His Dark Materials follow-ups announced by author Philip Pullman

Author Philip Pullman pictured in Oxford, where he livesImage copyright
Associated Press

Image caption

Author Philip Pullman pictured in Oxford, where he lives

Author Philip Pullman has announced the publication of the long-awaited “equel” to best-selling series of novels His Dark Materials.

The new trilogy is called The Book of Dust and the first novel will come out in October, 17 years after the last instalment.

He says the books are an “equel”, rather than a prequel or sequel.

The His Dark Materials trilogy sold more than 17.5 million copies and was translated into 40 languages.

Mr Pullman said, “I know from their letters and tweets that my readers have been waiting patiently (mostly) for The Book of Dust for a long time.

“It gives me great pleasure and some excitement at last to satisfy their curiosity (and mine) about this book.”

The series will return to the story of Lyra Belacqua, and will begin 10 years before the first book, when the heroine is a baby.

Image copyright
AP

Image caption

Actress Dakota Blue Richards played Lyra Belacqua in the 2007 film The Golden Compass, based on the first book in the His Dark Materials series

The new trilogy will later move forward to around 20 years after last book ended.

Mr Pullman said, “At the centre of The Book Of Dust is the struggle between a despotic and totalitarian organisation, which wants to stifle speculation and inquiry, and those who believe thought and speech should be free.”

The author is not giving away any plot details, but he has dropped some hints about what the new books could contain, including saying that “an ordinary boy” featured in an early part of the story would return as a key character.

Mr Pullman’s last His Dark Materials book was published in October 2000, and the first volume of the new series will come out on Thursday 19 October.

The original trilogy – Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass – is currently being adapted by the BBC.

There was also a 2004 National Theatre adaptation and a 2007 film, The Golden Compass, which was adapted from first book Northern Lights, and starred Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig.

The first book was retitled The Golden Compass in North America.

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