Philip Pullman will release a His Dark Materials novella in October

A never before seen story from His Dark Materials series will be published this autumn. The story, written by series creator Philip Pullman, was created over a decade ago and was never intended to be published.

Serpentine follows the adventures of Lyra Silvertongue as she returns to Trollesund, the remote town where she first met the iconic armoured Bear Iorek Brynison and aeronaut Lee Scoresby back in Northern Lights, the first book in the trilogy.

Serpentine is a novella set after the end of the trilogy His Dark Materials but before the events of his recent book, The Secret Commonwealth.

In this new tale we will see Lyra and her daemon Pantalaimon “older and a little wiser, and in search of an answer to a shocking, secret condition – their ability to separate – from the witch-consul, Dr Lanselius”, revealed the publisher, Penguin Random House Children’s.

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The story was originally written by Pullman for a charity auction back in 2004 at the request of the National Theatre when the company was in the middle of a production of His Dark Materials. The manuscript was acquired for a “substantial sum” and all proceeds went to charity.

“Why are we publishing this story now?” said Pullman. “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.

“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.”

The publisher has said that the story is “tender”, “revelatory” and “foreshadows Lyra’s future struggles as a young woman”. The actor Olivia Colman has been brought on board to narrate the audio-book edition and the artist Tom Duxbury is tasked with the illustrations.

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