La Belle Sauvage

‘The Book of Dust’ – Volume 1

Philip Pullman

Illustrated by Peter Bailey

Discover the genesis of Lyra’s story in Philip Pullman’s La Belle Sauvage. This gorgeous Folio edition is produced in series with His Dark Materials and features new illustrations by Peter Bailey.

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‘Too few things in our own world are worth a 17-year-wait: “The Book of Dust” is one of them.’
  1. Washington Post

La Belle Sauvage is the first volume of The Book of Dust, Philip Pullman’s highly anticipated return to the much-loved world of His Dark Materials. This special collector’s edition has been produced in series with Folio’s enormously popular His Dark Materials three-volume set, with series artist Peter Bailey returning to provide 11 atmospheric colour illustrations. Pullman has written a special new foreword exclusively for this edition, and the decorative slipcase is branded with a ring of glittery Dust. Taking place 12 years before the events of Northern Lights, this coming-of-age epic gives readers a glimpse of Lyra Belacqua as a baby and reveals the remarkable events and heroics that led to her finding a home at Jordan College. The brilliant keystones of Lyra’s world – the daemons, the aleithometer – are still present, only alongside a new set of heroes to love and to follow. An unmissable volume for anyone eager to return to the fantastical worlds of Lyra’s Oxford and beyond.

Bound in screen-printed and blocked metallic cloth  

Set in Adobe Caslon  

424 pages  

Frontispiece plus 10 full-page colour illustrations  

Printed slipcase  

9½˝ x 6¼˝

‘We know all the short cuts and the shallow ways and the deep ways. We can always slip away and they’ll never catch us. And the water’s on our side, not theirs.’
  1. from La Belle Sauvage

Young Malcolm Polstead is used to overhearing gossip while he collects glasses in his father’s pub, and when the nuns of the priory are given a baby to look after it’s all anyone can talk about. There are whispers that the child is Lyra Belacqua, the infant daughter of the mysterious Lord Asriel, and the witches in the north claim she is at the heart of a dangerous prophecy. Drawn into a secret realm of espionage, Malcolm soon finds himself on the run with the baby Lyra while the world around him succumbs to an apocalyptic flood. Dark forces are gathering on every side, and all that stands between them and Lyra are Malcolm and his sturdy canoe.

With Northern Lights in 1995, Philip Pullman created a new fantasy classic. The world of His Dark Materials has become as beloved as Narnia and Middle-earth, its mythologies as deep and as richly imagined. La Belle Sauvage expands this mythology in new directions; if the original trilogy shared particles with Paradise Lost, then La Belle Sauvage is awash with the eerie delights of Spenser’s The Faerie Queene. Pullman has described La Belle Sauvage as an ‘equel’ rather than a prequel, a book that stands alongside its predecessors, and there is no doubt that for anyone with a curious soul it will become an equally essential read.

Sir Philip Pullman was born in Norwich and grew up in Wales, though he also travelled extensively due to his father’s work as a pilot in the Royal Air Force. He graduated from Exeter College, Oxford, with a third-class BA in English in 1968 (Oxford later honoured him with a D.Litt. in 2009). As a schoolboy and student he discovered John Milton’s Paradise Lost and the poetry of William Blake, both of which have been significant influences on his own writing. He began publishing children’s fiction while working as a teacher in Summertown, north Oxford, a job he left after the success of Northern Lights (1995; published as The Golden Compass in the United States), the first book in the trilogy His Dark Materials (Folio edition 2008). The trilogy won the Carnegie Medal and, later, the ‘Carnegie of Carnegies’, as well as the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize. It has been adapted for stage and TV, and the first book was also the basis for a major feature film. The Book of Dust, another trilogy with some of the same characters and deepening the exploration of Pullman’s ideas, includes La Belle Sauvage (2017; Folio 2021) and The Secret Commonwealth (2019; Folio 2022). Pullman is also known for the Sally Lockhart series and as an editor of fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm. He has served as President of the Society of Authors and is a notable campaigner for public libraries in the UK.

Peter Bailey is one of Britain’s best-known book illustrators, who has worked with authors including Allan Ahlberg and Dick King Smith. He is best known for his work on children’s fiction but has also undertaken commissions for adult books – including several commissions for The Folio Society. He was born in India and grew up in London, where his father worked at the Victoria & Albert Museum. Bailey has said that time he spent there as a child influenced his development as an artist. He studied at Brighton School of Art and taught illustration at Liverpool School of Art for 20 years until 1997. Particularly recognised for his long-time collaboration with Philip Pullman, for whose novels he produces extraordinary, intricate ink drawings, he has illustrated Folio editions of His Dark Materials (2008), La Belle Sauvage (2021) and The Secret Commonwealth (2022).


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