Philip Pullman has announced a new trilogy of books that will serve as a rough sequel to his beloved ’90s fantasy young-adult series His Dark Materials, which is comprised of The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass. The first volume of the UK writer’s new trilogy, entitled The Book of Dust, is slated to be released on October 19.
The first two books of the new series will star the protagonist of His Dark Materials, Lyra Belacqua, and other characters from the trilogy. As Pullman told the BBC in a radio interview, The Book of Dust will focus on Lyra as both a baby, and on events 10 years after the events of His Dark Materials. The title, indeed, refers to Dust–the mysterious, all-powerful, coveted substance around which the conflict of Pullman’s previous series was centered. (Pullman: “Dust is an analogy of consciousness, and consciousness is this extraordinary property we have as human beings.”)
In a statement, Pullman explained the central conflict of the new trilogy: “At the center of The Book of Dust is the struggle between a despotic and totalitarian organization, which wants to stifle speculation and inquiry, and those who believe thought and speech should be free.”
“In thinking about it, I discovered a long story that began when she was a baby and will end when she’s grown up,” Pullman also told the BBC. “It doesn’t stand before or after His Dark Materials, but beside it. It’s a different story, but there are settings that readers of His Dark Materials will recognize and characters they’ve met before.”
Watch Pullman talk about the books below.