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The Ruby in the Smoke (Point) Paperback – 19 Mar 1999


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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Point; Revised edition edition (19 Mar 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0439010772
  • ISBN-13: 978-0439010771
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 741,643 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

Review

" A rip-roaring adventure story filled with cutthroat villains, dastardly deeds, sleazy opium dens, filthy London slums, and a delightful heroine...Splendid descriptions, plot twists and turns, and understated humor engage readers in this tale of murder, mayhem, and mystery." --School Library Journal (starred review) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Philip Pullman is the award-winning author of the bestselling His Dark Materials trilogy. He lives in Oxford, England. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 49 people found the following review helpful By S. Bailey VINE VOICE on 9 Jan 2007
Format: Paperback
As seen on TV, but the book is so much better. It's a thrilling chase through the dark back streets of Victorian London, in the best traditions of Conan Doyle, but with Pullman's own very unconventional twists.

Our heroine is Sally Lockhart, and she is certainly not a conventional Victorian. Brought up by her father, she can ride and shoot and speak Hindustani, though her knowledge of French or needlework is sadly lacking. Her father's death has thrown her on the mercies of an unwelcoming relative, and realising that she will never be happy as a lady's companion, Sally takes her meagre inheritance for herself and runs away.

What she runs to, however, is a mystery. People seem strangely anxious to find her. Incomprehensible messages arrive for her, apparently from her dead father. Sally's own nightmares seem to reveal something about her past, but how can she willingly dig deeper into their horror?

Sally is a fantastic heroine, utterly (almost implausibly) unbound by the habits of the society in which she lives. With a bohemian surrounding cast, Jim the messenger boy, Frederick the handsome photographer cum detective and his actress sister Rosa, the terrified Adelaide and reliable Tumbler, Pullman paints a vivid picture that is never less than gripping.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By "r_skaar" on 26 May 2003
Format: Paperback
Phillip Pullman is the one and only author I know, who manages to be true to the ideals of the period he describes (the 1860s) and interesting to readers today at the same time!
The Sally Lockhart-books, sett in the 1860's and 70's, feature tragedy and romance in true Victorian style. But Sally herself is not typically Victorian. A good English girl of the 1860's was supposed to play the piano, do needle point and polite conversation. Sally rides horses, shoot, and does calculus and financial consulting!
In this first Sally Lockhart book, Sally arrives in England, after spending her childhood in India. But when she hears that her father has died in a shipwreck, she knows her life will never be the same again. The novel features more villains and more dangerous criminals than any Victorian penny-dreadfull!
History itself does not give a good novel. But this novel is great. And I reccomend it to any reader older than 12, and younger than their grandparents.
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47 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Mikal on 5 Sep 2002
Format: Paperback
I read this on the back of reading the Dark Materials trilogy and after them I thought there could be no better, especially not the ruby in the smoke. Yet from the first page to the last I was completely wrong.
The new cast of characters are interesting, the fact that it is rather more realistic (apart from Will's world) than the his dark materials trilogy makes it all the better.The plot always makes a twist which you don't expect, many are unhappy but that what makes the book what it is. Its those qualities which means you cant put it down and that your constantly on the edge of your seat.
It's by far the best Pullman book I've read (i've yet to read the other three Sally Lockhart books) and it provides a good introduction to all the characters. Move over Harry Potter, Sally Lockhart's in town.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 11 Nov 2001
Format: School & Library Binding
After reading the His Dark Materials trilogy and thouroughly enjoying it, I decided to check out some more of Philip Pullman's books. I found the Ruby in the Smoke in my local bookshop and decided to give it a go. I thought that the characters were really interesting and loved the way that so many different people from different backgrounds all ended up in the one house in Burton Street. Pullman's "baddies" always have a decent reason for their wrong doings, and we always get to know why they did what they did, or why they're doing what they're doing! I would advise anybody who likes Pullman's work to go out and buy this book, and anybody who's new to it to go out and do the same. But beware one thing, there are books that follow on from The Ruby In The Smoke, and you may never work out the correct order! But overall, an excellent read!
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43 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Andy Dingley on 12 Oct 2001
Format: Paperback
Like many readers, I first encountered Philip Pullman through the Dark Materials trilogy. Enjoying those, I went on to read some of his older books too - and I wasn't disappointed!
The Ruby In The Smoke is set in the word of Victorian penny-dreadfuls, Sax Rohmer's world of opium dens and the evil Dr Fu Manchu. Heroes are square-jawed and clean-living, villians are evil twisted crones. Everything is as it should be, and the sun never sets on the British Empire.
It's not a complex book - simple virtues of honesty and loyalty to one's friends are rewarded. In the end, good triumphs over evil - but I'm sure we haven't seen the last of the evil An Lin...
4 1/2 stars, because it's not in the superlative category of The Subtle Knife, but it's still a rollicking good read.
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39 of 41 people found the following review helpful By purplepadma VINE VOICE on 1 Sep 2002
Format: Paperback
The Sally Lockhart books may not be quite as 'literary' as the His Dark Materials trilogy, but they are cracking good reads! If, like me, you are a sucker for the seamier side of Victorian London, you will love the menacing atmosphere of gaslit Bloomsbury and dark and dangerous docklands. The plot is complex and gripping - I would have preferred to read this at one sitting, but being an honest sort, I took it to work and read snatches in my breaks, rather than taking a sickie. What I really love about Pullman is that he is not afraid to place his child characters in 'unsuitable' situations; they fall in love, see drug use, kill in self defence, and generally behave like real people instead of conforming to the saccharine stereotype which used to enrage me as a child.
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