Review of Serpentine – Philip Pullman (illustrations by Tom Duxbury)

Posted: September 14, 2021 in fantasy, Review

‘Lyra Silvertongue, you’re very welcome . . . Yes, I know your new name. Serafina Pekkala told me everything about your exploits’

Lyra and her daemon Pantalaimon have left the events of His Dark Materials far behind.
In this snapshot of their forever-changed lives they return to the North to visit an old friend,
where we will learn that things are not exactly as they seem . . .


Philip Pullman (illustrations by Tom Duxbury)


Supplied by Penguin Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Stephen Litten

LPra Silvertongue and Pantalaimon are in the region of Trollesund, accompanying a dig by Jordan College. Set after The Amber Spyglass, Lyra wants to talk to someone about her newfound “talent” – being able to separate from her daemon. Lyra wonders what the Witches would make of this.

Serpentine is set not long after The Amber Spyglass, and is about 70 pages long, though half of these are illustrations. Originally written as an auction piece for the UK National Theatre in 2004, this story raises several questions about Lyra and Pantalaimon’s relationship. And introduces a glimpse of ordinary folk who have been divorced from their daemon. Which leads inexorably toward The Secret Commonwealth.

Serpentine is similar to The Strange Library. Both are about the same length and illustrated. But for me the illustrations in Serpentine feel like they’d been tacked on, even though they fit the action in the story. The story is excellent. I thank Penguin New Zealand for the review copy.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.