It is seven years since readers left Lyra and the love of her young life, Will Parry, on a park bench in Oxford's Botanic Gardens at the end of the ground-breaking, bestselling His Dark Materials sequence.
Now, in The Secret Commonwealth, we meet Lyra Silvertongue. And she is no longer a child . . .
The Secret Commonwealth is the second novel in The Book of Dust trilogy and was released on 3 October, 2019. It was set twenty years after the events of La Belle Sauvage, and roughly ten years after the events of the His Dark Materials trilogy. It features Lyra Silvertongue as a twenty-year-old undergraduate, travelling to Central Asia via the Levant. Lyra investigates a murder case with Malcolm Polstead. In search of a town haunted by dæmons and the mystery behind Dust, Lyra faces adult concerns and new complexities in her relationship with Pantalaimon. She also escapes Oxford for the third time by boat, the Maid of Portugal, accompanied by the old gyptian Giorgio Brabandt into the safety of the Fens.
Following an auction to raise money for the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire, Pullman confirmed that he would name a character in The Secret Commonwealth after Nur Huda El-Wahab, a victim of the fire. Pullman had already written the book before the auction took place, so he went back and added Nur Hada el-Wahabi as a character who will make an appearance in this book but will play a bigger role in the third book.
Plot summary[edit | edit source]
The book is seen from several different viewpoints: Lyra, Malcolm, Pan and the Magisterium. The book follows several events in different locations (including Constantinople, Prague, Smyrna and Wittenberg) as well as organisations (the Magisterium, La Maison Juste and the brotherhood of the holy purpose) and several other minor characters (Simon Talbot and Gottfried Brande).
Excerpt[edit | edit source]
She nodded. "Well, you know, things change… This isn't just shoplifting. This is murder."
"I know. I saw it."
"And maybe by doing this we'd be helping the murderer get away with it. By interfering with the investigation. That can't be right."
"That's another thing," he said.
"You used to be optimistic. You used to think that whatever we did would turn out well. Even after we came back from the north, you used to think that. Now you're cautious, you're anxious… You're pessimistic."
She knew he was right, but it wasn't right that he should speak to her accusingly, as if it was something to blame her for.
"I used to be young," was all she could find to say.
He made no response.
They didn't speak again till they reached the station. Then she said: "Pan, come here," and he leapt up at once into her hands. She put him on her shoulder and said quietly, "You're going to have to look out behind. Someone might be watching."
Gallery[edit | edit source]
[edit | edit source]
- The Secret Commonwealth of Elves, Fauns & Fairies: A Study in Folk-lore, by Robert Kirk, from which the book's title is taken
- Extract in The Guardian
- Extract in the Waterstones' blog
- The Secret Commonwealth read by Simon Russel Beale for Radio 4
References[edit | edit source]
- The Observer, Philip Pullman: 'My dæmon is a raven, a bird that steals things'
- Waterstones, The Secret Commonwealth: The Book of Dust Volume Two
- The Guardian, Philip Pullman launches La Belle Sauvage and says sequel is finished
- The New York Times, Philip Pullman Returns to His Fantasy World
- The Guardian, New Philip Pullman novel The Secret Commonwealth due in October
- The Bookseller, Pullman to launch Book of Dust sequel with live podcast as cover revealed
- BBC News, Grenfell Tower victim's name wins Philip Pullman auction
- How I Found My Voice (39:29-40:25)
- The Bookseller
- iNews, Philip Pullman New Book of Dust The Secret Commonwealth
- "Philip Pullman Returns to his Fantasy World," by Sophie Elmhirst