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La Belle Sauvage: The Book of Dust Volume…
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La Belle Sauvage: The Book of Dust Volume One (Book of Dust Series) (original 2017; edition 2017)

by Philip Pullman (Author)

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1,546537,151 (4.13)89
Member:paulmorriss
Title:La Belle Sauvage: The Book of Dust Volume One (Book of Dust Series)
Authors:Philip Pullman (Author)
Info:RHCP Digital (2017), Edition: 01, 546 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:****
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The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman (2017)

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» See also 89 mentions

English (52)  Dutch (1)  All languages (53)
Showing 1-5 of 52 (next | show all)
I waited too long. Faaaar tooo long. On top of the incredible length of time since the original trilogy carried me away when I was kid, this is a magnificent return to the world of 'The Golden Compass'. I wasn't sure how a prequel so many years later would even work, but there was so much going on in 'La Belle Sauvage' and none of it felt like a retread. It was so much fun to read about daemons again.

Malcolm Polstead and his daemon Asta live with their parents in a small enclave north of Oxford. He helps his parents in their tavern and does odd jobs for the nuns across the river. He spends as much time as he can piloting his boat up and down the river. It is ten years before Lyra Belacqua overhears her father talking about Dust. Times are changing, however, the Church is growing in power, entering into private lives and the schools, and even Malcolm can see something is wrong.

'La Belle Sauvage' goes into darker territory than 'The Golden Compass', and that's saying something. Malcolm and his friends must risk their lives to protect an innocent with a great destiny. It was wonderful and I can't wait to read what happens in the next book which takes place ten years after 'The Amber Spyglass'.

Book of Dust

Next: 'The Secret Commonwealth' ( )
  ManWithAnAgenda | Feb 19, 2019 |
Loved it, couldn't put it down. If you loved the Golden Compass trilogy, you will love this first book in Pullmans new trilogy. I don't know when I've ever admired a lead character, Malcolm, more. He is everything a hero should be. I can't wait for the second book. ( )
  LydiaGranda | Feb 15, 2019 |
I’m a great Philip Pullman fan so when word of his new series ‘The Book of Dust’ was first announced, I was excited. ‘La Belle Sauvage’ is volume one in the series and tells the story of eleven-year old Malcolm who lives beside the River Thames at The Trout pub at Godstow, near Oxford. One day, a baby arrives at the priory on the other side of the river. Called Lyra, mystery surrounds the child, her parentage, and why she is cared for by the nuns.
This of course is Lyra Belacqua, so familiar and beloved of Pullman’s ‘His Dark Materials’ trilogy. ‘La Belle Sauvage’ is the story of Malcolm’s fascination with the baby Lyra, his relationship with scholar Hannah Relf and his suspicions about a mysterious stranger who visits The Trout. Everyone dislikes this man, despite his ready smiles and chat, because of his daemon, a three-legged hyena. Common with the first book of every series, there is a certain amount of scene setting, the laying-down of foundations for the forthcoming books. Pullman takes time and care to develop the character of Malcolm, the love he has for his canoe La Belle Sauvage, his relationships with his parents, the nuns, and Alice who works in the kitchen. Every reader of ‘His Dark Materials’ knows the story of the fight between Lyra’s parents and how she was hidden in a cupboard with a gyptian boatwoman. ‘La Belle Sauvage’ starts after this, when Lyra is placed in the nunnery for her safety. Lurking threat is there on every page – a light mist at first, developing into a heavy presence which will not go away – as Pullman constructs a world in which research into Dust is in its early stages; a resistance group, Oakley Street, is formed to fight The Magisterium; and the League of St Alexander radicalises schoolchildren to inform on unbelievers.
I became very fond of Malcolm. Pullman has a way of writing child characters who stand at the edge of things; they are not the most popular, the high achievers or the butterflies; but they have potential, as all children do. Pullman creates thoughtful character arcs for his child characters so we see them change and grow, facing difficulties, making mistakes, learning and maturing. In Malcolm, more than with Lyra and Will in ‘His Dark Materials’, I was conscious of Pullman’s background as a teacher. I was cheering for Malcolm, for his ingenuity, his bravery, his kind heart, his sense of fairness and justice.
If you are a novelist and haven’t read Pullman because he ‘writes for children’, you are missing out. He creates characters you care about, he expertly drip-feeds mysterious information and lays a factual base which seems irrelevant at first reading but will be revealed as essential at moments of crisis, he manages the ebbs and flows of tension, and creates a mystical world that is believable. Every fact included has a significance. He is a writer of tremendous detail, patience and care.
Just read him.
Read more of my book reviews at http://www.sandradanby.com/book-reviews-a-z/ ( )
  Sandradan1 | Jan 31, 2019 |
It's been a long time coming. The Book of Dust was promised more than fifteen years ago and its seeds can be found germinating in that curiously engaging not-exactly-a-book Lyra's Oxford from (can this really be true?) 2004 – you were paying attention to all those map catalogues, book lists and other paraphernalia, weren't you? Dr Polstead, who has a cameo in the short story Lyra and the Birds, turns up in this prequel as the 11-year-old hero Malcolm Polstead, a resourceful but otherwise unassuming outsider who works in his parents' pub The Trout at Godstow, and more surprisingly the author of one of the erudite tomes available from the book catalogue (apart, that is, from Mrs Marisa Coulter) features as the Big Bad.

So, this is the story of the baby Lyra Belaqua, of how she came to be placed for safety with nuns (there's a narrative discontinuity here: in Northern Lights the nuns were at Watlington but here they're at Godstow) and how she was subsequently placed in the care of Jordan College. And what a story, superlatively told as you would expect from this author. A story in two halves: the first a grittily realist political thriller set in a brutal theocracy; the second a surreal journey by canoe that's part Huckleberry Finn, part Through the Looking Glass, with a good dash of Borges thrown in for good measure.

The style is, surprisingly to me pitched at the younger end of the 'Young Adult' market. Surprisingly because the young fans of the original His Dark Materials are grown-up and heading towards middle age now. But if this is the gateway for a new generation of readers to that wonderful series, then so much the better. Some of the language is pretty fruity for a YA book, although this will upset some parents a lot more than YA readers I'm sure.

I look forward very much to the next installment of The Book of Dust, The Secret Commonwealth, where we shall no doubt discover what's behind the biggest mystery of Lyra's Oxford: the missing day between Famagusta and Latakia.
( )
  enitharmon | Jan 14, 2019 |
It's been a long time coming. The Book of Dust was promised more than fifteen years ago and its seeds can be found germinating in that curiously engaging not-exactly-a-book Lyra's Oxford from (can this really be true?) 2004 – you were paying attention to all those map catalogues, book lists and other paraphernalia, weren't you? Dr Polstead, who has a cameo in the short story Lyra and the Birds, turns up in this prequel as the 11-year-old hero Malcolm Polstead, a resourceful but otherwise unassuming outsider who works in his parents' pub The Trout at Godstow, and more surprisingly the author of one of the erudite tomes available from the book catalogue (apart, that is, from Mrs Marisa Coulter) features as the Big Bad.

So, this is the story of the baby Lyra Belaqua, of how she came to be placed for safety with nuns (there's a narrative discontinuity here: in Northern Lights the nuns were at Watlington but here they're at Godstow) and how she was subsequently placed in the care of Jordan College. And what a story, superlatively told as you would expect from this author. A story in two halves: the first a grittily realist political thriller set in a brutal theocracy; the second a surreal journey by canoe that's part Huckleberry Finn, part Through the Looking Glass, with a good dash of Borges thrown in for good measure.

The style is, surprisingly to me pitched at the younger end of the 'Young Adult' market. Surprisingly because the young fans of the original His Dark Materials are grown-up and heading towards middle age now. But if this is the gateway for a new generation of readers to that wonderful series, then so much the better. Some of the language is pretty fruity for a YA book, although this will upset some parents a lot more than YA readers I'm sure.

I look forward very much to the next installment of The Book of Dust, The Secret Commonwealth, where we shall no doubt discover what's behind the biggest mystery of Lyra's Oxford: the missing day between Famagusta and Latakia.
( )
  enitharmon | Jan 14, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 52 (next | show all)
I recognize that my expectations are impossibly high and that, in literature as well as in romance, you cannot return to the exact feeling you had before. I’d like to think that Pullman is biding his time, laying down the groundwork for what is yet to come.

And even with its longueurs, the book is full of wonder. [...] It’s a stunning achievement, the universe Pullman has created and continues to build on. All that remains is to sit tight and wait for the next installment.
added by melmore | editNew York Times, Sarah Lyall (Oct 18, 2017)
 
The Greeks permeate his writing. Like Odysseus, his new hero, Malcolm, is on a self-appointed quest, fighting off enemies from his boat. (He’s also very unlike Odysseus, being 11 years old, ginger-haired and partial, like Pullman, to woodworking and meat pies.) “The Book of Dust” has other touchstones too: William Blake, the occult, ancient civilizations, East Asia and a eight-minute piece by Borodin called “In the Steppes of Central Asia.” Most of all, Edmund Spenser’s epic, 16th-century allegory, “The Faerie Queene.” Pullman copies the structure of “The Faerie Queene” — strange encounter after strange encounter — but thankfully not its style. When I admitted how I had struggled with the countless pages of archaic verse, Pullman shouted, gleeful, from his seat: “So did I! Couldn’t read it. Couldn’t read it at all until I was doing this.” His own novel is more readable, and earthier, locked into reality by character and geography, Malcolm and Oxford.
 

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Wormell, ChrisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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World is crazier and more of it than we think,
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           Louis MacNiece, 'Snow'
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Three miles up the river Thames from the centre of Oxford............
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When Malcolm finds a secret message inquiring about a dangerous substance called Dust, he finds himself embroiled in a tale of intrigue featuring enforcement agents from the Magisterium, a woman with an evil monkey daemon, and a baby named Lyra.

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