The Book of Dust Vol 1: La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman (David Fickling Books) ISBN: 9780857561084
The Book of Dust introduces us to an alternate universe, where human souls reside outside their bodies, in animal form called daemons. Intrepid young Malcolm Polstead and his daemon, Asta live with his parents at their family’s pub and inn, The Trout. Malcolm has a little canoe, La Belle Sauvage that he uses to run errands for his parents as well as the nuns at the nearby priory.
Also employed at The Trout is young Alice, a brash teenager. Malcolm barely tolerates her, and while not enemies, they are also not friends. Intrigue spills into the village when news spreads that the local priory is harbouring a special guest, a little baby girl called Lyra. Soon the town is crawling with members of the oppressive Magisterium. Why is this innocent baby so important to them?
The Book of Dust follows the journey young Malcolm and Alice undertake to keep Lyra safe, despite threats from a villainous Gerard Bonneville and the looming grasp of the Magisterium.
I found the story charming and magical, and while the subject matter can be a bit heavy in parts, this was a great adventure story. I eagerly await the next book in the series from Philip Pullman.