This is an interesting short story set around two years after The Amber Spyglass. Lyra has settled in to her school in Oxford.
The edition I have is lovely, a cloth-covered hardback. In addition to the story, there are a number of illustrations at the back, adding to the world building Pullman did so well in the original trilogy.
The story starts with Lyra relaxing on the roof of Jordan College, enjoying the late afternoon sun. She now has a key so she can easily get to the roof, rather than having to climb through windows as she did in Northern Lights. Her peace is broken when she sees a witch’s daemon being attacked by birds.
She helps the daemon escape, and is then drawn in to helping him find a particular person in Oxford his witch needs. This leads Lyra I to a dangerous situation from which she escapes from in an unusual way.
Having just finished La Belle Sauvage earlier today, I wondered if what happens in this story was somehow related to the scene with the fairy in that book. Malcolm and Alice were worried at the time that Lyra would be affected by this encounter, and what happens just might be part of that in some way. It will be interesting to see if there is more of this in Book of Dust #2.
One interesting addition to this world that we get in the story is that Lyra has to hide the daemon from other people. She knows that most people don’t know that a witch’s daemon can move large distances from their witch, and that for people to see a daemon by itself will attract a lot of attention. I had assumed that people seeing the daemon would just think it was a bird, but no, daemons are always immediately identifiable as daemons to everyone.
This was a charming half hour read that I think anyone who loved the world of His Dark Materials will enjoy.