Here is your first look at the follow up books to Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials
A few months back we reported that Philip Pullman had announced The Book Of Dust, a follow-up trilogy to his much-loved His Dark Materials books from the mid to late 1990s.
This week we've been given some more information on the beginning of this new trilogy, which Pullman refers to as an "Equel", which we're guessing means it is neither a prequel nor a sequel, but something running parallel to the original story.
The first book of the new trilogy will be titled La Belle Sauvage, which is the name of a canoe owned by Malcolm Polstead.
He's the 11-year-old born more than a decade before His Dark Materials protagonist Lyra Belacqua, and the semi-protagonist of The Book Of Dust, which Pullman says will still very much focus on Lyra, but has yet to reveal how, exactly.
Polstead lives in The Trout Inn, an Oxford pub situated by the river Thames and his dæmon, the shape-shifting animal companions which accompany humans everywhere, is named Asta.
In the first extract from the first novel, taken from Chapter Ten in the story, can be read in full here, sees Polstead cross paths with Lord Asriel, who you'll remember as being Lyra's shady "uncle" from the original trilogy.
According to a press release, Pullman states that Polstead will feature more heavily in later volumes of The Book of Dust.
Also, Polstead is not a new character in Pullman's Oxford, but "had a walk-on part" in another novel. "I’m not saying which", he said, "and in any case you have to look carefully."
He also revealed that The Book Of Dust will take place in the aftermath of a massive flood, with another questionable female of power - Marisa Coulter in the original, Dr Relf this time around - at the centre of the intrigue.
All will be revealed with is La Belle Sauvage is released on 19 October.