It’s been six years since British author Philip Pullman last transported readers and listeners to the world of the bestselling His Dark Materials trilogy. But audiobook fans can now travel back to Lyra Belacqua’s Oxford via “The Collectors,” an original short story written exclusively for and narrated by British actor Bill Nighy. The title is available to members beginning January 12.

In the new tale, Pullman introduces art collectors Horley and Grinstead, who hold a discussion in the Senior Common Room at Oxford about pieces that Horley has recently acquired. The artwork has a connection to the sinister Mrs. Coulter.

“The Collectors” is making its U.S. debut following a rousing reception across the Atlantic. “We always do a holiday gift for our members, offering them a free piece of content,” says Matthew Thornton, senior director of communications for Audible. “ ‘The Collectors’ was that in the U.K. last year.” According to Thornton, Audible’s U.K. team approached Pullman to write a short piece that they could give away. “He loved the idea,” Thornton says.

When the author agreed to come on board, he began mulling what he might write about. “I’d have to say that the subject chose me, really, in the way they always do,” Pullman said in an email. “I wanted to tell a story of the sort that the great English writer of ghost stories M.R. James might have thought of. Audible suggested that I could do something that touched on His Dark Materials, and so I conceived the idea of these two art collectors and their coming briefly into contact with one of the characters I always liked writing about, namely Mrs. Coulter. And no one can meet Mrs. Coulter without being damaged.”

A fan of the audio format, Pullman served as narrator for the full-cast productions of the His Dark Materials recordings several years ago. He says he was intrigued by the thought of creating original material for recording. “It was just the idea of writing for voice,” he says. “I’d never done exactly that before, and it was a challenge I enjoyed very much.”

When it came time to give “The Collectors” recording an actual voice, the Audible U.K. team discussed a number of options and then discovered that “Bill Nighy and Philip [Pullman] are mutual admirers,” says Thornton. Reaction from U.K. fans has been enthusiastic thus far, and Thornton is hoping for an equally robust response from U.S. listeners. “An original story from Philip Pullman with a great narrator kind of markets itself,” Thornton notes. “But we hope to reach a broad crossover audience that includes Pullman fans and His Dark Material fans. Customer reviews are a big thing on our site, and some of the five-star reviews we’ve received already are amazing.”

With “The Collectors,” Audible continues to build its presence in the expanding arena of original-to-audio titles. The company has already released 30 original works and has “at least that many in the pipeline,” according to Thornton. Recent successes have included The Starling Project, a November full-cast audio drama written by bestselling author Jeffrey Deaver; The Child by German writer Sebastian Fitzek and featuring an all-star British cast; and Hamlet Prince of Denmark: A Novel, a twist on the Shakespearean tale by A.J. Hartley and David Hewson, read by Richard Armitage.

Thornton cites as an example that sales of The Child have been equivalent to or greater than other New York Times bestselling authors in the same genre. “It’s another way to surprise and delight our customers with content they can’t get anywhere else,” says Thornton of the trend. “We are continuing to attract creators of all stripes who are drawn to this storytelling medium,” he adds. “There is more wiggle room now in audio as we see more format-agnostic media consumption.”

Click through below to hear an excerpt from the story.