A New novel by Philip Pullman, starts off this way
Eleven-year-old Malcolm lives with his parents at the Trout Inn near OxfAdd Neword, across the river Thames from Godstow Priory, where the nuns are looking after a special guest. One night his father comes to Malcolm’s bedroom.
“Malcolm, you en’t in bed yet—good. Come downstairs for a minute. There’s a gentleman wants a word with you.”
“Who is it?” said Malcolm eagerly, jumping up and following his father out.
“Keep your voice down. He’ll tell you who he is if he wants to.”
A special guest with an urgent mission has come to visit young Malcolm. The Observer offers more of the story.