Philip Pullman has revealed the storm-swept cover of La Belle Sauvage: The Book of Dust Volume One.
The image, shared today (29th June), was created by British artist and illustrator Chris Wormell and shows his “trademark woodcut style” featuring a stormy image and a flood with a canoe at the centre, owned by the series hero, 11-year-old Malcolm Poldstead. The image of the first instalment in the companion series to the His Dark Materials trilogy also features another character, whose identity has not yet been revealed, and two dæmons resembling a leopard and a stoat.
The details come a day after Pullman confirmed he would name a character in the Book of Dust series Nur Huda el-Wahabi, after a young Grenfell Tower victim. The Authors for Grenfell auction site closed on Tuesday night (27th June) after bids for Pullman to name a character had soared to £32,400 after almost 500 contributions - the fundraiser collected more than £150,000 altogether.
Pullman revealed that he had long been a fan of Wormell’s work and that he was “thrilled” with the result. He said: “I’ve admired Chris Wormell’s artwork for a long time, and when the chance of having him illustrate the covers of my new novel came along I leapt at it. I relish his sure strong line and the graphic power of his images, in whatever medium he’s working. It’s been a delight to see the work emerge and I’m thrilled with the result.”
Wormell, who previously created the cover for Helen MacDonald's H is for Hawk (Jonathan Cape), said it had been a "wonderful" experience to work with with the author. He said: “Twenty years ago, my 12-year-old son recommended a book he’d just finished reading. It was called Northern Lights. I loved it. My whole family loved it, and the two further volumes of the trilogy that followed. One of the first things my younger daughter – then eight – saw on the stage was the National Theatre’s production of 'His Dark Materials'."
He added: “It’s been wonderful to work with an author my family has enjoyed so much.Indeed, my older daughter commented, ‘Wow, Dad. Isn’t that one of the coolest jobs you’ve ever done?’”
Pullman revealed last month that the title of the first book would be La Belle Sauvage and would feature new hero 11-year-old Malcolm Polstead and his daemon Asta. Malcolm lives by the river Thames at the Trout Inn near Oxford and La Belle Sauvage (meaning "Wild Beauty" or "Beautiful Savage") is the name of his canoe - which itself has been named after another famous inn.
The new series was announced in February, 22 years after the first in the Dark Materials trilogy was first published.
La Belle Sauvage: The Book of Dust Volume One will be published simultaneously on 19th October 2017 by David Fickling Books in association with Penguin Random House Children’s in the UK, and Random House Children’s Books in the US.