17 years after the publication of The Amber Spyglass, the final volume of the His Dark Materials trilogy, comes La Belle Sauvage, the first in the Book of Dust series.
I must admit to some feelings of trepidation about revisiting this world, but having heard an interview with Philip Pullman in which he described La Belle Sauvage as neither a prequel nor a sequel, but more of an equal, I set aside my reservations and began reading. Within a paragraph, the trepidation began to subside and by the 20th page I knew that everything was going to be okay.
Set 10 years before the events of Northern Lights, our main character is Malcolm Polstead, who lives in the pub opposite Godstow Priory where a baby girl called Lyra Belacqua has come to stay. Fascinated by both Lyra and her daemon Pantalaimon, Malcolm and his daemon Asta soon find themselves caught up in an adventure involving baby Lyra and the mysterious substance Dust.
Once again, Pullman has created an immensely likeable main character in Malcolm and he’s not afraid to put you through the emotional wringer as the story unfolds. Pullman expands the universe he so magically created in His Dark Materials and draws upon mystery, myth, folklore and science to weave a captivating and compelling story.
I thoroughly enjoyed La Belle Sauvage, and can’t wait for the next volume. In the meantime, I am now on the waiting list for the audiobook read by Michael Sheen (small squeal of excitement!) so that I can enjoy it all over again.