A never before read His Dark Materials tale about Lyra as a teenager will be released in the autumn.
The novella, written by Philip Pullman more than ten years ago and that was never going to be published, will now be released in October.
Serpentine follows Lyra Silvertongue as she returns to Trollesund, the small town where she first met Iorek Byrnison and Lee Scoresby in the first novel Northern Lights. The novella is set after the end of the full trilogy of His Dark Materials, but before the start of The Secret Commonwealth, Pullman’s latest addition to the HDM universe.
The story sees Lyra and her Pantalaimon, her daemon “older and a little wiser, and in search of an answer to a shocking, secret condition – their ability to separate – from the witch-consul, Dr Lanselius”, revealed Penguin Random House Children’s publisher.
The story was written by Pullman in 2004 for a charity auction at the request of the National Theatre’s director at the time, Nicholas Hytner. The manuscript was acquired for a “substantial sum” at the time, with all proceeds going to charity.
“Why are we publishing this story now?” said Pullman. “Because with the development of The Book of Dust, especially after the events described in The Secret Commonwealth, we can see a change in the way Lyra understands herself, and her relationship with Pantalaimon, which is prefigured in this little Arctic episode.
“When I wrote Serpentine, I had no idea that I was going on to write another trilogy, showing Lyra as an adult, but she and her world wouldn’t leave me alone. When it comes to human affairs, a billion invisible filaments connect us to our own pasts, as well as to the most remote things we can imagine; and I hope that, above all, these books are about being alive and being human.”
The actor Olivia Colman will narrate the audiobook edition, and artist Tom Duxbury will illustrate the book.