Pullman went on to clarify that The Book of Dust will be neither a straight prequel or a sequel to His Dark Materials, but rather a companion series that will stand alongside the original trilogy.
The series will revisit the same universe of the hugely popular His Dark Materials which sold more than 17.5 million copies and was translated into 40 languages. Meanwhile, I've been flying under the radar, saying things that are far more subversive than anything poor old Harry has said.
Lyra Silvertongue was last glimpsed studying a alethiometer (a truth-o-meter) at eighteen years of age in the postscript to The Amber Spyglass, and what she did next might be depicted in The Book of Dust. The first thing to say is that Lyra is at the center of the story. Characters included a headstrong and fiercely intelligent young girl named Lyra Belacqua, and an armored, talking polar bear.
At the start of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy, readers saw action in different parallel worlds, with a subtle blending of various disciplines including particle physics and theology. "His Dark Materials" has been pulled from some Catholic school library shelves in Canada and the United States over the years.
Ideally, a prequel, sequel or "equel" to an adored story should resemble a party at which those present include some people you already know and love, but also many fascinating newcomers to whom we are thrilled to be introduced. And the second book and subsequent books ... are set ten years after it. Pullman describes how he wanted to delve deeper into the meaning of "dust" and how it relates to consciousness, along with the meaning of human nature. "His Dark Materials" took its title form John Milton's biblical epic poem "Paradise Lost", and Pullman's saga has a searching spirituality running alongside its mistrust of organized religion. This first novel takes place 10 years prior to The Golden Compass and Lyra - Materials' protagonist - will appear as an infant.
In Tolkien's Middle Earth, he says, "what's good is good and what's bad is bad and there isn't very much discussion about it". "It gives me great pleasure and some excitement at last to satisfy their curiosity (and mine) about this book", wrote Pullman. And the points when I become critical are the points when politics come into it, and religion acquires political power - political with a small "p", for example, within the confines of a single family, or Political with a large "P", on a national or worldwide scale. As soon as it becomes public and political, it's risky.