The gentleman waiting gave him a start, though all he was doing was sitting still by the cold fireplace. Perhaps it was his dæmon, a beautiful silvery spotted leopard, or perhaps it was his dark, saturnine expression; in any event, Malcolm felt daunted, and very young and small. His dæmon, Asta, became a moth.
“Good evening, sir,” he said. “Your Tokay what you ordered. Would you like me to make up the fire? It’s ever so cold in here.”
“Is your name Malcolm?” The man’s voice was harsh and deep.
“Yes, sir. Malcolm Polstead.”
“I’m a friend of Dr. Relf,” said the man. “My name is Asriel.”
From the Guardian’s “Before His Dark Materials: Philip Pullman’s New Novel — Exclusive Extract” Makes me all the more excited!