Lyra Silvertongue, the heroine of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, will return as an adult in The Secret Commonwealth: The Book of Dust Volume Two, which will be released on 3rd October this year.
The second title in the Book of Dust series is set 20 years after the events of La Belle Sauvage: The Book of Dust Volume One and seven years after readers left Lyra and Will Parry on a park bench in The Amber Spyglass, the final book in the His Dark Materials trilogy.
In The Secret Commonwealth Lyra ventures across Europe and into Asia in search of an elusive town, said to be haunted by daemons. She is at odds with her own daemon, Pantalaimon, after they unwittingly witness a murder. An extract is available online.
Pullman said: “Things have been biding their time, waiting for the right moment to reveal their consequences for Lyra Silvertongue. The Secret Commonwealth tells the continuing story of the impact on Lyra’s life of the search for, and the fear of, Dust. I found it intriguing and deeply exciting to discover how great events can turn on a little moment, and how revenge can be nurtured and fed and watered till it grows beyond control.
“Life is not easy for Lyra. It was enthralling for me to remember how powerfully and passionately our minds and opinions can be turned by reading a particular book at the right time. Lyra, as a student, is finding that out. She is also discovering a new and difficult aspect to her relationship with Pantalaimon, and other things about dæmons that she never suspected.
“But those things are background. At the heart of the book are Lyra, the young woman we saw first as a girl of twelve and then as a baby, and Malcolm, whose life as a boy became involved with hers and who now finds their lives helplessly entangled again; and how some emotions can last a lifetime, and others change beyond recognition. It’s the story of some people we know, and others we’ll meet for the first time. Their journey is going to take them far from their homeland towards a mysterious desert in Central Asia, where they hope to find, at last, the secret of Dust.”
The Secret Commonwealth will be published by David Fickling Books in association with Penguin Random House UK in hardback, e-book and audiobook on 3rd October. Chris Wormell is again illustrating the cover and chapter headings.
David Fickling, publisher and editor at David Fickling Books, said: “When Philip told me the next volume of The Book of Dust was about Lyra as a student I was thrilled: not because I expected Lyra to be the same as she was (Philip does not repeat himself), but because I so wanted to meet the young woman she’s become. And now, amazingly, I have and I am not disappointed. The story is quite astonishing: without doubt, Philip is one of the most important writers on the planet.”
The main three titles in the His Dark Materials series have sold nearly 2.4 million copies through Nielsen BookScan, but that total reaches 2.035 million when gift editions, hardbacks and film-tie-ins are taken into account. La Belle Sauvage has sold 334,884 in hardback and a further 76,813 in paperback and in total Pullman has sold 6.9 million books for £48.4m.
Filming on a TV adaptation of His Dark Materials, written by Jack Thorne and directed by Tom Hooper, has now wrapped. The cast includes Ruth Wilson, James McAvoy, Anne-Marie Duff, Clarke Peters and Lin-Manuel Miranda.