When Lyra is studying at Oxford University, she comes across the story of Lee Scoresby and Iorek Byrnisson's first meeting, many years ago, along with much evidence of the adventure that brought them together. When a young Texan balloonist, Lee Scoresby, comes down to earth in the harbour of an Arctic town in the North, little does he realise that he is about to be embroiled in an out-and-out political brawl. Lee and his daemon, Hester, find themselves the target of political factions trying to take over the running (and oil) of the town. And also resident in the town are huge arctic bears, ignored and patronised by the people and treated like second-class citizens. When Lee and Iorek first meet, they cement a friendship that will continue throughout their lives, as the tensions and pressure in town lead to a deadly conclusion...Another wonderful tale from a master story-teller, giving us more extraordinary insight into the world of HIS DARK MATERIALS.