His Dark Materials
His Dark Materials

The Book of Dust is a trilogy of companion books to the His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman. He describes it as an 'equel' to the original series, rather than a prequel or sequel, standing beside the original books.[2] Pullman has quipped that the 'darker' tone of the books could also name them "His Darker Materials".[3]


  1. La Belle Sauvage
  2. The Secret Commonwealth
  3. An unnamed third volume

Publication history[]

Pullman had originally said the book would probably be finished in 2015 and published the year after,[4] but since announced that it was more likely for it to be published in late 2016.[5] In July 2016, he described the book as 'now well on the way to a conclusion'.[6] In December 2016, Pullman stated that the book would be released in the end of 2017, probably.[7] Pullman had also made an oath not to cut his hair until the completion of the book, a promise he somewhat regrets, although it may have spurred on progress.[8] He later joked that, after cutting off his ponytail, he would donate the hair to the Bodleian Library.[9]

In February 2017, it was announced that The Book of Dust would be published in three volumes, two of which Pullman had completed at the time. The first two would centre on Lyra, the first set when she was a baby, ten years before the events of His Dark Materials in London and Oxford, and the second around a decade after the events of The Amber Spyglass with Lyra aged about 20. The third is thought to also take place around 10 years later.[2]

Pullman had previously said that the book "might be in two volumes", one taking place before Northern Lights and one after the events of Lyra's Oxford,[10] when Lyra is around 16.[11] The 'big, big book'[12] will be 'about Dust'[13] and will deal with some of the theological issues raised in the other books.[12] Pullman had also revealed that, although it is 'not a prequel or sequel', it will be about Lyra at another stage in her life.[14]

La Belle Sauvage was released in October 2017 and was later named Waterstones Book of the Year.[15]

After an auction to raise money for the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire, it was confirmed that Pullman would name a character in The Secret Commonwealth after Nur Huda El-Wahab, a victim of the fire.[16] This second volume was published on 3 October 2019.[17]

Between the publications of the second and third novels, a short novella (written in 2004) will be released called Serpentine, it will take place between The Amber Spyglass and The Secret Commonwealth.[18]

The Book of Dust Volume Three is currently unnamed. The books name will have something to do with roses. Possible names for the books have been The Garden of Roses or Roses from the South.[19]



An abridged version of La Belle Sauvage was read by Simon Russell Beale for Radio 4's Drama on 21 October and lasted 2 hours 30 minutes at 2:30.[20] It was later aired for Books at Bedtime in 10 episodes of fifteen minutes at 22:45 every night from 23 October to 3 November 2017.[21][22] Two omnibus episodes were aired in 2017 and later in mid-December 2019 on Radio 4 Extra.[23]

Simor Russell Beale returned to read an abridged version of The Secret Commonwealth for Radio 4 with 10 episodes of 14 minutes airing everyday from 23 December to 3 January 2020 at 12:04 and later at 22:45.[24] Two omnibus episoes were aired in late December and early January on Radio 4 Extra.[25]


Main article: La Belle Sauvage (play)

La Belle Sauvage will be adapted on stage in the Summer and Autumn of 2020 at the Bridge Theatre in London.


Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials
Main Trilogy Northern LightsThe Subtle KnifeThe Amber Spyglass
The Book of Dust La Belle SauvageThe Secret CommonwealthThe Book of Dust Volume Three
Companion Books Lyra's OxfordOnce Upon a Time in the NorthSerpentineThe CollectorsThe Imagination ChamberGreen Book