First lines: Once Upon a Time in the North

Back in 2006 I read Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, and I promply placed it at the top of my list of the best books I read that year. In March 2007 I spend a little while with a small book that ties into the same world. Today, I read another His Dark Materials tie-in, a little blue book called Once Upon a Time in the North.

With just ninety pages and some illustrations, reading a book in an afternoon isn’t that much of an achievement. It’s a self-contained short story featuring two characters from the trilogy proper, and it’s a very compelling read. If not for the closing ceremony of the Olympics which was clammoring for attention in the background, I would have finished it even sooner.

I’d recommend the trilogy as a whole, but if you’d like a taste before you jump in, this certainly isn’t a bad place to start. Meanwhile, I’ll be waiting for the proper follow-up.

Philip Pullman — Once Upon a Time in the North
The battered cargo balloon came in out of a rainstorm over the White Sea, losing height rapidly and swaying in the strong northwest wind as the pilot trimmed the vanes and tried to adjust the gas-valve.