The title of the The Book of Dust is La Belle Sauvage. It will be published simultaneously on 19 October 2017 by Penguin Random House Children’s and David Fickling Books in the UK, and Random House Children’s Books in the US.
In the first extract from La Belle Sauvage, readers are introduced to the story’s hero: 11-year-old Malcolm Polstead and his dæmon, Asta. The extract comes from chapter ten, where Malcolm is persuaded to help Lord Asriel secretly see his infant daughter, Lyra, who is being sheltered – from her own father – by the nuns at Godstow Priory near Oxford.
Who or what is La Belle Sauvage of the title? The answer is that she is a boat, a canoe to be precise, and her owner is Malcolm, whom we have seen in an earlier part of Lyra’s story (if we were paying attention. He only had a walk-on part there). The canoe is important in this part of The Book of Dust, because some of the story is set during a massive flood.”
Two decades after Northern Lights (1995) (The Golden Compass in the US) The Book of Dust (#BookofDust) will return to the parallel world of the His Dark Materials trilogy. La Belle Sauvage is set 10 years before Northern Lights and centres on the much-beloved Lyra Belacqua. Alethiometers, daemons, and the Magisterium all return to play their part.
Since the ‘equel’ to His Dark Materials was announced, fans have cheered the return of Lyra Belacqua, heroine of His Dark Materials. When I wrote the first book of His Dark Materials I certainly didn't anticipate that so many people would find Lyra as interesting a character as I did. The thing about Lyra is that she's not a special child. She's not especially gifted or talented - she's a very ordinary child. When I was a teacher, I taught many girls who were like Lyra. They were brave, inquisitive, curious, disobedient: all those interesting things for storytellers. I think the reason that people have read this long and complicated story is because they're with Lyra. She doesn't know the things that are threatening her and she's in the same position as the reader, because the reader shares her sense of danger and excitement and curiosity about what's going to happen next. I hope the same thing will be true of Malcolm in La Belle Sauvage.
30 May 2017