Philip Pullman, the author of His Dark Materials, the (excellent) kids’ fantasy trilogy about overthrowing God and organized religion—really!—is finally releasing a follow-up: a forthcoming trilogy called The Book of Dust, Random House Children’s Books said today. The first book, whose title has not yet been announced, will be released on October 19, and is available for pre-order now. Pullman announced he had begun work on The Book of Dust more than a decade ago, so this is great news for his fans (and a valuable example of an author actually finishing a book for George R.R. Martin).
The new series will focus on Lyra Belacqua, half of the duo at the center of the original books (and New Line Cinema’s not-very-successful film of the first book, The Golden Compass). Pullman is being close-lipped with the details, but said he thought of The Book of Dust as neither a sequel nor a prequel, but an “equel.” Here’s what he had to say about the story:
What can I tell you about it? The first thing to say is that Lyra is at the center of the story. Events involving her open the first chapter, and will close the last. I’ve always wanted to tell the story of how Lyra came to be living at Jordan College, and in thinking about it I discovered a long story that began when she was a baby and will end when she’s grown up. This volume and the next will cover two parts of Lyra’s life: starting at the beginning of her story and returning to her twenty years later. As for the third and final part, my lips are sealed.
Slate’s Katy Waldman tried to get further details from Pullman in this great 2015 interview, to no avail. The engine of the plot, according to Pullman, will be a struggle over dust, a mysterious substance featured in the first series, and what Pullman describes as “the struggle between a despotic and totalitarian organization that wants to stifle speculation and inquiry, and those who believe thought and speech should be free.” In other words, it sounds like Pullman’s cooked up an extended allegory about Milo Yiannopoulis getting banned from Twitter, and frankly, we are here for it.