lyra, and Alice head downstream in a boat, La Belle Sauvage, in search of Lyra’s father. Readers of the series will recognize characters from the previous books, but this book stands on its own. It’s a great introduction or return to Pullman’s world. I highly recommend it! Recommended By Jennifer H., Powells.com
Wow, was I nervous before I started this, worrying it wouldn't be as good as its predecessors. Luckily, I loved it just as much, if not more, than the His Dark Materials series. Returning to Lyra's world was like coming home again, and I enjoyed every minute of it. This book has it all — wonderful characters and world-building, clever, smart writing, incisive (and relevant) political commentary, perfect pacing and mood development… I never wanted it to end. Now the only question is: How in the world will I manage to wait for the next book in the series? Recommended By Leah C., Powells.com
Philip Pullman's Golden Compass trilogy was one of my favorite series of the last decade, so his new book, the first volume in this prequel (or "equel," as he calls it), was by far one of my most highly anticipated books of the year. I'm happy to say it does not disappoint. Pullman is at the height of his powers, including a page-turning plot, unforgettable characters, and a thoughtful and relevant philosophy behind the mesmerizing world he has created. Recommended By Jill O., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
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 title and cover of this first story will remain under wraps until a later date, but it can be revealed that 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.
“Pullman demonstrates that his talent for world building hasn’t diminished, nor has his ability to draw young characters — here, Malcolm, who is layered enough to carry an adventure through multiple dimensions.” Booklist, starred review
“Pullman’s imagery is as dazzling as ever. La Belle Sauvage reveals the incredible ways in which ‘ordinary’ children can react when placed in extraordinary circumstances: with kindness, bravery and cunning.” The Bookseller
"The Book of Dust passes by in one tumultuous wave of literature, that leaves you queasy, but wanting the next volume as quickly as possible. It deserves not only a reread, but an unpacking. It is not a one and done novel, something that, in a time where binging and passing is the status quo. This is a novel to digest. One to take in, let settle, and then revisit. We are lucky to have Pullman’s words. Words that will continue to nourish the souls and imaginations of readers for a long, long time.” Hypable
“Enthralling, enchanting. The first half reads like a thriller. The story becomes darker, deeper, and even more engrossing when a cataclysmic flood overtakes Southern England. Too few things in our world are worth a 17-year wait: The Book of Dust is one of them.” The Washington Post
About the Author
"Stories are the most important thing in the world. Without stories, we wouldn’t be human beings at all."— Philip Pullman
Philip Pullman is the acclaimed author of the His Dark Materials trilogy: The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass. His other books for children and young adults include Count Karlstein and a trilogy of Victorian thrillers featuring Sally Lockhart. The Golden Compass, the first of Pullman’s His Dark Materials triology, won the Carnegie Medal and the Guardian Fiction Prize.