The first installment, called The Book of Dust, will be released this October, and will be the first of a new trilogy. The new series is set on a different timeline; Lyra, the hero of the originals, is only a baby when The Book of Dust opens.
His Dark Materials is a grand fantasy, set across a multiverse of worlds, from modern Britain to imaginative wonderlands of talking bears and terrifying lands of darkness and punishing evil. It’s terrific fun.
Book one, The Golden Compass was turned into a film starring Daniel Craig and Nicole Kidman. It was a failure–despite being better than you remember–and the final two books in the series did not make their way to the screen. Even so, Pullman’s trilogy was massively successful, selling 18 million copies.
His Dark Materials explores theology, science, and the darker aspects of religion. The series offers fantasy without the Christian allegory or Church-promotion of other celebrated children’s fantasy series. Its worldview, which is anti-church, pro-atheism through and through, created controversy among some readers (or more accurately, perhaps, among some readers’ parents) and among Conservative groups in Britain and the US, who saw the books, well, in exactly the same way Pullman did when he said, “My books are about killing god.”
Not hard to imagine the controversy. But all great fantasy creates controversy. Pullman dove in to that mix and created a wild world worth the effort for readers. I’m excited for the chance to return to Pullman’s world.