ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE NORTH to be published by David Fickling Books in the UK and Alfred A. Knopf in the US.
For immediate release on Friday 21st September 2007
David Fickling Books to Publish New Philip Pullman Story
David Fickling Books is delighted to announce the worldwide publication of Once Upon a Time in the North by Philip Pullman, a beguiling and intriguing new episode from Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials universe
A new and completely original episode from Philip Pullman’s bestselling His Dark Materials universe will be published on 3rd April 2008 by David Fickling Books Ltd, part of The Random House Group in the UK. The book, Once Upon a Time in the North, opens another extraordinary window into the universe of His Dark Materials, and is Philip’s first new work for five years.
Once Upon a Time in the North will appear under the David Fickling Books imprint in the UK and will be published in association with Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books in the USA.
Once Upon a Time in the North is a companion volume to Lyra’s Oxford (though about double the length of that story) and, like that work, set in Lyra Belacqua’s world and not our own.
The events of Once Upon a Time in the North happen before Lyra was born and in it we meet two of the most popular and enduring of Philip’s characters, the tough American balloonist Lee Scoresby and the great armoured bear and Lyra’s guardian, Iorek Byrnison. The story recounts the very first meeting of these two heroes, an encounter eagerly awaited by all Pullman fans. Lee Scoresby and his hare daemon, Hester, crash land their trading balloon on to Novy Odense, a port in the far Arctic North, and so find themselves right in the middle of a political powder keg that threatens to explode into a street-fight. Honour is at stake and Lee is not a man to duck a matter of honour. And this is the very first time that Lee gets to use his trusty and celebrated Winchester rifle . . .
Like Lyra’s Oxford, the story is presented as an exquisitely designed cloth-bound book and includes many other teasingly authentic memorabilia and clues from the His Dark Materials universe gathered together, it seems, by Lyra herself. This includes photographs, newspaper cuttings, bills of lading and an exciting and gorgeous Arctic Balloonist Board Game, Challenge the Wind, all beautifully illustrated and rendered by master engraver John Lawrence.
Philip Pullman says, “Writing this story was a matter of pure enjoyment. The two characters at the heart of it, Lee Scoresby and Iorek Byrnison, were old comrades-in-arms when Lyra met them first in Northern Lights. It was obvious that they had a history, and it was my son Jamie who first suggested that I should write about it. When David Fickling had the idea of doing that in a similar format to Lyra’s Oxford I leapt at the idea at once. I hope readers will enjoy this tale of the first meeting between these two honourable but down-at-heel adventurers.”