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Philip Pullman, 'La Belle Sauvage: The Book of Dust Volume One' (UK cover). — AFP picPhilip Pullman, 'La Belle Sauvage: The Book of Dust Volume One' (UK cover). — AFP picLONDON, June 30 — Anticipation is high for Philip Pullman's upcoming three-part series The Book of Dust, and yesterday his publisher revealed cover art as well as some key details about the first book.

In The Book of Dust, Pullman is bringing back the world of his beloved trilogy His Dark Materials. The first volume in the new series, La Belle Sauvage, is set 10 years before Northern Lights, the first His Dark Materials instalment. The rest of the story featured in the new trilogy will be set 20 years after that, according to publisher Penguin.

Pullman refers to the new trilogy not as a prequel or a sequel but rather an “equal,” standing beside the previous books.

The newly revealed UK cover for La Belle Sauvage was illustrated by Chris Wormell, who specialises in linocuts and wood engraving, and reveals a boat — its name the same as the book's title — adrift on stormy seas with two souls on board.

Lovers of His Dark Materials will be interested to know that the first volume centres on the character of Lyra Belacqua and will likewise feature “alethiometers, daemons, the Magisterium and more.” Lyra will be joined by an ordinary boy who finds himself “caught up in a terrifying adventure that takes him into a new world.”

Further plot details are to follow, but for now the publisher reveals that the tale centres on a struggle between a totalitarian organisation and those who believe in free thought and speech.

La Belle Sauvage is set to release on Octobr 19 — 22 years after Northern Lights was published. — AFP-Relaxnews

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