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Serpentine by Philip Pullman

Title: Serpentine

Author: Philip Pullman

Genre: Fantasy

Publisher: Penguin Random House

Published: 23rd November 2020

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 80

Price: $16.99

Synopsis: A story in the Arctic from the world of His Dark Materials and The Book of Dust by master storyteller, Philip Pullman.

‘Lyra Silvertongue, you’re very welcome . . . Yes, I know your new name. Serafina Pekkala told me everything about your exploits’

Lyra and her daemon Pantalaimon have left the events of His Dark Materials far behind. In this snapshot of their forever-changed lives they return to the North to visit an old friend, where we will learn that things are not exactly as they seem…

Illustrated throughout by Tom Duxbury, the perfect re-entry for fans of His Dark Materials and a wonderful companion to The Book of DustSerpentine is a brand-new special read for Pullman fans old and new.


Set in between the final events of His Dark Materials in the Amber Spyglass, and La Belle Sauvage, the beginning of the Book of Dust trilogy. Events towards the end of The Amber Spyglass changed Lyra and Pan – and are explored in a deeper way in the second book of The Book of Dust, The Secret Commonwealth.

These short companions to the series give insights into the books, and the events that lead to the main story, showing aspects of Lyra’s world that are not in the main books. They add something magical to the series and characters, and enrich the world and our understanding of where Lyra lives, where she is headed and what could potentially come in the subsequent books.

We leave Lyra and Pan rather peacefully, and as though the events that changed them at the end of the Amber Spyglass were resolved, yet as those who have read The Secret Commonwealth know, this is not necessarily the case. We were never sure exactly how Lyra and Pan dealt with their horrific ordeal, and for those who have read the original trilogy, they’ll have met Will and Kiva too.

This is a delightful dialogue between Lyra and Pan about the relationships people in their world have with their daemons, and pondering whether Mary Malone, our favourite Oxford researcher from Will’s Oxford, has a daemon, and many other aspects of human and daemon, and witch and daemon interactions.

I loved returning to Lyra’s world, to a time of some innocence and wonder before the events of The Secret Commonwealth. This is one book that one might understand better once you’ve read at least the His Dark Materials trilogy, as it does contain spoilers for that series, and is a gentle re-entry into Lyra’s world for those preparing to read The Book of Dust.

This is a great addition to the books about Lyra, and one that is a nice, fun and gentle read between the high stakes novels of His Dark Materials and The Book of Dust.  

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