Author: Philip Pullman
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy, Steampunk
Series: The Book of Dust Volume One
(Spoilers for His Dark Materials are below).
Eleven year old Malcolm Polstead works and lives at his father's inn, The Trout, attends school, and enjoys paddling his canoe La Belle Sauvage, when he's not quietly observing the wide array of eclectic adults that enter his home. It's being at the center of all these adults, and a quiet observer, that soon lands him the task of becoming a spy. A dangerous proposition to be sure, but as a spy he soon discovers it's the six month old baby, Lyra Belacqua, who's being secretly taken care of by the Priory across the bridge, that's in even more danger.