Ghosts have featured widely in the worlds-spanning His Dark Materials series, but never ghost stories – until now.
Written in the style of a classic Christmas ghost story, The Collectors is Philip Pullman's first material set in the universe since 2008's Once Upon A Time In The North and is released as an audiobook read by Bill Nighy.
It takes place in "our" world, in an unnamed Oxford college in December 1970, where middle-aged art collectors Hawley and Grinstead are discussing a painting and statue recently acquired by Hawley.
Dating back to the 1900s, the painting of an ambiguous woman and sculpture of a furious-looking monkey have been moving through the art world ever since. The mystery that appealed to Hawley is that where the one goes, the other soon follows: as quickly as they are purchased, they are sold.
It is soon apparent that the pair depicted are Marisa Coulter, known in this world as Marisa Van Zie, and her golden monkey daemon, and that one of the collectors had, impossibly, known her around the time the portrait was painted.
The Telegraph (17 December 2014)