Philip Pullman to publish ‘His Dark Materials’ in October

Penguin Random House will publish a never-before-read novella by English novelist Philip Pullman, ‘Serpentine,’ on Oct 15. © Image Courtesy of Penguin Random House

LONDON: The English novelist will revisit his bestselling “His Dark Materials” trilogy with a new family-friendly novella, which will arrive in bookstores on Oct 15 via Penguin Random House.

Pullman wrote the never-before-seen “Serpentine” in 2004 for a charity auction, at the request of the National Theatre’s then-director, Nicholas Hytner, during the award-winning stage production of “His Dark Materials.”

The English author never intended to publish the manuscript, which is set after the end of the trilogy “His Dark Materials,” but before the start of his most recent book and second installment of his “The Book of Dust” trilogy, “The Secret Commonwealth.”

“Serpentine” follows a teenage Lyra Silvertongue and her daemon Pantalaimon as they return to Trollesund, the port town where she first met Iorek and Lee during the events of “The Golden Compass” (also published as “Northern Lights” in the UK).

Although details about the novella are still scarce, Penguin Random House has revealed that Lyra and Pan will embark on a journey “in search of an answer to a shocking, secret condition — their ability to separate — from the witch-consul, Dr. Lanselius.”

“Why are we publishing this story now? Because with the development of ‘The Book of Dust,’ especially after the events described in ‘The Secret Commonwealth,’ we can see a change in the way Lyra understands herself, and her relationship with Pantalaimon, which is prefigured in this little Arctic episode,” Pullman said of “Serpentine” in a statement.

“When I wrote ‘Serpentine,’ I had no idea that I was going on to write another trilogy, showing Lyra as an adult, but she and her world wouldn’t leave me alone.

“When it comes to human affairs, a billion invisible filaments connect us to our own pasts, as well as to the most remote things we can imagine; and I hope that, above all, these books are about being alive and being human,” he added.

While Penguin House Random will publish “Serpentine” on Oct 15, Listening Library will simultaneously release the audio adaptation of the family-friendly novella, which will notably be narrated by Academy Award-winning actress and “The Crown” star Olivia Colman.