Lyra and her daemon are eavesdropping when they uncover a plot to murder Lord Asriel. He has returned from the far North where h tells of strange sights-a beautiful city hovering in the sky above the pole, a shimmering Dust that settles on and delineates all but human children. Lyra is scarcely able to save his life before Lord Asriel is off again, on a quest to answer the riddle of th world. Meanwhile, children are disappearing, and when Lyra's derest friend is taken by the Gobblers, she determines to save him-a decision which leads her on a great journey, a journey that will lead to the discovery of her mother, a disastrous betrayal and the beginning of the unravelling of the mystery of Dust.
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.