Fans of His Dark Materials have waited nearly 20 years for more about Lyra; I decided that I could not wait until Christmas but had to buy my copy of the first volume of Philip Pullman’s new trilogy straight away, and of course I was not disappointed.
This is the story of how 6 month old Lyra is taken to safety as the waters rise around Oxford. Except it is not really Lyra’s story, but, that of Malcolm, the 11 year old owner of the canoe La Belle Sauvage, and his companion Alice (15 and rather more of a cynic), their courage and determination against a range of foes: the forces of the Consistorial Court of Discipline, the Office of Child Protection and a fearsomely, vicious character called Gerard Bonneville, who Pullman may have overused, including him in one too many scenes for my liking.
This book is based in the same fantasy world as Northern Lights – an Oxford which is at once similar, but, at the same time old-fashioned and different with its ‘anbaric’ lighting, and a cast of characters who all have their own daemons, animal representations of their individual personalities and an extension of their characters.
This book will appeal to readers from 12+, creating a new generation of fans and sustaining his existing readership, engaging readers of all ages in conversations about books, Dust, daemons, the forces of authority, and individuals coming together and risking their lives to defeat illiberal forces – parallels of a sort can of course be made with Britain today but these would probably be misleading. Pullman has revealed that Books Two and Three of the new trilogy will jump forward in time, and may pick up where His Dark Materials finished. Not so long to wait this time …enjoy the first volume over Christmas.