Regular price: £25.99

Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free
  • 1 credit/month after trial – choose any book, any price
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel
  • Free, unlimited access to Audio Shows
  • After your trial, Audible is just £7.99/month
OR
In Basket

Summary

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

Overall

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    3,958
  • 4 Stars
    674
  • 3 Stars
    137
  • 2 Stars
    32
  • 1 Stars
    12

Performance

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    4,100
  • 4 Stars
    346
  • 3 Stars
    54
  • 2 Stars
    10
  • 1 Stars
    6

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    3,518
  • 4 Stars
    769
  • 3 Stars
    161
  • 2 Stars
    42
  • 1 Stars
    19
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

43 of 46 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

31 of 34 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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!

17 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

12 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Is there a better author and narrator combination?

Wow - just wow.

I've been an audiobooks listener and a Philip Pullman fan for many years and I can't remember listening to a book that was this well narrated before.

5 stars is not enough.

32 of 39 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

80% Perfect

I've been hoping it will be good and it didn't disappoint. However, too much of the book is taken up by the journey. It gets a bit repetitive... I would have welcomed more 'theory' rather than adventure, but I enjoyed it.

Oh and narration is perfect.

19 of 24 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Does not disappoint from start to finish

I loved everything about this book, and in particular Michael Sheen's reading of it. He has the most amazing ability to make you think that he's 11 and from Oxford or as ancient as the sky and able to fly on a piece of cloud pine. I was totally enraptured by his skill at telling this wonderful, wonderful story.

Philip Pullman has outdone himself by bringing us a story just as exciting as Northern Lights, with truly frightening characters and terrible, stomach churning events. I liked the way that the story moved from cosy surroundings to bring a subtle sense of threat and dread which soon becomes an ever present menace. His writing takes you along and never loses the urgency of the tale. After one day spent listening, I found myself exhausted because I had been living with Malcolm and accompanying him on his quest. When he was in peril, so was I; when he had a small victory, my heart filled up with a sense of warmth at his triumph.

All of the characters are so well drawn and there are so many shades of good and evil, which contrast beautifully to make this story so exciting. A real pleasure to listen to and I am sure that I will be listening to this again and again. I can't wait for the next instalment!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Amazing

So well narrated and totally engaging. Couldn't stop listening to it even waking up and listening at 3am! Glad to get some sleep tonight!

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Dominique Buck
  • 12-11-17

Nostalgia rekindled.

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

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Sverre
  • 31-10-17

brillianly written and brilliantly narrated!

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

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 11-05-18

the best narrator ever

I've never heard such a talented narrator.
Through his voice and tone ant intonation one can see the characters: it is so great!!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • stovie
  • 28-04-18

The best audiobook I have ever heard! I loved it!

I loved this adaption. The story was beautifully performed by Michael Sheen, and he voices all of the characters perfectly. I hope he gets to narrate the next book in the series.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Leo Saumure
  • 12-02-18

WOW! Just wow.

This was a fantastic companion piece to his Dark Materials Collection. I can't wait until the next installment.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Crescentman
  • 27-01-18

A Sound For Sore Ears

Superbly pacey story. The interweaving of fantasy within fantasy is intriguing and beautiful. Philip Pullman has done it again. The complexity of Malcolm and Alice is brilliantly drawn, Pullman never patronises his young readers. The performance is 5 star too.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 26-01-18

A novel for grown ups but also 'just' a good story

Fantastic narrator. Most intrigued by the daimons and dust and 'the story behind the story'.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 20-01-18

The Northern Lights are back!

Pullman pulls the reader back in to his beautiful world full of dæmons and magic. I'm glad to be back.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • william
  • 30-12-17

fantastic performance

Incredible performance from Michael Sheen of a terrific story. Highly recommended. I only wish he'd recorded more audiobooks.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mia Hauge Dollerup
  • 30-11-17

Wonderful story, great narration

A “prequel” to the series about Lyra, this book did not disappoint! Philip Pullman at his best: characters full of depth, engaging from beginning to end. A very good, dramatic narration. I would recommend this to any fan of His Dark Materials, and of fantasy in general!