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The Secret Commonwealth (Book of Dust, Volume 2)
Cover of The Secret Commonwealth (Book of Dust, Volume 2)
The Secret Commonwealth (Book of Dust, Volume 2)
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The #1 New York Times Bestseller!Return to the world of His Dark Materials—now an HBO original series starring Dafne Keen, Ruth Wilson, James McAvoy, and Lin-Manuel Miranda—in the second...
The #1 New York Times Bestseller!Return to the world of His Dark Materials—now an HBO original series starring Dafne Keen, Ruth Wilson, James McAvoy, and Lin-Manuel Miranda—in the second...
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  • The #1 New York Times Bestseller!
    Return to the world of His Dark Materials—now an HBO original series starring Dafne Keen, Ruth Wilson, James McAvoy, and Lin-Manuel Miranda—in the second volume of Philip Pullman’s new bestselling masterwork The Book of Dust.

     
    The windows between the many worlds have been sealed and the momentous adventures of Lyra Silvertongue’s youth are long behind her—or so she thought. Lyra is now a twenty-year-old undergraduate at St. Sophia’s College and intrigue is swirling around her once more. Her daemon Pantalaimon is witness to a brutal murder, and the dying man entrusts them with secrets that carry echoes from their past.
     
    The more Lyra is drawn into these mysteries, the less she is sure of. Even the events of her own past come into question when she learns of Malcolm Polstead’s role in bringing her to Jordan College.
     
    Now Lyra and Malcolm will travel far beyond the confines of Oxford, across Europe and into the Levant, searching for a city haunted by daemons, and a desert said to hold the truth of Dust. The dangers they face will challenge everything they thought they knew about the world, and about themselves.
     
    Praise for The Book of Dust
    “It’s a stunning achievement, this universe Pullman has created and continues to build on.” The New York Times

     
    “Pullman’s writing is simple, unpretentious, beautiful, true. The conclusion to The Book of Dust can’t come soon enough.”—The Washington Post

Excerpts-

  • From the book Little Clarendon Street had been adopted by Oxford's jeunesse dorée as a fashionable destination. Expensive clothes shops, chic coffeehouses, cocktail bars, and colored anbaric lights strung overhead made it seem like a corner of another city altogether—Malcolm couldn't have known what made tears come to Lyra's eyes at that point, though he did notice the tears: it was her memory of the deserted Cittàgazze, all the lights blazing, empty, silent, magi­cal, where she had first met Will. She brushed them away and said nothing.

    He led the way to a mock-Italian café with candles in straw-wrapped wine bottles and red-checked tablecloths and travel post­ers in splashy colors. Lyra looked around warily.

    "It's safe here," Malcolm said quietly. "There are other places where it's risky to talk, but there's no danger in La Luna Caprese."

    He ordered a bottle of Chianti, asking Lyra first if that was what she'd like, and she nodded.

    When the wine was tried and poured, she said, "I've got to tell you something. I'll try and keep it clear in my head. And now I know about you and your dæmon, it's something I can tell you, but no one else. Only I've heard so many things in the last couple of days and my mind's in a whirl, so please, if I don't make sense, just stop me and I'll go over it again."

    "Of course."

    She began with Pan's experience on the Monday night, the at­tack, the murder, the man giving him the wallet to take to Lyra. Malcolm listened in astonishment, though he felt no skepticism: such things happened, as he knew well. But one thing seemed odd.

    "The victim and his dæmon knew about separating?" he said.

    "Yes," said Pan at Lyra's elbow. "They weren't shocked, like most people would be. In fact, they could separate too. She must have seen me up the tree when he was being attacked, and thought it would be all right to trust me, I suppose."

    "So Pan brought the wallet back to me at St. Sophia's . . . ," Lyra went on.

    "And that was when Asta saw me," Pan put in.

    ". . . but other things got in the way, and we didn't have a chance to look at it till the next morning."

    She pulled her bag up to her lap and took out the wallet, passing it to him unobtrusively. He noticed Pan's tooth marks, and no­ticed the smell too, which Pan had called cheap cologne, though it seemed to Malcolm something other than that, something wilder. He opened the wallet and took out the contents one by one as she spoke. The Bodleian card, the university staff card, the diplomatic papers, all so familiar; his own wallet had held very similar papers in its time.

    "He was coming back to Oxford, I think," Lyra said, "because if you look at the laissez-passers, you can trace his journey from Sin Kiang to here. He'd probably have gone on to the Botanic Garden, if they hadn't attacked him."

    Malcolm caught another faint trace of the scent on the wallet. He raised it to his nose, and something distant rang like a bell, or gleamed like the sun on a snowy mountaintop, just for the fraction of a second, and then it was gone.

    "Did he say anything else, the man who was killed?"

    He addressed the question to Pan, and Pan thought hard before saying, "No. He couldn't. He was nearly dead. He made me take the wallet out of his pocket and told me to take it to Lyra—I mean, he didn't know her name, but he said to take it to your . . . I think he thought we could be trusted because he knew about separating."

    "Have you taken this to the police?"

    "Of course. That was almost the first thing we did next...

About the Author-

  • PHILIP PULLMAN is one of the most acclaimed writers working today. He is best known for the His Dark Materials trilogy, which has been named one of the top 100 books of all time by Newsweek and one of the all-time greatest novels by Entertainment Weekly. Pullman was knighted for his services to literature in the 2019 New Years Honours.
    The Book of Dust, Pullman's eagerly anticipated return to the world of His Dark Materials, will also be a book in three parts. It began with La Belle Sauvage and continues with The Secret Commonwealth.

    Philip Pullman is the author of many other beloved novels. For younger readers: I Was a Rat!, Count Karlstein, Two Crafty Criminals!, Spring-Heeled Jack, and The Scarecrow and His Servant. For older readers: the Sally Lockhart quartet (The Ruby in the Smoke, The Shadow in the North, The Tiger in the Well, and The Tin Princess), The White Mercedes, and The Broken Bridge. He has written a magnificent collection, Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm, and his essays and lectures on writing and storytelling have been gathered in a volume called Dæmon Voices: On Stories and Storytelling.

    Philip Pullman lives in Oxford, England.

Reviews-

  • Kirkus

    October 1, 2019
    A desert rose with mysterious properties sets off a rush. The events of The Book of Dust (2017) and the His Dark Materials series behind her, Lyra Silvertongue has grown into a rude post-teen so enthralled by the existential hyperrationalism of two popular writers that even her daemon Pantalaimon can't stand to talk to her. Believing that Lyra's imagination has been stolen, Pan braves mutual anguish to slip off to fetch it back. Meanwhile, hints of a rare Central Asian rose whose attar confers the power to see Dust arrive in Brytain, the theocratic Magisterium is poised to expand its reach under the sway of a sinister mastermind, and Malcolm Polstead, Oxford professor and secret agent, finds himself involved in ominous local events--all adding up to multiple characters embarking on parallel journeys across Europe and onward. Pullman places his cast of white main characters in a Eurocentric world marked by rising authoritarianism, general anxiety, desperate refugees, and anonymous terrorists violently destroying rose crops in the name of a vaguely religious Holy Purpose. He skillfully weaves in deeper themes of change and of love's complexities, ruminations on the nature of evil, evidence of magical truths beneath reality's veneer, swipes at organized religion, and the powerful--if often twisted--ties of family. This entry, while well stocked with familiar characters in a story founded on ideas, is also not lacking in grand events and narrow squeaks. Exhilarating. (Fantasy. 14-adult)

    COPYRIGHT(2019) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from October 7, 2019
    Twenty years after the events of La Belle Sauvage, and eight years after those of the His Dark Materials trilogy, this second volume in Pullman's Book of Dust series blends spy thriller, otherworldly travelogue, and philosophical musing. Twenty-year-old Lyra Silvertongue's student life in Oxford is upended when her daemon, Pantalaimon, witnesses an incident that entangles them with a covert agency to which Malcolm Polstead belongs, impelling Malcolm to investigate a shift in the global power balance. Meanwhile, Lyra's fascination with a logic-obsessed, daemon-omitting novel causes Pan to decamp in search of her imagination. Tracked by a young alethiometer savant named Bonneville, Lyra furtively sets out for the Levant, searching for a rumored refuge for separated daemons. Through prodigious planning that is likely to set up the final volume, Pullman connects characters and moments from all the previous books. The sprawling, sometimes meandering narrative follows Lyra, Pan, and Malcolm on their journeys while exploring the power of transnational religious and corporate organizations, the plight of various marginalized groups, and the importance of a worldview that includes unprovable truths. Lyra, Pantalaimon, and Malcolm are familiar yet altered by age; it is a pleasure to get to know them again. Ages 14–up.

  • School Library Journal

    October 25, 2019

    Gr 9 Up-It's been 20 years since Malcolm Polstead braved a once-in-a-lifetime flood to bring the infant Lyra Silvertongue to Jordan College, events detailed in Pullman's first "Book of Dust" title, La Belle Sauvage. Now, Lyra is a student at Oxford and Malcolm a professor at a different Oxford college. Lyra and her daemon, Pantalaimon, have been at odds over Lyra's interest in a rationalist philosopher who believes that daemons are a human delusion. After Pan witnesses a murder, he and Lyra find the dead man's rucksack, which is full of plant samples and information about his expedition to a desert where roses grow that allow people to see Dust, but where daemons cannot go. Pan leaves after he and Lyra have an intense argument, and when Lyra sets off to look for him, she's followed by agents of the Magisterium and a mysterious young scholar who has developed a new way of reading the alethiometer, as well as Malcolm, who hopes to help her. She travels to an address in Turkey listed in the dead man's notes and meets a sorcerer who commits an act of cruelty in front of her and tells her she'll find Pan if she goes to Syria. On her journey, she learns about an underworld where daemons are stolen and sold, and confronts an ongoing refugee crisis. VERDICT Older teens and adults who are already invested in the series will be excited to catch up with Lyra and Malcolm, but with primarily adult characters and a complicated plot, this will have limited appeal in most YA collections.-Stephanie Klose, Library Journal

    Copyright 2019 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • New Statesman "The novel gallops forward, full of danger, delight and surprise. Pullman is a staggeringly gifted storyteller."
  • Newsweek "The Secret Commonwealth reasserts Pullman's affection for the wondrous and those pieces of reality which can be seen only by those willing to see."

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