The epic fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman, is soon to be joined by a new Trilogy of fantasy novels called the Book of Dust. His Dark Materials was set in many differing alternate realities and comprised of Northern Lights, Subtle Knife and Amber Spyglass. The original story reflected the vision of William Blake; “his idea of a fiercely reductive way of seeing things: it’s right or wrong; it’s black or white reductionism, and the merciless reductionism, of doctrines with a single answer. This is far too limiting and that a more complex truer human vision is required when we see things, such as imagination, memories, hopes, expectations and fears.
The first book in the New Trilogy is set 10 years before Northern Lights in the same alternate universe, and centres on Lyra Belacqua, one of the protagonists of the original trilogy. Alethiometers, dæmons and the sinister totalitarian religious Magisterium also return, alongside new characters, including a new hero. The novels also feature the ongoing scientific investigation of the strange matter known as “dust”, which has some very special abilities and which the sinister Magisterium is keen to stop people finding out about for some reason. The Magisterium is also keen to stop any scientific exploration which might yield results which go against any official doctrine sanctioned by them.
The novel also answers questions concerning the genesis of a totalitarian regime like the Magisterium And answers many other important questions. The first installment of The Book of Dust will be out in October and features Lyra, the heroine of the previous books, and other familiar characters and will again include themes like reductive doctrines, totalitarian regimes, religious zealotry, censorship, scientific discoveries, which rings all too true in the current climate of polarised opinion, the rise of fascistic regimes and religious zealotry.