La Belle Sauvage, the first of the projected trilogy The Book of Dust, is a worthy successor to Pullman's immensely popular fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials. A kind of prequel, La Belle Sauvage deals with the rescue from dark forces of a mysterious baby named Lyra by an unlikely pair of protectors, a great flood, and an edge-of-your-seat boat chase down the flooded Thames.
The whole thing is a pure delight. Fantastic but also realistic -- not only must the protectors elude one of the nastiest villains around, they also have to keep finding fresh supplies of food and diapers for their charge.
I look forward to the rest of the trilogy -- alas, not yet published.
The first trilogy concerns Lyra, no longer a baby but a young girl with coming into her powers, a young girl who, the witches of the North say, will change the world. Lyra has been raised in an Oxford college to keep her safe from the insidious forces of a religion/government cabal but she is pitched from the safety of Jordan College into a series of adventures, both in her own world -- which is not quite like our own (anbaric power! zepplins, armored polar bears! daemons!) -- and various parallel worlds.
I gulped down The Book of Dust in such a hurry to find out what happened that I know I missed a lot. So I'll re-read it -- but I think I'll re-read the other three first. Pullman has built such a many-layered universe, so full of incident and meaning that I'll be happy to return.