The Book of Dust

What happened after the end of The Amber Spyglass? Sadly, Philip Pullman has said there will be no direct sequels now that the trilogy is over; Lyra and Will's story is over. However, hope remains:

Philip Pullman is working on a sort of companion novel to His Dark Materials, entitled The Book of Dust. This will contain various short stories about many of the characters in the series, such as Serafina Pekkala, Lord Asriel, and Mrs Coulter. There may also be information about Dust, the Alethiometer, the Subtle Knife, and daemons - all the things we wondered about, but which didn't make it into the books themselves.

Despite his planned intentions, Pullman did indeed find himself writing about Lyra again. This short story, Lyra and the Birds, developed into the publication of Lyra's Oxford, a unique book containing the short story itself and several 'materials' from Lyra's world. Pullman has stated that he took this story out to prevent it overwhelming the other short stories in The Book of Dust. However, it appears from quotes and interviews that Pullman is merely using Lyra's Oxford as a bridge to a larger story with her in the Book of Dust. The details of that story have not been mentioned, but the events of Lyra's Oxford supposedly set the scene, and introduce us to necessary characters in the new story. It seems Pullman cannot let Lyra go just yet.

Similarly, Pullman published Once Upon A Time In The North, another short companion book about Lee Scoresby and Iorek's first meeting.

Release Date

Unfortunately, since the publication of Lyra's Oxford and Once Upon a Time in the North, there has not been much talk of The Book of Dust from Pullman. He has referred several times now to be "just starting" the book, each repetition of this several months down the line. This does not bode well for an early release.

In an interview with The Oxford Mail at the release of the Golden Compass film in 2007, Pullman mentioned that the book might be published in 2009. This was not to be, however, and in a 2009 interview with the Oxford student magazine Cherwell, Pullman was more vague about potential release dates:

'The appropriate adverb would be "eventually". It's growing, but I'm encountering complexities that seem to be making it longer than I thought it would be.'

He is certainly still working on The Book of Dust. In a speech given in early 2011 in defence of public libraries, he mentioned using public libraries in order to research 'where all the rivers and streams ran in Oxford, for a book I'm writing called The Book of Dust'.

But it seems that the project has encountered some problems of structure and scope, which may explain why it is taking so long. In February, 2011, Pullman revealed to BridgeToTheStars that he was thinking of publishing The Book of Dust in two volumes.

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