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Philip Pullman will write a follow-up to 'His Dark Materials' — and it'll be a trilogy

Philip Pullman will bring back the world of "His Dark Materials" in not one but three new books for young adults, NPR reports

The English author announced he's writing a follow-up series to his massively successful fantasy trilogy for young readers. The new trilogy, called "The Book of Dust," will launch on Oct. 19 with the first novel, which doesn't yet have a title.

Pullman told NPR that the new series won't be a sequel, but rather a "companion" to "His Dark Materials."

"The [new] story begins before 'His Dark Materials' and continues after it," Pullman said. "You don't have to read it before you read [the original trilogy] ... this is another story that comes after it, so it's not a sequel, and it's not a prequel, it's an equal."

The original trilogy, which debuted in 1995 with "The Golden Compass," tells the story of two children, Lyra Belacqua and Will Parry. Lyra lives in a parallel universe where people have animal familiars called "daemons."

Pullman followed "The Golden Compass" with "The Subtle Knife" in 1997 and "The Amber Spyglass" in 2000. All three books were bestsellers. 

A 2007 film adaptation of "The Golden Compass" opened to a disappointing box office and tepid critical reviews.

The first book in the new trilogy will be set 10 years before "The Golden Compass," with Lyra making an appearance as a baby. Lyra will appear in the second and third books, which will be set 10 years after "The Amber Spyglass."

"I sensed a big story," Pullman said. "I sensed the presence, in the way that you do, of another story that hadn't been told, and I went closer and ... thought about it and lived with it for a while and discovered that yes, it was a big story, and it did deserve to be told, it deserves its own books."

Pullman told BBC Radio 4 that he was eager to revisit his most iconic character.

“So we see Lyra both as a baby and we see her in the second book as an adult; she’s 20 years old,” he said. “There she can fully take agency of the story, so to speak.”

The first volume of "The Book of Dust" will be published in the U.S. by Knopf Books for Young Readers. As of Wednesday morning, the book was available for preorder on Amazon, where it was ranked No. 285.

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