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His Dark Materials Trilogy: Northern Lights, Subtle Knife, Amber Spyglass [Paperback]

Philip Pullman
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (412 customer reviews)

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Book Description

3 Nov 2008 His Dark Materials
Philip Pullman's classic trilogy is now available as a stunning, large-format, bind-up edition. Since the first volume was published in 1995, and has now been filmed as The Golden Compass, the trilogy has been acclaimed as a modern masterpiece, and has won the UK's top awards for children's literature. Today, the fabulous story of Lyra and her daemon i read and loved by adults and children alike. The extraordinary story moves between parallel universes. Beginning in Oxford, it takes Lyra and her animal-daemon Pantalaimon on a dangerous rescue mission to the ice kingdoms of the far North, where she begins to learn about the mysterious particles they call Dust - a substance for which a terrible war between different worlds will be fought... "This trilogy is one of the great imaginative works in the English language. And it contains one of the best villains in all literature." - Terry Jones Philip Pullman has won the CILIP Carnegie Medal, the Guardian Children's ...

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Product details

  • Paperback: 1024 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic; new paperback edition edition (3 Nov 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1407109421
  • ISBN-13: 978-1407109428
  • Product Dimensions: 15.4 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (412 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 138,695 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

The Northern Lights
Lyra's life is already sufficiently interesting for a novel before she eavesdrops on a presentation by her uncle Lord Asriel to his colleagues in the Jordan College faculty, Oxford. The college, famed for its leadership in experimental theology, is funding Lord Asriel's research into the heretical possibility of the existence of worlds unlike Lyra's own, where everyone is born with a familiar animal companion, magic of a kind works, the Tartars are threatening to overrun Muscovy, and the Pope is a puritanical Protestant. Set in an England familiar and strange, Philip Pullman's lively, taut story is a must-read and re-read for fantasy lovers of all ages. The world-building is outstanding, from the subtle hints of the 1898 Tokay to odd quirks of language to the panserbjorne, while determined, clever Lyra is strongly reminiscent of Joan Aiken's Dido Twite.

The Subtle Knife
At the end of The Northern Lights, Lyra Silvertongue watched in fear and fascination as her father, Lord Asriel, created a bridge between worlds. Lyra and her daemon, Pantalaimon, are now lost in an alternate universe where they meet Will Parry, a fugitive from a third universe. Will has found a small window between Cittagazze (a place where children roam unchecked but invisible Specters suck the spirit out of adults) and his Oxford, which, with its Burger Kings and cars, is frighteningly different from the Oxford Lyra knows. Will's father, an explorer, disappeared years ago, but recently some odd characters have started asking questions about him, and now, having accidentally killed one of them, Will is wanted by the police. Armed with The Subtle Knife, a tool that cuts any material (including that which separates universes) and Lyra's alethiometer, the children set out to find John Parry, with adults of various stripes in desperate pursuit. Lyra's finest qualities--her courage and quick mind--are stretched to the limit as she has to lie, cheat and steal to keep herself and Will out of danger. However, she must also learn when to tell the truth and when to trust, for though she does not yet know it, she has a huge part to play in the upcoming battle between Good and Evil.

The Amber Spyglass
Philip Pullman began the spellbinding His Dark Materials sequence with The Northern Lights, which dazzled everyone who read it, children and adults alike. Remarkably, he kept up the quality in The Subtle Knife, the second title in the trilogy. Here he brings the series to an extraordinary conclusion. Will and Lyra, the two children at the heart of the books, have become separated amid great dangers. Can they find each other, and their friends? Then complete their mysterious quest before it is too late? The great rebellion against the dark powers that hold Lyra's world in thrall (and many others) 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. In this volume the cosmic dimensions of the story become more prominent, as a great conflict across many universes comes to a head. The author's beliefs also come more into the open. 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. 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.

Review

"One of the supreme literary dreamers and magicians of our time" (The Guardian)

"Philip Pullman. Is he the best storyteller ever?" (The Observer) --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Epic Trilogy in one Epic Volume 1 Feb 2008
By Robbie Swale VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover
Philip Pullman's trilogy is a spectacular achievement, and you only have to look at the hundreds of reviews around the Internet to get a flavour of the positive feeling towards these stories. From my point of view, they are probably the best stories I have ever read, and fill your mind with the most amazing pictures, the most intense emotions and the most spectacular twists and turns you are ever likely to come across.

This edition is a three-in-one hard back, which could easily sit on your shelf alongside Lord of the Rings. It's a re-issue of the edition I own (which has a black cover, not the blue one shown in this picture), and I must admit that my romanticism leaves me really liking big, hard back books. This volume wouldn't be out of place on a story-teller's knee in front of a fire, and is a lovely way of giving someone these wonderful stories.

Also, it puts the books together as one story which, in all honesty, is what they are. One long, brilliant story.
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71 of 74 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great gift set of the great books 18 Jan 2008
By Robbie Swale VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
Enough has been said about how wonderful these books are. In my opinion they are the most brilliant and life-affirming books I have ever read. The important thing about this product, though, is it is the best gift-set I could find of the books.

It's three paperbacks, with the best covers available, in a box. If you want to give His Dark Materials as a gift, then for me it's either this, or the all-in-one hard back.
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197 of 207 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't expect an easy ride... 2 Aug 2002
By D. O'Brien VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
In Philip Pullman's epic His Dark Materials trilogy, the author presents us with alternate worlds, strange characters, corrupt theology, and theoretical physics, all woven together into a gripping whole.
For those readers who have completed the Harry Potter books, and are looking for something of the same kind (as I was when I began reading this trilogy), I'd advise you to drop any pre-conceived notions about how 'young adult' fiction is written - these books have bite. Main characters are subject to questionable morals, the plots are trully labrynthine, the whole Christian notion of the nature of the Universe is picked apart almost in disgust, and characters that you find yourself caring about do die.
To compare this trilogy to Harry Potter (which I enjoyed) is to compare wine to fruit juice.
As the author himself admits, the three books are really all one book, in much the same way as The Lord Of The Rings. I defy anyone to read the first story and not want to immediately start on the second, then the third.
The tale focuses on a girl called Lyra, raised as an orphan, but with a great destiny. Her adventures begin with a struggle against the all-powerful Christian church in her world, which is parallel to our own, but with many subtle differences.
This struggle leads to a greater one, and a greater one, until her final destiny is revealed - one that has implications for all the parallel worlds in the Universe.
Bringing together cosmology, physics, and christian theology, the trilogy presents a unified theory of the Universe, one in which even God himself may not be everything he seems (please be aware from the outset that Christians may find many of the aspects of this Universal theory uncomfortable, but also remember, it's only a story).
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
By bernie TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
Someone once described "His Dark Materials" by Philip Pullman as she gets caught, she escapes, she gets caught again, she escapes again, then she gets caught, then she escapes. This may be true but the real substance of the epic is the how and why.

It is the "how" that holds the story together. We are intrigued with Lyra's ability to plan and lie her way out of trouble. Eventually it is the truth that sets her free.

The "why" she is being sought and the "why" she must go on brings us many conundrums that we not only face in the tale but also in our real life.

Lyra must fulfill a prophecy; however if she becomes aware of her destiny, that destiny may never happen. For those readers who have read Josef Campbell you will recognize the classic Hero's Journey where a person coming of age must sacrifice the apron strings and face the challenge of adulthood. This includes going into a dark place and confronting an unknown which usually is ones own fears and ego. From there they are reborn to become a fully functional person in society.

Oh, did I forget to tell you that this is a fun read.
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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just buy it. 18 Nov 2001
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
I don't have Pullman's way with words, so I can't express how good this trilogy is. I can't describe how intricately it's plotted, how widely it's imagined or how deeply it's felt. I can't conjure the dazzling array of characters that Pullman has created - all of them complex, all of them with their flaws and their contradictions - nor can I convey how intelligent this story is, or how truthful, how moving.
But it is all these things and more.
If you want to read something that will change the way you look at the world, that will move you to laughter and to tears, and that will keep you awake long into the night shaking with wonder and with fear, then read this book.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
I bought this set not knowing what to expect, but hearing good things about it, I was not disappointed.

For me Northern Lights is the best fiction book I have read for about 5 years, even beating such luminaries as 1984. Buy it for your children and read it for yourself. After the first chapter I was hooked, and by the end of the series I felt like one of the characters who loved Lyra like a daughter.

Lyra's world is more convincing than Narnia or Potter's world, and will certainly make you think more than either of those series. It deals with so many ideas and themes I question how a child could fully appreciate these books.

My only criticism was that I was never fully convinced by Mrs Coulter, but that's just me trying to pick faults with a master piece.

Read it and love it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful Version of a Cracking Trilogy
I love these books.

Love them.

There is so much in them, in each of them. Children enjoy it because it is a fun world and a fun read, and adults enjoy... Read more
Published 6 days ago by Tamara Cobb
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Book
Haven't read it yet but it's a Good book with a Hard cover. Had been sent in good condition. Proper price. fast delivery.
Published 9 days ago by Chayapa Charoencholwanich
5.0 out of 5 stars amazing
Great book, I am a massive bookworm so I love all books but I would definitely recommend this book to my friends and family.

One of the best trilogies I had read!
Published 1 month ago by becccci
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful story
I bought this as I had just finished the Harry Potter series and wanted something which I would enjoy as much. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mrs DL Thompson
5.0 out of 5 stars Very satisfying
This book was recommended by a fellow Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones fan and while it is less adult in nature it didn't disappoint.
Published 2 months ago by Ms Sarah M Ryan
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing!
Always gets compared to Harry potter, but this is much more grown up, much more infesting, deals with a million other deep questions and quandaries...
Read it. It's amazing.
Published 2 months ago by Jamie
5.0 out of 5 stars You simply have to read this..
Stunningly well written, it whisks you away from every day life in a way only J R R Tolkien or Steven King did with the Dark Tower novels. FIRST CLASS
Published 2 months ago by mark raymond everest
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
I would recommend this book to everyone. I purchased the hard back collection of all three of the Dark Materials series. Read more
Published 2 months ago by RiverVictorious
5.0 out of 5 stars 65 & never read these books...
so I'm enjoying them now. Very well written with great imagination but only just started the 2nd book. Very exciting and move along at good pace. Read more
Published 2 months ago by EssexGurl
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best.
I can't say how many times I've read this set of books now, but each time it gets better and will forever remain my favourite trilogy book set.
Published 3 months ago by Mr Miller
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