This is a book I have been looking forward to reading for a while now. I decided it was going to be my New Years Eve read. Phillip Pullman’s “The Book of Dust” volume #1 La Belle Sauvage, published by Penguin Random House and David Fickling Books. It is avaialble in a variety of formats,
- Hardcover: 560 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Random House Children’s and David Fickling Books; 01 edition (19 Oct. 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0385604416
- ISBN-13: 978-0385604413
Eleven-year-old Malcolm Polstead and his dæmon, 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 . . .
It was an absolute delight to be going back to Pullman’s version of Oxford, to a time before His Dark Materials trilogy. This book begins when Lyra and her daemon Pan are babies and how Malcolm and his daemon Astra meet Lyra and Pan for the first time.
Beginning in Oxford; we meet Malcolm and Astra, he is the son of The Trout Inn owners. He helps out there and also at the nearby priory of Godstow doing odd jobs and chores for the nuns. It is also when the authorities start to show themselves. There are several secret organisations that have their own motives and Malcolm is soon caught up in the middle of them. A surprising the change in the weather leads to some dangerous and surprising twists that will take us on a journey down the Thames.
This is a book that I was eager to read and I wasn’t disappointed. It was one of those books I knew I was going to love even before I started it. It starts slowly as the story is set and the various backstories and introductions to the characters are made, then it gradually speeds up as the plot is unravelled and unveiled. The characters are a real mixed bag of the good, bad and ugly, new characters mingled in with some old ones and the villains are indeed villainous. Pullman has retained the air of mystery around the intentions of characters, you never know who is to be truly trusted and I love this aspect. The plot has, as you would expect, been very well-developed and has a good amount of twists that I am sure will continue into the next book and beyond.
So did this book live up to my prior expectations? Hell yes and then some, it is Phillip Pullman, it is part of Lyra’s story so what is not to love. Now comes the agonising wait for the next book 😦
If you have read His Dark Materials you will love this book. It is a highly recommended read from me xx
I have a hardback copy of this book, I always take off the dust jacket when I read one so I don’t damage it. Look was hidden underneath it
About the Author:
Philip Pullman was born in Norwich on 19th October 1946. The early part of his life was spent travelling all over the world, because his father and then his stepfather were both in the Royal Air Force. He spent part of his childhood in Australia, where he first met the wonders of comics, and grew to love Superman and Batman in particular. From the age of 11, he lived in North Wales, having moved back to Britain. It was a time when children were allowed to roam anywhere, to play in the streets, to wander over the hills, and he took full advantage of it. His English teacher, Miss Enid Jones, was a big influence on him, and he still sends her copies of his books.
After he left school he went to Exeter College, Oxford, to read English. He did a number of odd jobs for a while, and then moved back to Oxford to become a teacher. He taught at various middle schools for twelve years, and then moved to Westminster College, Oxford, to be a part-time lecturer. He taught courses on the Victorian novel and on the folk tale, and also a course examining how words and pictures fit together. He eventually left teaching in order to write full-time.
His first published novel was for adults, but he began writing for children when he was a teacher. Some of his novels were based on plays he wrote for his school pupils, such as The Ruby In The Smoke. He is best known for the award winning His Dark Materials series, consisting of Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass.
Many thanks for reading my post. If you liked it please give it a share, also go and buy yourself a copy of this fabulous book 🙂 xx