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The Amber Spyglass (His Dark Materials 10th Anniversary Editions) Hardcover – 24 Oct 2005


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic; 10th anniversary edition edition (24 Oct 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0439954630
  • ISBN-13: 978-0439954631
  • Product Dimensions: 16 x 3.6 x 20.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (402 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 195,640 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Philip Pullman was born in Norwich on 19th October 1946. The early part of his life was spent travelling all over the world, because his father and then his stepfather were both in the Royal Air Force. He spent part of his childhood in Australia, where he first met the wonders of comics, and grew to love Superman and Batman in particular. From the age of 11, he lived in North Wales, having moved back to Britain. It was a time when children were allowed to roam anywhere, to play in the streets, to wander over the hills, and he took full advantage of it. His English teacher, Miss Enid Jones, was a big influence on him, and he still sends her copies of his books.

After he left school he went to Exeter College, Oxford, to read English. He did a number of odd jobs for a while, and then moved back to Oxford to become a teacher. He taught at various middle schools for twelve years, and then moved to Westminster College, Oxford, to be a part-time lecturer. He taught courses on the Victorian novel and on the folk tale, and also a course examining how words and pictures fit together. He eventually left teaching in order to write full-time.

His first published novel was for adults, but he began writing for children when he was a teacher. Some of his novels were based on plays he wrote for his school pupils, such as The Ruby In The Smoke. He is best known for the award winning His Dark Materials series, consisting of Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass.

Product Description

Amazon Review

Philip Pullman brings The Amber Spyglass to the spellbinding His Dark Materials sequence, which dazzles everyone who reads it, children and adults alike. After the original Northern Lights, he kept up the quality in The Subtle Knife, the second title in the trilogy. Now he brings the series to an extraordinary conclusion. Will and Lyra, the two children at the heart of the books, have become separated amidst great dangers. Can they find each other, and their friends? Then complete their mysterious quest before it's too late? The great rebellion against the dark powers that hold Lyra's world, and many others, in thrall is nearing its climax. She and Will have crucial parts to play, but they don't know what it is that they must do, and terrible powers are hunting them down.

The pace of the book is compelling, the writing powerful. Pullman's plotting is intricate and cunning, surprising the reader again and again. Perhaps what is most striking of all, however, is the depth of the characterisation. Lord Asriel, Mrs Coulter, Iorek Byrnison the king of the armoured bears, a host of minor characters, most of all Will and Lyra themselves: the book is a library of beautifully drawn, remarkably convincing characters walking in worlds of marvels.

In this volume the cosmic dimensions of the story become more prominent, as a great conflict across many universes comes to a head--how well the narrative sustains such immensely weighty resonances is a question critics may well disagree on. The author's beliefs also come more into the open, and with them a polemic anti-religious theme that will please some readers and alienate others.

Philip Pullman's writing commands immense respect; more than that, it is raising the profile of the best children's books among adults, as demanding critics of all ages fall in love with this remarkable trilogy. --David Pickering --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

Philip Pullman’s masterpiece concludes in this BBC Radio 4 full-cast dramatisation. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Tom on 23 Jan 2003
Format: Paperback
In the final volume of his excellent "His Dark Materials" trilogy Pullman's narrative opens on to sweeping vistas of his imagination which dwarf all that went before. This is both the main strength and the principal weakness of "The Amber Spyglass". Whereas the previous books were tightly controlled and focused with many unanswered questions this book, in attempting to answer those questions and more besides, is inevitably sprawling. The sheer daring of Pullman's prose is surely to be applauded and the whole section in the underworld is as darkly satisfying as anything I can remember though less sinister then the other books for being so explicit.
It is in this book that Pullman's true purpose in writing is revealed and the trilogy in many ways occupies the space of allegory rather than true fantasy. And is all the better for it. I myself am Catholic and found the anti-church diatribes a little wearing at times. However the moral heart of these books are secure and there is little doubt that theocracy, bigotry and fanaticism are indeed evils. What is curious for such an avowedly atheist book is that it is in many ways profoundly religious and much of the wonder of it lies in its theological and metaphysical speculation.
Although the conclusion of the books is itself highly acceptable the actual execution is unfortunately a little limp. It is when Pullman shifts from allegory to direct preaching that he falters and the narrative flags. That said this is one of the more thought provoking books I have read in a while and when so much adult fiction deals with such mindlessly superficial subjects it is always refreshing to read something that tackles matters of importance. It's a damn good read too.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Flavia Rowson on 12 Jun 2009
Format: Paperback
The Amber Spyglass is one of the best books I have ever read and is suitable for people of any age apart from young children as the plot is quite complex with lots of twists and turns and a large number of characters so you could get a bit confused. It is a fast-paced book with plenty of action and is an amazing conclusion to a fantastic trilogy. The two main characters, Will and Lyra, are likeable and realistic and this makes you want to continue reading. The Amber Spyglass is also very different to most books you will have read before and captivates you from the beginning. Although it is long, you never feel tempted to skip a few pages or chapters like you might do with other long books, as everything that happens is relevant to the overall plot and you never get bored because there is too much description or dialogue.

The book's ending is also extremely good. It would have been easy for Philip Pullman to give it a happy, predictable ending, but instead, he chose to make it much more memorable. It is heartbreaking and suitably climatic for such a good book. Although you might wish Pullman had made the ending happier, it will definitely be one you will never forget.

Overall, if you have already read the first two books in this series, "The Amber Spyglass" is a must-read and if you haven't read any of them yet, you definitely should. You won't be disappointed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By hannah on 19 Mar 2004
Format: Audio Cassette
The third part of this wonderful series "The Amber Spyglass" does not let the reader down.
The final part takes us through many worlds each being somewhat familiar...yet completely different to our own. The wonder of this series is the invitation you are given to think about life and the world on several different plains and not see evereything as black and white....encompassing contrasting genres of science and religion in a universe filled with metaphor. There is a coaxing to read between the lines if you can handle what you might find.
If you read the first two in the series you will have developed a sense of familiarity with the characters, the main being Lyra. Throughout the first two novels we witness this rebellious little girl suffer pain, fear and heartache which she battles through growing in strength, courage and intelligence. Part 3 heralds an older Lyra who, at the same time as continuing her battle for a safe world and essentially trying to get home, is experiencing new emotions and coping with the knowledge that her existence must shortly change for ever.
The Amber Spyglass offers more war, struggle, self discovery, growth and love. Ending the trilogy in a way that leaves the reader inspired, enlightened and a little bit afraid for the world we know and the possibilities of worlds we don't.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 28 Dec 2003
Format: Audio CD
The cover-to-cover audio books of the Northern Lights trilogy is outstanding. Philip Pullman narrates his own work and other parts are dramatised. None of the subtlety is lost in these books, unlike the BBC version. Indeed as they are narrated by Pullman himself, I found my enjoyment and understanding of these complex and compelling books increased ten-fold. The audio books were thrilling car journey listening for adults, a 12-year old, 9-year old and two 8-year old boys.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Silas Wegg on 19 July 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Amber Spyglass wraps up His Dark Materials in a headlong race to the final battle with the Hosts Of Heaven. I have enjoyed these books so much. They are exceptionally well written and I have really come to care about what happens to Lyra, Will, Iorek and all the others.
This book is the deepest out of the three with so much happening in different places, which makes it easy to read just a bit more as you want to know what's happening to everyone else.
The descriptions are terrific, as are the characterisations. The plot is just mind-blowing.
I've said in reviews of the earlier books that I don't agree with Pullman's world-view and even more so in this book. I don't see God as some whimpering, frightened, impotent old man; but that didn't stop me from enjoying this series. I think my theology and philosophy of life can take a little battering from time to time. That's what makes it real. If it fell down, I'd have to start re-evaluating. But it didn't.
Philip Pullman is one of the best contemporary writers of fantasy fiction and long may he continue to wow his readership with amazing worlds and characters!
A wonderful series of novels no matter what your beliefs are. It's fiction, Jim; but not as we've known it.
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