Penguin Random House has revealed the US and UK covers for The Book of Dust, the first volume in Philip Pullman’s new trilogy La Belle Sauvage. The Book of Dust will take place ten years before the events of the His Dark Materials series; the second and third installments will pick up 20 years after the end of The Amber Spyglass.
As Pullman himself teased before, The Book of Dust‘s “new hero” is “an ordinary boy (a boy we have seen in an earlier part of Lyra’s story, if we were paying attention) who, with Lyra, is caught up in a terrifying adventure that takes him into a new world.” The official synopsis offers some more information and contextualizes the covers:
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…
Feast your eyes on the US and UK covers, both illustrated by Chris Wormell. (Click to enlarge.) You can see his linocut work in the US cover (via Entertainment Weekly) below:
The UK cover features a closer look at Malcolm’s canoe, as well as two dæmons (could that be Lyra’s Pantalaimon?):
In the original press release, Pullman said that “at the centre of The Book of Dust is the struggle between a despotic and totalitarian organisation, which wants to stifle speculation and enquiry, and those who believe thought and speech should be free.” EW asked him more about what themes will imbue the book:
The original trilogy touches upon science, philosophy, and religion. How are you approaching these themes in your new work, considering all the changes that have taken place in the world?
My guide in these matters has always been the English poet and painter William Blake. He was very much opposed to what he called “single vision,” by which he meant the cast of mind that embraces fundamentalism of any kind: a narrow, literal-minded, ferociously mechanistic viewpoint. I’m writing a defense and a celebration of the immense variety of the imagination, which I think is a truer way of understanding our life and the universe we live in.
The Book of Dust will be available in the US and UK on October 19.