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La Belle Sauvage
Cover of La Belle Sauvage
La Belle Sauvage
The Book of Dust Series, Book 1
"The book is full of wonder. . . . Truly thrilling." The New York Times
More than twenty years after the publication of the groundbreaking The Golden Compass, Philip Pullman returns to that parallel world to expand on the story of Lyra, "one of fantasy's most indelible characters." (The New York Times Magazine)

Malcolm Polstead is the kind of boy who notices everything but is not much noticed himself. And so perhaps it was inevitable that he would become a spy....
Malcolm's parents run an inn called the Trout, on the banks of the river Thames, and all of Oxford passes through its doors. Malcolm and his daemon, Asta, routinely overhear news and gossip, and the occasional scandal, but during a winter of unceasing rain, Malcolm catches wind of something new: intrigue.
He finds a secret message inquiring about a dangerous substance called Dust—and the spy it was intended for finds him.
When she asks Malcolm to keep his eyes open, he sees suspicious characters everywhere: the explorer Lord Asriel, clearly on the run; enforcement agents from the Magisterium; a gyptian named Coram with warnings just for Malcolm; and a beautiful woman with an evil monkey for a daemon. All are asking about the same thing: a girl—just a baby—named Lyra.
Lyra is the kind of person who draws people in like magnets. And Malcolm will brave any danger, and make shocking sacrifices, to bring her safely through the storm.
"Too few things in our world are worth a seventeen year wait: The Book of Dust is one of them." —The Washington Post
"People will love the first volume of Philip Pullman's new trilogy with the same helpless vehemence that stole over them when The Golden Compass came out." —Slate
"The book is full of wonder. . . . Truly thrilling." The New York Times
More than twenty years after the publication of the groundbreaking The Golden Compass, Philip Pullman returns to that parallel world to expand on the story of Lyra, "one of fantasy's most indelible characters." (The New York Times Magazine)

Malcolm Polstead is the kind of boy who notices everything but is not much noticed himself. And so perhaps it was inevitable that he would become a spy....
Malcolm's parents run an inn called the Trout, on the banks of the river Thames, and all of Oxford passes through its doors. Malcolm and his daemon, Asta, routinely overhear news and gossip, and the occasional scandal, but during a winter of unceasing rain, Malcolm catches wind of something new: intrigue.
He finds a secret message inquiring about a dangerous substance called Dust—and the spy it was intended for finds him.
When she asks Malcolm to keep his eyes open, he sees suspicious characters everywhere: the explorer Lord Asriel, clearly on the run; enforcement agents from the Magisterium; a gyptian named Coram with warnings just for Malcolm; and a beautiful woman with an evil monkey for a daemon. All are asking about the same thing: a girl—just a baby—named Lyra.
Lyra is the kind of person who draws people in like magnets. And Malcolm will brave any danger, and make shocking sacrifices, to bring her safely through the storm.
"Too few things in our world are worth a seventeen year wait: The Book of Dust is one of them." —The Washington Post
"People will love the first volume of Philip Pullman's new trilogy with the same helpless vehemence that stole over them when The Golden Compass came out." —Slate
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  • From the book Eleven-year-old Malcolm lives with his parents at the Trout Inn near Oxford, across the river Thames from Godstow Priory, where the nuns are looking after a special guest. One night his father comes to Malcolm's bedroom.


    "Malcolm, you en't in bed yet—good. Come downstairs for a minute. There's a gentleman wants a word with you."

    "Who is it?" said Malcolm eagerly, jumping up and following his father out.

    "Keep your voice down. He'll tell you who he is if he wants to."

    "Where is he?"

    "In the Terrace Room. Take him a glass of Tokay."

    "What's that?"

    "Hungarian wine. Come on, hurry up. Mind your manners and tell the truth."

    "I always do," said Malcolm automatically.

    "News to me," said his father. But he ruffled Malcolm's hair before they entered the bar.

    The gentleman waiting gave him a start, though all he was doing was sitting still by the cold fireplace. Perhaps it was his dæmon, a beautiful silvery spotted leopard, or perhaps it was his dark, saturnine expression; in any event, Malcolm felt daunted, and very young and small. His dæmon, Asta, became a moth.

    "Good evening, sir," he said. "Your Tokay what you ordered. Would you like me to make up the fire? It's ever so cold in here."

    "Is your name Malcolm?" The man's voice was harsh and deep.

    "Yes, sir. Malcolm Polstead."

    "I'm a friend of Dr. Relf," said the man. "My name is Asriel."

    "Oh. Er—she hasn't told me about you," Malcolm said.

    "Why did you say that?"

    "Because if she had, I'd know it was true."

    Asriel gave a short laugh.

    "I understand," he said. "You want another reference? I'm the father of that baby in the priory."

    "Oh! You're Lord Asriel!"

    "That's right. But how are you going to test the truth of that claim?"

    "What's the baby's name?"

    "Lyra."

    "And what's her dæmon called?"

    "Pantalaimon."

    "All right," said Malcolm.

    "All right now? You sure?"

    "No, I en't sure. But I'm more sure than I was."

    "Good. Can you tell me what happened earlier this evening?"

    Malcolm went through it as fully as he could remember.

    "These men came from the Office of Child Protection, and they wanted to take her away. Take Lyra. But Sister Benedicta wouldn't let 'em."

    "What did they look like?"

    Malcolm described their uniforms. "The one who took his cap off, he seemed like he was in charge. He was more polite than the others, more sort of smooth and smiling. But it was a real smile, not a fake one. I think I'd even've liked him if he'd come in here as a customer—that sort of thing. The other two were just dull and threatening. Most people would've been dead scared, but Sister Benedicta wasn't. She faced 'em off all by herself."

    The man sipped his Tokay. His dæmon lay with her head up and her front paws stretched out ahead of her, like the picture of the Sphinx in Malcolm's encyclopedia. The black-and-silver patterns on her back seemed to flicker and shimmer for a moment, and then Lord Asriel spoke suddenly.

    "Do you know why I haven't been to see my daughter?"

    "I thought you were busy. You probably had important things to do."

    "I haven't been to see her because if I do, she'll be taken away from there and put in a much less congenial place. There'll be no Sister Benedicta to stand up for her there. But now they're trying to take her anyway. . . ."

    "Excuse me, sir, but I told Dr. Relf about all this. Didn't she tell you?"

    "Still not quite sure about me?"

    "Well . . . no,"...
About the Author-
  • PHILIP PULLMAN is one of the most acclaimed writers working today. He is best known for the His Dark Materials trilogy (The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass), which has been named one of the top 100 novels of all time by Newsweek and one of the all-time greatest novels by Entertainment Weekly. He has also won many distinguished prizes, including the Carnegie Medal for The Golden Compass (and the reader-voted "Carnegie of Carnegies" for the best children's book of the past seventy years); the Whitbread (now Costa) Award for The Amber Spyglass; a Booker Prize long-list nomination (The Amber Spyglass); Parents' Choice Gold Awards (The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass); and the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, in honor of his body of work. In 2004, he was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

    Philip Pullman is the author of many other much-lauded novels. Three volumes related to His Dark Materials: Lyra's Oxford, Once Upon a Time in the North, and The Collectors. For younger readers: I Was a Rat!; Count Karlstein; Two Crafty Criminals; Spring-Heeled Jack; and The Scarecrow and His Servant. For older readers: the Sally Lockhart quartet (The Ruby in the Smoke, The Shadow in the North, The Tiger in the Well, and The Tin Princess); The White Mercedes; and The Broken Bridge.

    Philip Pullman lives in Oxford, England. To learn more, please visit philip-pullman.com or follow him on facebook at Philip Pullman author, and on Twitter at @PhilipPullman.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from October 23, 2017
    For more than 15 years, fans of the His Dark Materials trilogy have longed to return to the world Pullman created. Now, finally, begins a new trilogy, the Book of Dust, that again immerses readers in a thrilling alternate landscape of animal daemons, truth-revealing alethiometers, and the mysterious particle known as Dust. Lyra, the beloved heroine of the original books, is just a baby; 11-year-old Malcolm Polstead is the hero this time, and a worthy one. Malcolm helps out at his family's inn in Oxford and at the priory where Lyra—sought by her mother, Mrs. Coulter (younger but no less chilling than in the His Dark Materials books), and her father, Lord Asriel—is being cared for by nuns. Inquisitive and observant, Malcolm gets involved with scholar-spy Dr. Hannah Relf and meets (and adores) baby Lyra. But free thinkers are at war with the oppressive religious regime, and everyone wants control of Lyra, who is "destined to put an end to destiny." Amid the roaring waters of a historic flood, Malcolm and his daemon, Asta, attempt to keep Lyra safe, braving kidnappers, government enforcers, murderers, and classmates who, chillingly, are being trained to turn in those perceived to be disloyal to the regime. Fortunately, he has a fleet canoe, the Belle Sauvage of the title, and help from Alice, a cranky and courageous 16-year-old. The new characters are as lively and memorable as their predecessors; despite a few heavy-handed moments regarding the oppressiveness of religion, this tense, adventure-packed book will satisfy and delight Pullman's fans and leave them eager to see what's yet to come. Ages 14–up.

  • Kirkus

    November 15, 2017
    Pullman's return to the realms of His Dark Materials moves the timeline back to Lyra's infancy with a tale of young people struggling against outsized forces of both nature and evil.It's a story in two parts, as the author devotes nearly the entire first half to a slow buildup of tension around a certain baby recently consigned to the indulgent sisters of a nearby priory, to setting the cast in place, and to the founding of a network of student informants dubbed the "League of St. Alexander" (after an early convert who consigned his pagan parents to the flames--it's clear the author continues to wield his anything-but-subtle knife on organized Christianity). Then, impelled by a devastating flood and the attentions of a sinister stranger with a horribly wounded, abused hyena for a daemon, 11-year-old Malcolm Pollstead undertakes a desperate rescue. He bundles the laughing infant into his canoe (named La Belle Sauvage) along with teenage acquaintance Alice Parslow. The terrifying hazards they encounter are natural, unnatural, and even supernatural. The rescue becomes a long flight--part idyll, part nightmare--that ultimately leaves the burbling babe and her daemon, Pantalaimon, ensconced in Jordan College. First, though, come encounters with Lyra's larger-than-life parents and numerous other characters met in other books in the series, no fewer than three of the world's six alethiometers, the odd fairy or river god, and a sick, twisted villain whose relentless pursuit leads to a rape in the tale's most hideously violent episode. Save for a few "gyptians," the human cast is white. Illustrations not seen.Magisterial storytelling will sweep readers along; the cast is as vividly drawn as ever; and big themes running beneath the surface invite profound responses and reflection. (Fantasy. 13-adult)

    COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Slate "Reading this novel is like standing in a room in which suddenly all of the windows have blown open at once."
  • The Washington Post "Enthralling, enchanting. The first half reads like a thriller. The story becomes darker, deeper and even more engrossing when a cataclysmic flood overtakes Southern England. Too few things in our world are worth a seventeen year wait: The Book of Dust is one of them."
  • Bustle "Pullman's writing is as deftly brilliant as ever. A triumphant return to the alternate Oxford we love."
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The Book of Dust Series, Book 1
Philip Pullman
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