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Serpentine

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**Don't miss the second series of His Dark Materials on BBC One this November.** A brand new short story set in the world of His Dark Materials and The Book of Dust by master storyteller, Philip Pullman. Serpentine is a perfect gift for every Pullman fan, new and old. 'Lyra Silvertongue, you're very welcome . . . Yes, I know your new name. Serafina Pekkala told me every **Don't miss the second series of His Dark Materials on BBC One this November.** A brand new short story set in the world of His Dark Materials and The Book of Dust by master storyteller, Philip Pullman. Serpentine is a perfect gift for every Pullman fan, new and old. 'Lyra Silvertongue, you're very welcome . . . Yes, I know your new name. Serafina Pekkala told me everything about your exploits' Lyra and her daemon Pantalaimon have left the events of His Dark Materials far behind. In this snapshot of their forever-changed lives they return to the North to visit an old friend, where we will learn that things are not exactly as they seem . . . Illustrated throughout by Tom Duxbury, the perfect re-entry for fans of His Dark Materials and a wonderful companion to The Book of Dust. 'It's a stunning achievement, the universe Pullman has created and continues to build on' New York Times 'Pullman is an easeful storyteller and an intricate and inventive world-builder, and everything he has to write is worth reading' Telegraph


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**Don't miss the second series of His Dark Materials on BBC One this November.** A brand new short story set in the world of His Dark Materials and The Book of Dust by master storyteller, Philip Pullman. Serpentine is a perfect gift for every Pullman fan, new and old. 'Lyra Silvertongue, you're very welcome . . . Yes, I know your new name. Serafina Pekkala told me every **Don't miss the second series of His Dark Materials on BBC One this November.** A brand new short story set in the world of His Dark Materials and The Book of Dust by master storyteller, Philip Pullman. Serpentine is a perfect gift for every Pullman fan, new and old. 'Lyra Silvertongue, you're very welcome . . . Yes, I know your new name. Serafina Pekkala told me everything about your exploits' Lyra and her daemon Pantalaimon have left the events of His Dark Materials far behind. In this snapshot of their forever-changed lives they return to the North to visit an old friend, where we will learn that things are not exactly as they seem . . . Illustrated throughout by Tom Duxbury, the perfect re-entry for fans of His Dark Materials and a wonderful companion to The Book of Dust. 'It's a stunning achievement, the universe Pullman has created and continues to build on' New York Times 'Pullman is an easeful storyteller and an intricate and inventive world-builder, and everything he has to write is worth reading' Telegraph

30 review for Serpentine

  1. 5 out of 5

    Henk

    A charming if brief return to the world of Lyra Silvertongue You know, it isn't really surprising that there are things about ourselves that still remain a mystery to us, he said. Maybe we should be comforted that the knowledge is there, even if it's withheld for a while. Serpentine has us return to the work of His Dark Materials. Firmly set after The Amber Spyglass (I don't think this story is readable without intimate knowledge on the trilogy) we follow Lyra and her companion in the far North. T A charming if brief return to the world of Lyra Silvertongue You know, it isn't really surprising that there are things about ourselves that still remain a mystery to us, he said. Maybe we should be comforted that the knowledge is there, even if it's withheld for a while. Serpentine has us return to the work of His Dark Materials. Firmly set after The Amber Spyglass (I don't think this story is readable without intimate knowledge on the trilogy) we follow Lyra and her companion in the far North. There is no real adventure, but introspection about what can and can't be known about oneself (which could be argued to be life's real adventure). For such a short story Philip Pullman packs in quite some more heavy, more mature themes, like how one can build a relationship even if it's not easy. The banter between Pantalaimon and Lyra is definitely a highlight, as are the illustrations from Tom Duxbury, and I am moving up The Secret Commonwealth up on my reading list.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Trin

    3.5 rounded up because daemons. The negatives are easy: this is very short (very short for $12.99). The woodcut-style art is lovely, but since the story is mostly Lyra having an extended conversation with Dr. Lanselius, then an extended conversation with Pan, the artist clearly struggled with finding new ways to depict this at times -- there's lots of faces drawn from slightly different angles. And there's too much use of the word lover. (Ugh, even just writing it there was too much.) But: daemons 3.5 rounded up because daemons. The negatives are easy: this is very short (very short for $12.99). The woodcut-style art is lovely, but since the story is mostly Lyra having an extended conversation with Dr. Lanselius, then an extended conversation with Pan, the artist clearly struggled with finding new ways to depict this at times -- there's lots of faces drawn from slightly different angles. And there's too much use of the word lover. (Ugh, even just writing it there was too much.) But: daemons! Lyra and Pan actually talking to each other! -- which, after The Secret Commonwealth, I mightily miss. This also sets some of that book up in an interesting way, so it's cool it's been widely released: it was written long before The Book of Dust trilogy but privately auctioned (wild). Curious to see Pullman having ideas in this direction all along... I do very much wish he would write one of these little books about Will, though. Would gladly pay $12.99 for that.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ms. Smartarse

    Back in The Amber Spyglass Lyra and Pantalaimon had to weather through their biggest trial yet: separating from each other in the Netherworld. For all that it's been quite a while since, our heroine still worries about the best way to approach her daemon about his trials during the separation. I'm struggling with how to write a coherent review opinion on this short story. It starts out promising enough, leading the reader through a number of guilt-ridden musings, only to have them end up exactly Back in The Amber Spyglass Lyra and Pantalaimon had to weather through their biggest trial yet: separating from each other in the Netherworld. For all that it's been quite a while since, our heroine still worries about the best way to approach her daemon about his trials during the separation. I'm struggling with how to write a coherent review opinion on this short story. It starts out promising enough, leading the reader through a number of guilt-ridden musings, only to have them end up exactly where they've started. I suppose this is a children's story with the moral of respecting others' privacy. Even if that other... is one's own soul? There is one interesting tidbit to be learned from all the over-analyzing that Lyra does, namely that some people can be at odds with their daemons. An aspect that I feel would've made for a far more interesting story. Score: 2/5 stars The best way I can sum things up is: an overambitious mix of philosophical reflections and comedic banter aimed at children. The simplistic language feels rather at odds with the seriousness of the subject matter being addressed, making it seem as if the author needlessly limited the amount of in-depth analysis he could do.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Dannii Elle

    This is an illustrated novella following the events that occur after both the His Dark Materials trilogy and the other short story that follows it, Lyra's Oxford. This focuses on the series' central character, Lyra Belacqua, but her daemon, Pan, also shares equal focus. Other characters from the preceding books also feature, either physically or in speech, and much of what has previously occurred between them is mentioned. This didn't provide the reader with a whole amount of new information abou This is an illustrated novella following the events that occur after both the His Dark Materials trilogy and the other short story that follows it, Lyra's Oxford. This focuses on the series' central character, Lyra Belacqua, but her daemon, Pan, also shares equal focus. Other characters from the preceding books also feature, either physically or in speech, and much of what has previously occurred between them is mentioned. This didn't provide the reader with a whole amount of new information about this world and focused, instead, on bringing emotion rather than knowledge to reader. It was just a pleasant little story to experience that left with a big silly smile on my face, after reading it. The gorgeous black and white imagery that featured throughout also enhanced the warmth I felt emanating from it. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to the author, Philip Pullman, and the publisher, Penguin Random House, of this opportunity.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Rachael

    This has made my year! A new short story set in the His Dark Materials world. I want it!!!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lata

    A short story about Lyra and Pan after the end of the first trilogy. Their interaction is a little prickly but it’s interesting after the changes they went through in book 3.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Connor MacNeil

    This book was like a Starbucks drink. It's beautiful, it's delicious, but it's gone in five minutes and it's $13.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Susanne

    Similar to Once upon a Time in the North and Lyra's Oxford I would recommend it for fans of His Dark Materials and the Book of Dust. It is a sweet and very small additional story from Lyras world that is not able to stand on its own, but will shorten the wait for the final part of the Book of Dust trilogy.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sanoo

    Really, really interesting as a bridge between His Dark Materials and the Book of Dust. Beautifully illustrated too. More than developing the plot of either of the series, it's more of a story, giving a glimpse of Lyra right after Lyra's Oxford, and her relationship with Pan. It is sort of a prequel to their relationship in the Secret Commonwealth. Can't wait for the third Book of Dust and Will's Oxford.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Wolf

    A sweet story about Lyra and Pan, set after the events of The Amber Spyglass. It's very short, but a nice read (with great illustrations).

  11. 4 out of 5

    Anna Dawson

    An intriguing snapshot of Pullman’s beautifully realised world and characters. Interesting that this was written well before The Secret Commonwealth was conceived, and I’m eager to see where this story will conclude.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ashley (אהבה)

    What a lovely little episode of Lyra and Pantalaimon's relationship. Olivia Coleman as the narrator of this was excellent! It's a wonderful short story that gives a little insight as to the journey that Lyra and Pan have been on since we saw them last in Oxford, with all those birds and a witch, and before the start of her journey east. It may help tide me over until we get the last installment of The Book of Dust. Until then I'll savour even the shortest visit to Lyra's world. I think there's a What a lovely little episode of Lyra and Pantalaimon's relationship. Olivia Coleman as the narrator of this was excellent! It's a wonderful short story that gives a little insight as to the journey that Lyra and Pan have been on since we saw them last in Oxford, with all those birds and a witch, and before the start of her journey east. It may help tide me over until we get the last installment of The Book of Dust. Until then I'll savour even the shortest visit to Lyra's world. I think there's a metaphor buried in there somewhere; about our relationship with ourselves, our soul or dæmon as it were. Some people are discontented with themselves in some way, I think many of us are to a certain extent. It happens when we grow up, and we learn what our place in the world is, and how maybe we don't quite fit that place. It's important that we are kind to ourselves and we allow parts ourselves to forgive other parts of ourselves, Lyra and Pan demonstrate that perfectly in this story. The way that Philip Pullman writes these stories about the intimacies of the human spirit is quite remarkable and I think I'll always feel a deep connection to Lyra and her world, for she and her dæmon have taught me lessons about who I am and who I want to be. Woah, that got pretty deep didn't it.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

    I'm a little disappointed that it was nearly full book price for what was effectively a short story in a hardback binding, but it added a lot to Lyra's world, and the abundance of illustrations (on every page?) was added value. This was billed as a thematic and timeline bridge between The Amber Spyglass and The Secret Commonwealth, and it works as both. Setup: Teenage Lyra gets a summer job helping Oxford grad students at an archaeological dig in (melting) Trollesund. I'm a little disappointed that it was nearly full book price for what was effectively a short story in a hardback binding, but it added a lot to Lyra's world, and the abundance of illustrations (on every page?) was added value. This was billed as a thematic and timeline bridge between The Amber Spyglass and The Secret Commonwealth, and it works as both. Setup: Teenage Lyra gets a summer job helping Oxford grad students at an archaeological dig in (melting) Trollesund.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Michael Kotsarinis

    A beautifully illustrated book with a short story featuring Lyra and Pantalaimon. It reminds us of some defining moments and names from the original trilogy, my main complaint being that it's too short!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Alva McDermott

    A lovely novella, which shows the origins of a major theme within “The Secret Commonwealth”. I suppose it will have to do in tiding me over until the third “Book of Dust”

  16. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca | Velvet Opus

    Short but sweet, beautifully illustrated Serpentine is a snapshot of Lyra and Pan following their separation on the shores of the Dead, as they ask the question: what happens next for them? It was lovely to dive back into Lyra's glittering world but the story was incredibly short, although the story behind how it was created - an original story for a charity auction over 17 years ago - is lovely. I wouldn’t recommend reading it unless you’re already a fan of the series as it’s so closely intertwi Short but sweet, beautifully illustrated Serpentine is a snapshot of Lyra and Pan following their separation on the shores of the Dead, as they ask the question: what happens next for them? It was lovely to dive back into Lyra's glittering world but the story was incredibly short, although the story behind how it was created - an original story for a charity auction over 17 years ago - is lovely. I wouldn’t recommend reading it unless you’re already a fan of the series as it’s so closely intertwined to the events in the series and also works as a taster of what’s to come. Thanks to the publisher for a review copy via Netgalley. Read more reviews on Velvet Opus Find us on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | LinkedIn

  17. 4 out of 5

    Tudor Vlad

    The illustrations in this one are simply beautiful. The story is short but personal. A must-read for fans of both the first and the second trilogy.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Lauren James

    [Gifted] A (very, very) short and sweet interlude to the Book of dust trilogy, with Lyra trying to heal her relationship with Pan, who is keeping secrets from her. Beautifully illustrated with wood cuts (almost more of these than words!), this is a little treasure.

  19. 5 out of 5

    itchy

    And we jump back to His Dark Materials. Had me confused at first, then I realized that this was written way before The Book of Dust was conceived. The illustrations are beautiful.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Daniela Valentina

    so short!!!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    Shorter than the other His Dark Materials novellas, more like a short story. Not a complaint though as happy for any extra visit to Lyra and Pan's world. Loved meeting the consul of witches again. A prelude to the second book of dust.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Giuliano

    A great short story that adds wonderfully to the developments in The Secret Commonwealth! Also, it made me excited again for the third book of the new trilogy! ✨

  23. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    "That horrible endless bottomless--- It must be like having an abyss right next to you every moment, knowing it's there all the time . . . Just horrible." A year after the events in Lyra's Oxford, but well before the action described in The Secret Commonwealth, Lyra and Pantalaimon are off on an archaeological dig organised by Jordan College, investigating a settlement of the Proto-Fisher people in the Trollesund region of Arctic Norroway. While there they take the opportunity to visit Dr Lanseliu "That horrible endless bottomless--- It must be like having an abyss right next to you every moment, knowing it's there all the time . . . Just horrible." A year after the events in Lyra's Oxford, but well before the action described in The Secret Commonwealth, Lyra and Pantalaimon are off on an archaeological dig organised by Jordan College, investigating a settlement of the Proto-Fisher people in the Trollesund region of Arctic Norroway. While there they take the opportunity to visit Dr Lanselius, consul to the witch clans of the north, whom the pair want to ask about the separation that the witches can achieve with their dæmons. But Lanselius already knows about Lyra and Pan's ability to separate, the result of the trauma that took place when Pan couldn't follow Lyra to the Land of the Dead in The Amber Spyglass. When Pan and Lanselius's serpent dæmon go out of the room to converse, not only does Lyra know the consul has the same ability but she is also able to discuss the other separation that has taken place since they came back together, one which has meant their former easy familiarity is not only strained but is resulting in a growing alienation she finds most distressing. In this short novella nothing (after a rather prosaic exposition) much in the way of action happens, but conversations between Lyra and Lanselius, Pan and the serpent, and finally between Lyra and Pan reveal that the gulf felt between separated humans and their dæmons is one that may not be easily repaired; living with this uncomfortable relationship is, as Lyra tells the consul, "like having an abyss right next to you every moment." That state of affairs will foreshadow what is to come in The Secret Commonwealth and precipitate much of the action there. As a bridge between the two trilogies of His Dark Materials and The Book of Dust it explains much but also deliberately leaves much unclear, like knowing the path you've trod but having the way ahead shrouded in mist. When Pullman wrote this story in 2004 he had, as he explains in a note, "no idea that I was going to write another trilogy," so in a sense he too was in the dark about future events. But fifteen years beforehand some hints about the quests begun in The Secret Commonwealth (2019) were already in evidence, as revealed by Dr Lanselius: "In central Siberia there is a region of devastation. Thousands of years ago there was a prosperous city there, the centre of an empire of craftsmen and traders that reached from Novgorod to Mongolia. But they made war with the spirit world, and their capital was destroyed by a blast of fire. Nothing has lived there since -- plant, insect, bird or mammal." The mysterious place of separation for witches and their dæmons which Lanselius describes parallels Lyra's visit to the Land of the Dead but will also prove to be a projected destination in the second and third parts of The Book of Dust. Our heart aches for that abyss that is opening up between the girl and her dæmon: Pullman captures that perfectly in their awkward conversations, dialogues that are reminiscent of couple relationships where bickering and resentments are everyday occurrences, growing in frequency and depth. Nevertheless there is a sense of some rapprochement towards the last pages just as the snow starts falling, signalling that the climate is starting to right itself after Lord Asriel's catastrophic experiment in Northern Lights. Tom Duxbury's line illustrations capture some of the starkness of both landscape and emotions; they appear every two pages, sometimes as a double page spread, figures elongated, vistas stretching into infinity. I seem not to be the only one to sense a touch of Greta Thunberg in Lyra's depictions. However, even in this short piece there lurks a worm in the bud: can we actually believe everything the consul says? Can we even take on trust what his serpent dæmon divulges to Pan, bearing in mind snakes reputation for cunning? And what about the novella's title? For 'serpentine' implies twisting and turning, and snakes have forked tongues. One final note: Lanselius looks as though it's a Finnish surname, akin to Sibelius which apparently derives from a property near Helsinki called Sibbe. That may imply the consul's origins lie somewhere called Lanse or even L'Anse. In Lyra's Oxford the fold-out map is published by Smith and Strange at Globetrotter House; and among the travel books they publish is The Proto-Fisher People of L'Anse aux Meadows by a Groenlander Skraeling called Leonard Broken Arrow. Is Lanselius quite who we think he is?

  24. 4 out of 5

    Stuart

    Only works if you have read His Dark Materials. Very short but if you take it for what is is, a short companion piece to bridge the gap between the 2 trilogies then I think it’s rather charming. I am bias though as I just love this world and am happy to spend even a small amount of time in it again.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Chris Callaghan

    For devotees of His Dark Materials only. But as I am one, this little (and very short) story is another beautiful companion to the shorter instalments in this epic series.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    Well, that didn’t take long! A reminder of how Lyra was separated from her daemon initially and made The Secret Commonwealth a bit more understandable.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Janet Brown

    I cannot tell you how much I loved being back with Lyra and Pan, and in Svalbard too, which has always been my favourite part of the original trilogy. This short story is a lovely insight into the relationships between various characters, but most importantly that between Lyra and her daemon, and the accompanying woodcut illustrations are beautiful and evocative. This would make the perfect stocking filler for any fan of these books or the recent TV series.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Rajiv Moté

    This tiny story, set between The Amber Spyglass and The Secret Commonwealth, sets up the main conflict in the latter book: what happens when a person and their dæmon (essentially, a person and their own soul) are divided betweeth themselves. The story doesn’t provide answers, but frames the issue. "You know, it isn't really surprising that there are things about ourselves that still remain a mystery to us." I can't think of a better thematic prologue for The Secret Commonwealth.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kaye Magistro

    I just love this world and I will read everything Philip Pullman writes about it. These short story books are so beautiful but also so... short 😭 I really need the third Book of Dust installment asap.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Chamaeleon

    My favorite one of the 3 companion books. It quite short, again, but gives an beautiful view into the connections between Lyra, Pantalaimon and the witches. Would recommend for “His dark Materials” Fans who are waiting for Book of Dust 3

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