In this prequel episode from Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials universe, Lee Scoresby--Texan aeronaut and future friend to Lyra Belacqua--is just 24 years old, and he's recently won his hot-air balloon in a poker game. Read more...
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In this prequel episode from Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials universe, Lee Scoresby--Texan aeronaut and future friend to Lyra Belacqua--is just 24 years old, and he's recently won his hot-air balloon in a poker game. He finds himself floating North to the windswept Arctic island of Novy Odense, where he and his hare daemon Hester are quickly tangled in a deadly plot involving oil magnate Larsen Manganese, corrupt mayoral candidate Ivan Poliakov, and Lee's longtime nemesis from the Dakota Country: Pierre McConville, a hired killer with at least twenty murders to his name.
It's only after Lee forms an alliance with one of the island's reviled armored bears that he can fight to break up the conspiracy in a gun-twirling classic western shoot out--and battle of wits. This exquisite clothbound volume features the illustrations of John Lawrence, a removable board game--Peril of the Pole--on the inside back cover, and a glimpse for Pullman fans into the first friendship of two of the most beloved characters in the His Dark Materials trilogy: Lee Scoresby and armored bear Iorek Byrnison.
- ISBN-13: 9780375845109
- ISBN-10: 0375845100
- Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
- Publish Date: April 2008
- Page Count: 95
- Reading Level: Ages 12-17
- Dimensions: 7.03 x 4.1 x 0.78 inches
- Shipping Weight: 0.43 pounds
Series: David Fickling Books
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 155.
- Review Date: 2008-02-18
- Reviewer: Staff
Fans of the His Dark Materials trilogy will get a kick from this wisp of a novel, which immediately introduces “a lean young man with a large hat, a laconic disposition, and a thin mustache”: Pullman offers up the backstory about that legendary Texan, the aeronaut Lee Scoresby, his jackrabbit daemon, Hester, and their first encounter with that other series favorite, the armored bear Iorek Byrnison. But this story reads as a stand alone, too, accessible to those unfamiliar with The Golden Compass and the rest. Bringing in his signature talents for rich scenic description and dramatic action, the story begins as Lee arrives on the island of Novy Odense, looking for work, and instead finds adventure. Notably, Pullman tells the story from Lee's perspective, trading in trilogy heroine Lyra's point of view for that of an adult man. Lee and Iorek team up to help a sea captain save his ship's cargo—unfairly embargoed by a corrupt local politician (he harbors a deep prejudice against armored bears)—and square off against the politician's bodyguard, a hired killer. Readers will appreciate this story's larger-than-life tenor, so fitting for the heroic Lee Scoresby. Kids will enjoy the extras, such as the pull-out board game Peril of the Pole (“for four to six players and their daemons”) and “newspaper” clippings. Illustrated throughout with small engravings; final art not seen by PW. Ages 12-up. (Apr.)