Philip Pullman has announced that he is continuing his best-selling His Dark Materials novels with a new trilogy.
The first book in the The Book of Dust trilogy will come out in October, 17 years after the last instalment.
The author said that the books are an “equel”, rather than a prequel or sequel, to the original series but will still feature heroine Lyra Belacqua, with the story beginning with the character’s birth and continuing till her adulthood.
“Events involving her open the first chapter, and will close the last,” Pullman said. “I’ve always wanted to tell the story of how Lyra came to be living at Jordan College and, in thinking about it, I discovered a long story that began when she was a baby and will end when she’s grown up.”
“It’s a different story, but there are settings that readers of His Dark Materials will recognise, and characters they’ve met before,” he added.
Speaking about the themes of the novel, Pullman continues: “At the centre of The Book Of Dust is the struggle between a despotic and totalitarian organisation, which wants to stifle speculation and inquiry, and those who believe thought and speech should be free.”
The writer also dropped hints about a new key character, saying that “an ordinary boy” featured in an early part of the story would return.
His Dark Materials began with Northern Lights in 1995, followed by The Subtle Knife in 1997 and The Amber Spyglass in 2000. The trilogy has sold 17.5 million copies and has been published in 40 languages.
A BBC One adaption of His Dark Materials is currently in the works and will arrive next year. The screenplay was written by Jack Throne, who was behind the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child stage play.