Brow Beat

Watch Philip Pullman Introduce the First Excerpt From The Book of Dust

Slate is proud to be the exclusive U.S. home of the first excerpt from Philip Pullman’s companion trilogy to His Dark Materials, The Book of Dust. Watch Pullman discuss the trilogy’s origins, the characters we’ll meet along the way, and why he thinks readers find Lyra Belacqua, who’s “not a special child,” so compelling.

Read the excerpt, which introduces The Book of Dust’s young hero, 11-year-old Malcolm Polstead, and gives readers a glimpse of Lyra long before the events of His Dark Materials.

In an accompanying publisher’s press release, Pullman says, “Who or what is La Belle Sauvage? She is a boat, a canoe to be precise, and her owner is a boy, Malcolm Polstead, the hero of this story whom we have seen in an earlier part of Lyra’s story (if we were paying attention. He only had a walk-on part there). The canoe is important in this part of The Book of Dust, because some of the story is set during a massive flood.”

Starting June 6, Pullman’s publishers are sponsoring a Golden Compass Worldwide Read-Along on Facebook. Learn more on Pullman’s official Facebook page.