La Belle Sauvage

La Belle Sauvage was written by Phillip Pullman and first published in 2017. It forms the first part of a planned trilogy titled The Book of Dust, but at the time of writing the release date for the next instalment has not been announced. The series serves as a companion to Pullman’s massively successful His Dark Materials series, though this instalment is set ten years prior to the events of Northern Lights.

Eleven-year-old Malcolm Polstead dreams of being a scholar, but has settled on the fact that he is likely to become an innkeeper like his father. Still, he is fairly content with his life. Not only does he help out his family in his free time, but he also uses his canoe – La Belle Sauvage – to run errands for the nuns who live on the opposite side of the river.

One day, he discovers that the nuns have been charged with caring for the baby. Lyra Belacqua was born as the result of a scandalous relationship between two esteemed figures, however Malcolm soon learns that there is another reason why the girl must be protected. The Magisterium are unnaturally interested in her and will stop at nothing to snatch her away.

It’s not long before Malcolm and his dæmon, Asta, meet Hannah Relf – an alethiometrist – and through her becomes involved with a secret organisation called Oakley Street. Although Relf is reluctant to involve such a young boy, Malcolm proves to be adept at finding information about the goings on close to his home that no one else can. However, the Magisterium are dangerous and powerful. Soon, Malcolm finds that he is the only one who can protect Lyra from both the Church’s agents and a terrifying stranger with a monstrous dæmon…

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