Michael Sheen has recorded the audiobook version of the first installments of Philip Pullman’s forthcoming Book of Dust trilogy.
The actor will read both the UK and US versions of the book which is due to be published on October 19th. The audiobook will also be out on the same day.
La Belle Sauvage opens 10 years before Northern Lights, the first in the original series, and has been described by Pullman as neither a sequel nor a prequel to His Dark Materials but an ‘equel’.
The book will follow the story of 11-year-old Malcolm Polstead alongside his dæmon, Asta, who live across the river from Godstow Priory, where the nuns are sheltering a baby, Lyra Belacqua, the heroine of His Dark Materials.
Sheen said that the “extraordinary journey” of Lyra and new hero 11-year-old Malcolm Polstead was “one of the most thrilling and enjoyable experiences” he has had as a performer.
The actor said: “The His Dark Materials trilogy had a profound effect on me. Rarely have I felt such loss on coming to the end of a story. So, as a reader and a fan, I was hugely excited on hearing that Phillip was returning to the story of Lyra and Dust and challenging the Authority. And, as an actor, it was a true privilege to be asked to record La Belle Sauvage, the first book of this new work.
“It was genuinely one of the most thrilling and enjoyable experiences I’ve had as a performer to sit in that darkened recording studio for three magical days and live inside the story of Malcolm and Lyra and their extraordinary journey.”
Philip Pullman praised the actor’s “passion” and “energy”.
He said: “I’ve long admired Michael Sheen not only for his astonishing versatility but also for the passion and energy he brings to all his roles. I was delighted to learn that he’d be willing to read the audiobook of La Belle Sauvage, and I’m sure that listeners will be very excited by the result.”
And here’s a clip of Sheen reading La Belle Sauvage.