“Once Upon A Time In The North” is another short book (after Lyra's Oxford) by Philip Pullman set in the fictional universe described by the His Dark Materials trilogy. The hero of this book is the aeronaut Lee Scoresby and the book tells the story of his first meeting with the armored bear Iorek Byrnison.
Fans of the “His Dark Materials” series would recognize these two as important characters who provide critical help to the heroine Lyra in her quest. Even if you are not a fan of the series or have never read any book in the series (or watched the eponymous TV series or film), I feel that you can still enjoy this nice little story on its own. (Of course, you might have to look up what a “daemon” is in this fictional universe to understand why the hero has a talking animal by his side at all times.)
The book has some beautiful illustrations accompanying it, especially of various items alluded to in the story, which nicely complement the story in helping you imagine the world described by the story. For a short while, you inhabit this fictional universe and enjoy the story deftly told by the author in a build-up to his next trilogy of books set in the same world.
If you are a fan of the original trilogy, you will surely enjoy this little book as chance to get to know more about two lovable characters. If you are not a fan (yet), you can still enjoy this short tale of adventure set in a world somewhat similar to ours.