Over the Christmas I finally had the time to sit down and read Philip Pullman’s eagerly anticipated prequel to His Dark Materials. The original trilogy are some of my favourite books and I was both excited and trepidatious about a new addition to the canon. Luckily, any fears I had about La Belle Sauvage were quickly laid to rest.
In this, the first of a new trilogy of books, our protagonist is eleven year old Malcolm Polstead, a smart and resourceful son of tavern owners. Malcolm’s quiet life in Oxford is upended by the appearance of an infant, Lyra, a girl who is prophesied to play an important role in the struggle between the Magesterium and those who seek freedom from the Magesterium’s tyrannical oppression.
Readers of the original trilogy will be familiar with many of the characters who appear in La Belle Sauvage, not least the infant Lyra. Happily though, prior knowledge of the series is not necessary and the book works perfectly as a standalone adventure.
20 years after the release of the Northern Lights Pullman’s books still stand as scathing allegories of Church, State and the dangers of an absolutist regime. La Belle Sauvage builds on these themes and continues to expand on Pullman’s rich fictional universe. It’s a fantastic read for children and adults alike and a real pleasure for fans of the series.
You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.