Guardian Book Club with Philip Pullman

Author Philip Pullman will talk to Guardian chief books writer Lisa Allardice about The Secret Commonwealth, the second novel in the Book of Dust Trilogy,


Thursday 28th May, 2020 @ 7:00 pm

  • Book Club
  • In Conversation
  • Questions & Answers
  • Talk


About the Event

We may be in lockdown, but many of us are using this time as an opportunity to catch up on all those books we've always been meaning to read. Please join us for a new online Book Club, in which the Guardian's chief books writer Lisa Allardice will be in conversation with leading writers, to discuss their best-loved novels, the creative process and isolation. They will also be answering your questions. Bring your own wine!

Author Philip Pullman will talk about The Secret Commonwealth, his second novel in the Book of Dust Trilogy.

Readers were first introduced to Lyra Belacqua, one of literature’s most memorable child heroines, in Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy in 1995, which won a Carnegie Medal and two Whitbread Prizes, and has since been adapted for the screen. Its fantasy world, of animal-shaped daemons, the shadowy Magisterium and armoured bears, captured the imagination of readers of all ages.

In The Secret Commonwealth, Pullman jumps forward a decade from the events of the first trilogy, to give us the story of Lyra as a young adult. An academic in the Oxford of her childhood, Lyra discovers that despite the events that concluded the Amber Spyglass, she remains a person of interest to the sinister and deadly Magisterium.

About the Book

The Secret Commonwealth: The Book of Dust Volume Two
The Secret Commonwealth: The Book of Dust Volume Two

Philip Pullman, Christopher Wormell

Publisher:Penguin Books Ltd

Publication date:3 Oct 2019


3.78 out of 5
15 reviews
"Pullman nods to the refugee crisis and the state of democracy in his masterly second tale in the Book of Dust series"
The Observer
"Pullman is a consummate and gifted storyteller and his narrative skill and linguistic dexterity are on full display here"
Irish Times
"adds to the complexity without reaching the heights of the first."
The Sunday Times
"It’s a ripping yarn but our heroine needs a good talking to"
The Times
"He is here in a bog of his own making, even if it’s a bog with lots of marsh sprites. But it’s still a cracking story."
Evening Standard
"To read Pullman is to experience the world refreshed, aglow, in Technicolor."
"for those who loved the originals, there are many treats"
The Scotsman
"The Secret Commonwealth displays Philip Pullman’s miraculous gifts for storytelling"
New Statesman
"Pullman has always been learned, unafraid to approach such complex subjects as Milton, quantum physics and theology."
Literary Review
"[Pullman] has created a fantasy world, made yet more satisfying in this new volume and pursued with his own special rigour and stylistic elegance. This is a book for getting older with."
The Guardian

The second volume of Philip Pullman's The Book of Dust sees Lyra, now twenty years old, and her daemon Pantalaimon, forced to navigate their relationship in a way they could never have imagined, and drawn into the complex and dangerous factions of a world that they had no idea existed. Pulled along on his own journey too is Malcolm; once a boy with a boat and a mission to save a baby from the flood, now a man with a strong sense of duty and a desire to do what is right.