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A Long-Hidden His Dark Materials Short Story Is Now Getting Released

Part of the cover for Serpentine, the latest book in the His Dark Materials saga.
Part of the cover for Serpentine, the latest book in the His Dark Materials saga.
Image: Penguin Random House

Lyra Silvertongue’s story continues. Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Penguin Random House, has announced that a novella set in the world of His Dark Materials, written over 15 years ago and kept hidden ever since, is getting released to celebrate the 25th anniversary of The Golden Compass.

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According to a press release, author Philip Pullman is publishing Serpentine, a short story that he originally wrote for a charity auction in 2004. It’s set between the events of His Dark Materials and The Secret Commonwealth, the second book in The Book of Dust that shows Lyra as an adult. In a statement, Pullman said he wanted to release Serpentine now because the story connects the long thread between Lyra’s story in the original trilogy and the journey she takes much later in life.

“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,” he said. “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.”

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Serpentine sees a teenage Lyra traveling back to Trollesund, the small fishing village where she’d first met Iorek Byrnison and taken the witch-consul’s test to prove she was the “chosen one.” She’s returned to the witch-consul, Dr. Lanselius, to learn more about her ability to separate from her daemon, Pantalaimon. It hints at the conflict she experiences as an adult in The Book of Dust series, which examines the trauma of humans and daemons losing their bond.

Serpentine comes out on October 15. The television adaptation of His Dark Materials is getting ready for its second season on HBO, and will have a panel at Comic-Con@Home.


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Video Editor and Staff Writer at io9. My doppelganger is that rebelling greeting card from Futurama.

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