Philip Pullman has announced a follow-up trilogy to His Dark Materials

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The novel itself remains unnamed, as of yet, but the series' title and Pullman confirmed what fans have long awaited: The Book of Dust will take place in the same universe as Pullman's incredibly popular His Dark Materials trilogy.

Phillip Pullman's first book in the His Dark Materials series was Northern Lights which came out in 1995. The trilogy has sold 17.5 million copies in more than 40 languages.

"We see Lyra both as a baby and we see her in the second book as an adult when she's 20 years old", Pullman said.

Mr Pullman said, "I know from their letters and tweets that my readers have been waiting patiently (mostly) for The Book of Dust for a long time".

"I sensed a big story", Pullman said.

"Third: why return to Lyra's world?"

In a statement, Pullman adds: "The first thing to say is that Lyra is at the centre of the story".

"It's an "equel". It's a different story which begins roughly 10 years before His Dark Materials and ends roughly 10 years after".

"I've been writing it for several years, and I've been very parsimonious with information about it".

The new series will focus on Lyra Belacqua, half of the duo at the center of the original books (and New Line Cinema's not-very-successful film of the first book, The Golden Compass).

The apparent parallels between contemporary political concerns and the events of The Book of Dust are not mere coincidence, according to Pullman.

The coherence of Pullman's imaginary world has led some to conclude it is synonymous with Dark Matter, which latest scientific thinking suggests is the most abundant material in the universe, but also among the most elusive and most hard to quantify. Alongside the already guaranteed reappearance of Lyra, fans will also hope for plotting involving Roger Parslow, a child who crucially disappears early in His Dark Materials, and Will Parry, Lyra's friend, who has his own back-story opacities involving his father.

He said he returned to the originals as he felt there was still a lot more to be discovered there. "His Dark Materials" has been pulled from some Catholic school library shelves in Canada and the United States over the years.

I've been greatly criticized for the attention to religion that I give in the books, but I've been criticized, on the whole, by people who haven't read the books.

When religion gets the power to tell people how to dress, who to fall in love with, how to behave, what they must not read, what they must not wear, all those things, then religion goes bad.

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