La Belle Sauvage: The Book of Dust Volume One by Philip Pullman

La Belle Sauvage: The Book of Dust Volume One

Written by Philip Pullman
Part of the Book of Dust Series Series

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More than two decades after Northern Lights the first book of Pullman’s world-famous His Dark Materials trilogy, which has sold more than 17.5 million copies in over 40 languages comes, La Belle Sauvage, the first volume in his 'The Book of Dust' series.

#BookofDust will return to the parallel world that has enthralled readers young and old. La Belle Sauvage is set 10 years before Northern Lights and centres on the much-beloved Lyra Belacqua. Alethiometers, dæmons, and the Magisterium all return to play their part. Since the ‘equel’ (as Pullman likes it to be known) to His Dark Materials was announced, fans around the globe have cheered the return of Lyra Belacqua, heroine of His Dark Materials.

In a short film released by his publisher, Pullman revealed the ingredient for success behind His Dark Materials: Lyra’s ordinariness. He says: “When I wrote the first book of His Dark Materials - Northern Lights - 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.”

A Piece of Passion from Francesca Dow, Managing Director, Penguin Random House Children’s (UK): “La Belle Sauvage: The Book of Dust Volume One is a story for our time, with themes that resonate with our world today. It is a story for everybody: a much longed-for treat for established fans of His Dark Materials as they meet Lyra Belacqua again and the chance for new readers to step into the magical world of Philip Pullman for the first time.

Pullman is a master storyteller, and Lyra has established herself firmly as one of the most-loved characters in literature, a worthy contemporary of the likes of Hermione Granger (Harry Potter series), Jean Louise ‘Scout’ Finch (To Kill a Mockingbird) and Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games). In this book, she is joined by a new hero readers will love: an ordinary boy who steps up to the challenge of a lifetime.”

Photo credit: Philip Pullman at a press conference held in Convocation House to launch his new novel La Belle Sauvage. © Ant Upton_Photocall Productions.

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La Belle Sauvage: The Book of Dust Volume One by Philip Pullman

Eleven-year-old Malcolm Polstead and his daemon, Asta, live with his parents at the Trout Inn near Oxford. Across the River Thames (which Malcolm navigates often using his beloved canoe, a boat by the name of La Belle Sauvage) is the Godstow Priory where the nuns live. Malcolm learns they have a guest with them; a baby by the name of Lyra Belacqua . . .

Download a Q&A with Philip Pullman about La Belle Sauvage, the background to the story and his inspiration.

**** Publication of La Belle Sauvage: The Book of Dust Volume One is also being marked a major celebration of Philip Pullman on BBC Radio 4 with the simultaneous serialisation of La Belle Sauvage on Book at Bedtime and Daemon Voices on Book of the Week, beginning with a rare Book at Bedtime omnibus, read by Simon Russell-Beale, on Saturday 21st October.


“Once again the theme is growing up and puberty as an initiation into the reality of the world… But it is also about what you are given after puberty, when, like Adam and Eve, you find that the world is all before you.” The Sunday Times Magazine

“There are boat chases, hints at romance. It will be devoured.” The New York Times Magazine

Praise for Philip Pullman:

'One of the supreme literary dreamers and magicians of our time.' Guardian

'A genuine masterpiece of intelligent, imaginative storytelling.' Mail On Sunday

'One of those books which one can hardly bear to close.' Scotsman

About the Author

Philip Pullman

Philip Pullman is the author of the multi-award winning fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials. He has won numerous awards for his children’s books, including the Carnegie Medal, the Guardian Children's Book Award, the Smarties Prize, the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, the Whitbread Book of the Year Award and a CBE. In 2008, The Times named Pullman as one of the 50 greatest writers since 1945. Philip Pullman lives in Oxford with his wife, and has two sons. Read more the author here.

Author photo © Michael Leckie portrait.

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Book Info


560 pages


Philip Pullman
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Random House Children's Books an imprint of Random House Children's Publishers UK

Publication date

19th October 2017




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