Danuta Kean at The Guardian:
An 11-year-old boy called Malcolm Polstead – who lives in an inn on the banks of the river Thames in Oxford – will be at the centre of the first volume of Philip Pullman’s hotly anticipated new trilogy. The Book of Dust will be a companion trilogy to his global bestselling series His Dark Materials. Details of the first instalment, La Belle Sauvage, were revealed on Friday by Pullman’s publishers Penguin Random House Children’s and David Fickling Books.
An exclusive extract from the long-awaited novel has been published on the Guardian’s website, and will be printed in Saturday’s paper. Taken from chapter 10 of the new novel, available worldwide from 19 October, the extract finds one of the central characters from His Dark Materials, Lord Asriel, attempting to persuade Malcolm to let him see his infant daughter Lyra. The latter is being sheltered from the nobleman by nuns at Godstow Priory, near Oxford, after Asriel was convicted of murder.
Fans of the original series will be pleased to find that Asriel is as commanding a presence as he was in Northern Lights, the book that launched the original trilogy in 1995. The nobleman is accompanied by the snow leopard Stelmaria, his menacing “daemon”, as the animal embodiments of humans’ inner lives are called in the books.