David Fickling Books, hardback, 103 p.
prequel to His Dark Materials trilogy
When Lyra is studying at Oxford University, she comes across the story of Lee Scoresby and Iorek Byrnisson's first meeting, many years ago, along with much evidence of the adventure that brought them together. When a young Texan balloonist, Lee Scoresby, comes down to earth in the harbour of an Arctic town in the North, little does he realise that he is about to be embroiled in an out-and-out political brawl. Lee and his daemon, Hester, find themselves the target of political factions trying to take over the running (and oil) of the town. And also resident in the town are huge arctic bears, ignored and patronised by the people and treated like second-class citizens. When Lee and Iorek first meet, they cement a friendship that will continue throughout their lives, as the tensions and pressure in town lead to a deadly conclusion...Another wonderful tale from a master story-teller, giving us more extraordinary insight into the world of "His Dark Materials".Reading this has made me want to read His Dark Materials (all 3 books) all over again! A short, quick read, it was great fun to revisit the characters of Iorek Byrnison and Lee Scoresby and to read about how they first met. I also really enjoyed the relationship between Lee and Hester, his daemon. The illustrations were great; of course I would’ve loved to have even more of them and it’s just such a cute little hardback. Even the ‘Peril at the Pole’ board game that is included had me chuckling at the various hazards. I do wish Pullman would hurry up and write ‘The Book of Dust’, the purported fourth book in the series that he’s supposedly working on. Recommended for any fans of His Dark Materials.
Face to face, the bear was formidable. He was young, as far as Lee could judge; his body was enormous, and his small black eyes quite unreadable. His ivory-coloured fur waved in ripples as the brisk wind played over it. Lee could feel Hester’s little heart beating fast close to his.
The bear said, ‘You gonna help him?’ He looked briefly at the Captain, watching them from across the road, and then back at Lee.
‘That’s my intention,’ said Lee carefully.
‘Then I help you.’
‘Do you know Captain van Breda then?’
‘I know his enemy is my enemy.’
‘Well then, Mr…Mr Bear -’
‘Iorek Byrnison,’ said the bear.
My Rating: 4/5
(#16 for 2008, Once Upon a Time II Challenge #3)
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Things Mean a Lot