The first volume will be published in October

By Oliver Gettell
February 14, 2017 at 08:53 PM EST
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Philip Pullman, Author. Photographed by Michael Leckie in Oxford 11th January 2017
Credit: Michael Leckie

Philip Pullman has a trove of new material on the way.

The author of the acclaimed young-adult fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials has announced a new three-book companion series collectively titled The Book of Dust, with the first volume to be published Oct. 19 in the U.S. and U.K.

The first novel, the title of which has yet to be revealed, will begin a decade before the start of the original trilogy and once again center on the courageous young heroine Lyra Belacqua. According to Pullman, however, The Book of Dust is neither a prequel nor a sequel, but an “equel.”

“It doesn’t stand before or after His Dark Materials, but beside it,” the author said in a statement Tuesday. “It’s a different story, but there are settings that readers of His Dark Materials will recognize, and characters they’ve met before.” There will also be a host of new characters, including “an ordinary boy” whom careful readers have seen before.

Published between 1996 and 2000, the His Dark Materials novels — The Golden Compass (a.k.a. Northern Lights), The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass — unfold across several parallel worlds while exploring themes of science, spirituality, and coming of age. The books have sold more than 17.5 million copies in over 40 languages.

A film adaptation of The Golden Compass starring Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig was released by New Line in 2007. While it won an Oscar for best visual effects, the movie made on a reported $180 million budget was panned by critics and earned just $70 million at the domestic box office. BBC One is currently looking to bring the original trilogy to the small screen.

In his announcement Tuesday, Pullman also acknowledged his passionate fan base. “I know from their letters and tweets that my readers have been waiting patiently (mostly) for The Book of Dust for a long time,” he said. “It gives me great pleasure and some excitement at last to satisfy their curiosity (and mine) about this book.”