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The Book of Dust

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The Book of Dust - Volume 1

Philip Pullman

Publication information
  • David Fickling Books and Penguin Random House Children's (UK)
  • Random House Children’s (US) [1]
Release date

19 October 2017




The Book of Dust is an upcoming trilogy of companion books to the His Dark Materials series. Pullman describes it as an "equel' to the original series, rather than a prequel or sequel, standing beside the original books.[2]

Publication HistoryEdit

Pullman had originally said the book would probably be finished in 2015 and published the year after[3], but since announced that it was more likely for it to be published in late 2016.[4] In July 2016, he described the book as "now well on the way to a conclusion".[5] In December 2016, Pullman stated that the book would be released in the end of 2017, probably.[6] Pullman had also made an oath not to cut his hair until the completion of the book, a promise he somewhat regrets, although it may have spurred on progress.[7]

In February 2017, it was announced that the Book of Dust would be published in three volumes, two of which Pullman had completed at the time. The first two would centre on Lyra, the first set when she was a baby, ten years before the events of His Dark Materials in London and Oxford, and the second around a decade after the events of The Amber Spyglass with Lyra aged about 20. The third is thought to also take place around 10 years later.[2]

Part One, which is currently untitled, will be published 22 years after Northern Lights was first released and 17 after The Amber Spyglass, on 19th October 2017. It will feature characters from the original series, as well as new ones. There will be overlap with certain elements of His Dark Materials, notably dæmons, alethiometers and the Magisterium.[8]

Pullman had previously said that the book "might be in two volumes", one taking place before Northern Lights and one after the events of Lyra's Oxford,[9] when Lyra is around 16.[10] The "big, big book"[11] will be "about Dust"[12] and will deal with some of the theological issues raised in the other books.[11] Pullman has also revealed that, although it is "not a prequel or sequel", it will be about Lyra at another stage in her life.[13]

"Some of the themes [...] turned up in the course of His Dark Materials are going to be central" to the Book of Dust, particularly "“the necessity of the imagination. Allowing it into our lives and into the way we react to each other and think of each other.” The story will also involve "an ordinary boy who eagle-eyed readers may have spotted in Lyra’s story before" and its themes of "the struggle between a despotic and totalitarian organisation that wants to stifle speculation and enquiry, and those who believe that thought and speech should be free" are thought to be pertinent to the political climate of its release.[8]

Titles, plots, official cover artworks and further news are to be expected in the months following the February announcement[2], with the long awaited release of the Book of Dust generating interest and reaching number one in Amazon's bestseller charts very soon after it became available for pre-order.[14]


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