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La Belle Sauvage

The Book of Dust: Volume One
Narrated by: Michael Sheen
Series: The Book of Dust, Book 1
Length: 13 hrs and 14 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (444 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Winner of the Specsavers UK Author of the Year 2018.  

The British Book Awards Audiobook of the Year 2018.    

Penguin presents the audio download edition of La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman, read by Michael Sheen.  

Philip Pullman returns to the world of His Dark Materials with this magnificent first volume of The Book of Dust series. 

Eleven- year-old Malcolm Polstead and his dæmon, Asta, live with his parents at the Trout Inn near Oxford. Across the River Thames (which Malcolm navigates often using his beloved canoe, a boat by the name of La Belle Sauvage) is the Godstow Priory where the nuns live. Malcolm learns they have a guest with them - a baby by the name of Lyra Belacqua.... 

©2017 Philip Pullman (P)2017 Random House Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

"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." (Michael Sheen)

"The best piece of narration I've ever heard." (The Bookseller

"Michael Sheen's narration of Philip Pullman's new novel is better than an army of voice actors. His voice is impressive, from the crisp, definitive consonants of its higher registers to the rumbly bass notes Sheen summons when some menace enters the scene, to the vast, buttery expanse of his middle range." ( Slate)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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delightful. gripping. touching.

sweetness of children's characters and their daemons. exciting chases and horrifying encounters. very enjoyable. great narration by sheen.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great Story

Outstanding performance by Michael Sheen and a great new addition to the Dark Materials series.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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great

absolutely enjoyed, listening to this book, looking forward to the next book in the series

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The wonderful World of Philip Pullman

Absolutely wonderful. Had me enthralled from start to finish. Michael Sheen's narration is genius I really hope he's doing the next two.

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Really engaging


Back into the world of Lyra's Oxford, daemons Dust and Alethiometers. narrator marvellously good

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Book for young and old

I bought this for my kids but couldn’t stop listening to it - I want the next one !!

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Best Narration Ever

Started slow, and end was a little anticlimactic, but it was a great ride and Michael Sheen did a remarkable job narrating. The best ever. Each character was instantly recognizable.

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  • Emily
  • Sydney
  • 22-01-2019

A wonferful adventure

want to go on an exciting adventure? then the book of dust will take you away

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best book I've listened in ages

I love this series and Michael sheen is one of my favourite actors so to combine the two was perfect he didn't just narrate it he really performed it I only wish he narrated the other books.

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Superb narration.

Don't get me wrong, I loved the story, but Sheen's narration was just superb and lifted the whole story to a higher level. I wasn't sure about a prequel to a much loved series, but Pullman doesn't disappoint. I can't wait for the next installment!

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  • Dominique Buck
  • 12-11-2017

Nostalgia rekindled.

Loved it instantly. What a way to rekindle a live affair with a series that I met so long ago. ❤

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Sverre
  • 31-10-2017

brillianly written and brilliantly narrated!

Pullman has still got it! and Michael Sheen gives a brilliant reading from beginning to end!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Jacqui Koep
  • 13-11-2018

just amazing.

loved it. every bit as creative and exhilarating as his dark materials. listen to it!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 17-07-2018

Fantastic performance, thrilling story

The narrator was perfect, the story engaging. The characters were well developed and interesting. Can't wait for the next one!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Hanna Gudmundsdottir
  • 03-06-2018

Great follow up after the trilogy!

I really loved His Dark Materials trilogy so when I heard about this book I was so excited to get to visit this world again. I loved this story, the performance was excellent and it kept me in suspense the whole time! Can't wait for more!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • M GROTEPASS
  • 16-08-2019

Outstanding

I have not been so delighted with a book for ages. A brilliant performance à wonderful book.

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  • Mr.Nicolas.C.Stubbs
  • 09-08-2019

A gripping odyssey which oozes menace

Fantastic narrator, utterly terrifying at times! Philip Pullman does it again with his children's book that's more like an adult novel. Although clearly a set-up novel, this is still highly entertaining with its gripping plot and two main characters who are both likable and flawed. Most importantly, they are tangible characters who are easy to root for.

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  • Luna
  • 02-06-2019

Entertaining

The title is fitting for the book, as most of it happens on that boat. The plot didn't drag on, but sometimes I got a bit tired of the boatride. However, that is the only negative thing I could say about it. Pullman is a master of driving a story forward. Once he's got you hooked, he reels you in until the end of the book. I just couldn't stop listening and preordered the sequel the minute I was done. It's a bit too dark for young children, but enjoyable for listeners/readers 12 years and up, adults too.

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  • Trex
  • 23-06-2018

Wonderfully Written

Despite not a great deal happening technically, this is a wonderful book. Pullman is a masterful wordsmith & Sheen blows the best audio actors out of the water.

That wasn't a pun. I SWEAR ! ! !

I just wish I'd remembered more from His Dark Materials but it's been so long.

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  • Yoav Tirosh
  • 26-05-2018

Amazing narration, great book

couldn't stop listening to it, it's a really good prequel to His Dark Material, and the narration is great, a great substitute for Pullman's equally amazing voice

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  • Lorenzo
  • 21-10-2017

Gripping Story, Great Narrator

I’m a huge fan of His Dark Materials but when I first heard this book was in the works I was worried it wouldn’t be able to match HDM. Luckily all those fears were misplaced. The characters, story and prose in this book are beautiful, gripping and transporting.

I highly recommend La Belle Sauvage and think the narrator is one of the best I’ve heard. The characters all have their own voice and well... character. It’s easy to forget that it’s just a one-man cast. Sheen's performance transports me into a different world filled with daemons and intrigue within seconds.

I've missed this world and I'm glad to go back there.

57 of 60 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 22-10-2017

Extraordinary

This goes straight to the top of my all-time favourite audio books.

I looked forward to the start of Philip Pullman's second trilogy, chosing to listen instead of reading La Belle Sauvage. What an excellent decision. Michael Sheen elevated this captivating story of baby Lyra to a great drama. His delivery is exceptional. Each character has a voice. The performance is enthralling: so much energy and commitment. He brings to life the passions and fears of Malcolm and Alice as they struggle to protect baby Lyra. His horrific howling hyena stirs far more than the written word could. Please ensure he narrates the rest of the trilogy.

It's a very grown up children's book. Some reviewers have expressed concern that the sexual content and occasional strong language are inappropriate. Each incidence is relevant and valid for developing children as well as for us adult readers.

I'm looking forward to the story continuing with the adult Lyra. Meanwhile I'll reread His Dark Materials.

46 of 49 people found this review helpful

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  • Emilie
  • 04-11-2017

Extraordinary narration

It almost goes without saying that Philip Pullman's prose is always going to be hugely enjoyable. And he's chosen a really interesting plotline for the prequel - the story of baby Lyra. But I don't want to give too much away about that and spoil it for anyone. It's great. Can't wait for the next one.

The narration though - well. I can't summon up enough superlatives to sufficiently describe the quality of Michael Sheen's work on this book. It's sensitive, beautifully paced, with characterisations so finely observed that it's better than watching a film. His voicing of the villain of the piece - and his daemon - made my blood run cold. The denouement of the book had me listening, wide-eyed with fear and excitement, at two o'clock in the morning, because I just couldn't stop until I heard the end.

Honestly, possibly the best narration I have ever heard. I narrate audiobooks myself and I can only hope to begin to aspire to that kind of quality. Hats off to you, Mr Sheen. Fanbloodytastic.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-12-2018

What a let down!

His dark materials was fantastic - one of my favourite series. This however is a dull, dragged out tale of continuous suffering of the protagonists, which descends into plotless whimsy by the last few chapters. The premise and characters had a lot of potential but the overall impression was sadly that Pullman wanted to string out a moneyspinner with this lazy, linear, joyless story. The only plus is that the audio book is very well narrated.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Lily
  • 29-10-2017

Masterful Narration of a thrilling story!

It's ten to one in the morning and despite telling myself I really should stop listening and get to sleep I just couldn't tear myself away, so I listened right to the very end. Michael Sheen does an incredible job narrating this suspenseful tale; he moves effortlessly between voices, so much so that I honestly forgot they were coming from one person. I also loved the way he changed the volume and dynamic of his voice at the more action-filled suspenseful parts, it was totally thrilling listening! As for the story; it's full of familiar names and characters, and for those who remember the trilogy well, there are all sorts of little bits and pieces that add further context and richness to it. Loved the protagonists, Alice and her sass, and dear sweet gold-hearted Malcolm. I know some were disattisfied with the ending of the book but I thought it was wonderful; snappy and suspenseful like the rest of the book, and gives just enough for you to tie the threads together yourself. Can't wait to catch up with Lyra in the next installment! Thoroughly recommend this audio book!

20 of 22 people found this review helpful

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  • A. Smythe
  • 08-11-2017

Beautiful, wild and wonderful!

Wow! I loved this audiobook with a passion!

Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy holds a place among my favourite books ever, so I was waiting in great anticipation for this new story. My only reservation was that, this book would be read to me after I had read the originals the traditional way; I didn't want bad narration to ruin my experience. I simply don't have the time to read books the way I used to, so La Belle Sauvage was played during my drives to and from work.
I need not worry - the book is excellent and the narration was first rate. Michael Sheen performs the story with great enthusiasm and drama, helping to make all the characters distinct and full with his brilliantly nuanced accents and tones. Marvellous!

This book (of which this appears excitingly, to be only the first part of a new series) is related to the original three in terms of the world we see and the story arc itself. I'm sure you could read this and love it if you haven't read the HDM trilogy, but prior knowledge does add a depth and richness to La Belle Sauvage which might otherwise be missed.
I was thoroughly engaged throughout this beautiful and dramatic journey, I can't recommend it highly enough.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 24-10-2017

Pullman is back!

The best book I've encountered in a long time! Returning back to the world of Lyra and Daemons was a joy and yet there is plenty of new mystery and discovery that makes this book it's equal to the previous. Pullman has improved with age and the voice of Micheal Sheen was superb.

13 of 15 people found this review helpful

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  • Tracey Roberts
  • 23-01-2018

La Belle Sauvage

I read and enjoyed "His Dark Materials" trilogy many years ago, so I was excited to read another instalment from the world of Lyra. Philip Pullman didn't disappoint with his great story telling. The story was captivating and I love the character of Malcolm. The second half of the book was filled with tension and had me on the edge of my seat for most of it. Really looking forward to book 2.

The performance by Michael Sheen really brought the book to life. I hope he reads the next books in the series.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Heather
  • 22-01-2018

Best narration ever!

I absolutely loved this book. As a Pullman fan I had high expectations and it didn’t disappoint. Story romped along but the crowning glory is the wonderful narration. Michael Sheen is fantastic and made this the best listen ever!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Allyn J. Carter
  • 27-10-2017

Good, but not as good as I'd hoped

After such a long wait, I'd been expecting a masterpiece and this is not that. it's an exciting yarn, but amazing new concepts or ideas were thin on the ground.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful