British author Philip Pullman is seen during a photo call for his new book 'La Belle Sauvage: The Book of Dust Volume One' at the Bodleian Libraries, in Oxford, southern England, on October 18, 2017. (AFP/Daniel Leal-Olivas)
The English novelist will revisit his bestselling "His Dark Materials" trilogy with a new family-friendly novella, which will arrive in bookstores on Oct. 15 via Penguin Random House.
Pullman wrote the never-before-seen "Serpentine" in 2004 for a charity auction, at the request of the National Theatre's then-director, Nicholas Hytner, during the award-winning stage production of "His Dark Materials."
The English author never intended to publish the manuscript, which is set after the end of the trilogy "His Dark Materials," but before the start of his most recent book and second installment of his "The Book of Dust" trilogy, "The Secret Commonwealth."
"Serpentine" follows a teenage Lyra Silvertongue and her daemon Pantalaimon as they return to Trollesund, the port town where she first met Iorek and Lee during the events of "The Golden Compass" (also published as "Northern Lights" in the UK).
✨ Can you believe @philippullman's Northern Lights came out 25 years ago? To celebrate, we're revealing Serpentine - a previously unseen story that links #HISDARKMATERIALS and #BOOKOFDUST - written 16 years ago. Autumn just got more exciting #HISDARKMATERIALS25 ✨📚 ✨ There's more. National treasure Olivia Colman will be narrating the audiobook. And also this autumn @PenguinUKBooks and @DFB_storyhouse publish The Secret Commonwealth & Dæmon Voices in paperback, both with exclusive new content; @scholasticuk will release a hardback gift edition, Northern Lights: The Illustrated Edition. 📚 📺 @darkmaterialsofficial Season Two is confirmed for later this year. Watch this space for cast announcements... ✨ Reading Northern Lights changed our worlds forever. Tell us what impact did the book have on you? 📚 #NORTHERLIGHTS25 #HISDARKMATERIALS25 #PHILIPPULLMAN #BOOKREVEAL #COVERREVEAL
Although details about the novella are still scarce, Penguin Random House has revealed that Lyra and Pan will embark on a journey "in search of an answer to a shocking, secret condition -- their ability to separate -- from the witch-consul, Dr. Lanselius."
"Why are we publishing this story now? Because with the development of 'The Book of Dust,' especially after the events described in 'The Secret Commonwealth,' we can see a change in the way Lyra understands herself, and her relationship with Pantalaimon, which is prefigured in this little Arctic episode," Pullman said of "Serpentine" in a statement.
"When I wrote 'Serpentine,' I had no idea that I was going on to write another trilogy, showing Lyra as an adult, but she and her world wouldn't leave me alone. When it comes to human affairs, a billion invisible filaments connect us to our own pasts, as well as to the most remote things we can imagine; and I hope that, above all, these books are about being alive and being human," he added.
While Penguin House Random will publish "Serpentine" on Oct. 15, Listening Library will simultaneously release the audio adaptation of the family-friendly novella, which will notably be narrated by Academy Award-winning actress and "The Crown" star Olivia Colman.
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