La Belle Sauvage

by Philip Pullman

Lyra, the heroine of Pullman’s “His Dark Materials” series, is... read more

Lyra, the heroine of Pullman’s “His Dark Materials” series, is a mere baby in this prequel to the epic fantasy trilogy. Eleven-year-old Malcolm, living near Oxford in his family’s tavern, encounters infant Lyra when she is taken in for care by the nuns of a nearby priory. At first intrigued by the little girl, Malcolm’s initial interest deepens into a strong desire to protect her from threats, including the Consistorial Court of Discipline (CCD) agents and sinister Gerard Bonneville and his hyena daemon. Enlisted to help the secret Oakley Street resistance group by Oxford researcher Hannah Relf, Malcolm is drawn into the world of alethiometers, Lord Asriel, witch clans, and intrigue. A devastating storm leads to a harrowing trip by canoe through the flooded countryside and streets of Oxford as Malcolm and Alice, a teenager who works in the tavern, try to deliver Lyra to safety while being pursued by both Bonneville and the CCD. Pullman introduces compelling new characters into his complex world, and raises probing questions of good and evil within a suspenseful plot. While it works as a stand-alone, this novel will be best appreciated by those who have already been indoctrinated into the world of daemons and Dust. (Ages 10-14)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2018

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