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The Golden Compass: 1 (His Dark Materials) [Mass Market Paperback]

Philip Pullman
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (818 customer reviews)

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Library Binding 9.81  
Paperback 5.59  
Mass Market Paperback, May 1997 --  
Audio, CD, Audiobook 19.98  
Audio Download, Unabridged 8.05 or Free with Audible.co.uk 30-day free trial

Book Description

May 1997 His Dark Materials (Book 1)
In a landmark epic of fantasy and storytelling, Philip Pullman invites readers into a world as convincing and thoroughly realized as Narnia, Earthsea, or Redwall.  Here lives an orphaned ward named Lyra Belacqua, whose carefree life among the scholars at Oxford's Jordan College is shattered by the arrival of two powerful visitors.  First, her fearsome uncle, Lord Asriel, appears with evidence of mystery and danger in the far North, including photographs of a mysterious celestial phenomenon called Dust and the dim outline of a city suspended in the Aurora Borealis that he suspects is part of an alternate universe.  He leaves Lyra in the care of  Mrs. Coulter, an enigmatic scholar and explorer who offers to give Lyra the attention her uncle has long refused her.  In this multilayered  narrative, however, nothing is as it seems. Lyra sets out for the top of the world in search of her kidnapped playmate, Roger, bearing a rare truth-telling instrument, the compass of the title.  All around her children are disappearing—victims of so-called "Gobblers"—and being used as subjects in terrible experiments that separate humans from their daemons, creatures that reflect each person's inner being.  And somehow, both Lord Asriel and Mrs. Coulter are involved.  


Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 351 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books Inc.; Ballantine Books ed edition (May 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345413350
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345413352
  • Product Dimensions: 19.3 x 12.7 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (818 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,957,766 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

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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
334 of 358 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Golden Compass AKA Northern Lights 29 Oct 2003
By mbogle VINE VOICE
Format:Mass Market Paperback
WARNING
Please be aware that this book was previously sold as 'Northern Lights' and is the first book of the trilogy and NOT a new book. I was very excited when I saw this as I had hoped that it was. I would recommend the trilogy to anyone as it has an easy reading style while at the same time appealing to adults. Something that is rare.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Too gripping to listen to whilst driving! 17 Jan 2003
Format:Audio CD
Now that Philip Pullman's work is available in several audio versions, you may be wondering what makes each one distinctive, and, considering the large differences in price, which one to chose. This version is a complete and unabridged reading, the author himself is the narrator, but there is also a full cast to give voice to each character.
The plot: briefly, as this title has been thoroughly reviewed in its book form only a few mouse-clicks from where you are now:
In a parallel world to our own, feisty 12-year-old Lyra and her daemon live in a recognisable-yet-different Oxford, where they eavesdrop on a secret meeting of scholars and their charismatic visitor Lord Asriel. She hears mysterious tales of Dust, a city that hangs in the air above the Aurora Borealis, and an expedition that ended in a gruesome murder. Lyra's friend Roger disappears, stolen like many other children by the Gobblers, and then she herself is taken from Oxford to live with the sinister Mrs Coulter. Rescued by gyptians she learns who her true parents are, and that the stories and disappearance of her friend are connected. Travelling with the gyptians to the frozen North, Lyra is drawn into a savage struggle among the armoured bears and witch-clans of the Arctic. At the experimental research station of Bolvangar Lyra finds the lost children, where horrific experiments are being performed upon them. To fulfil a prophecy, Lyra's journey leads her to the ice-forts of Svalbard, the rescue of her father and eventually to the city behind the Northern Lights, but only after she has made a terrible betrayal.
What does this dramatised reading bring to the story? Philip Pullman narrates his own work well.
Read more ›
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38 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No comparison, so don't try 25 Oct 2007
Format:Paperback
Firstly, I am tired of reviewers 'comparing' this trilogy to JK Rowlings Potter Series. Secondly, There is no comparison. Meaning you may as well compare Chocolate with Steak. Both have their place at a well planned dinner table! We need to be reading a balanced meal.
I love The HP books equally as I do the 'His dark Materials' Trilogy.If you're looking to replace the 'Potter' rush with the Pullman books, it won't happen, this is a deeper and darker league. You will find yourself drawn into places and plots, lives and ideas almost impossible for many an imagination. Perfectly written and a great main course after the 'Potter' starter, however, I will be returning to the be-specticaled one for dessert. (The lighter option) Again, I say... No Comparison, maybe complimentary.
Enjoy your time with His Dark Materials,lose yourself in the questions the books will awaken and be prepared to miss your stop if you read it on the bus! I just hope the up-coming film does Pullman justice.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Show and tell... 18 Aug 2011
Format:Paperback
After years of hype about this novel I finally got round to reading it as I have to teach it to Year 8 in the coming year. Much of this book is amazing and wonderful and well imagined. But in the end [once the Dust has settled] the overall impression is that it is just too much telling and not enough showing as another reviewer has mentioned - which is the First Law of novel writing. The poor reader is bludgeoned by 'Science' until he just has to surrender and accept it. Lyra is supposed to have little imagination but her non existent reaction to the revelations about her real parents is not believable. A pity. I liked the daemons with the humans - a master stroke but in the end there was just too much lecturing - as at any University!
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113 of 126 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ALSO KNOWN AS: Northern Lights!!! 21 April 2004
By Chrestomanci VINE VOICE
Format:Mass Market Paperback
If, like myself, you think you've just discovered a hitherto unheard of book in the Dark Materials Saga. Sorry ... you haven't. This is in fact'Northern Lights' with an alternate title. So, why has this book been called something else?
Well, when overseas publishers buy publication/distribution rights, they occasionally change a book's title if they feel this will work better for their target audience. Remember how 'Harry Potter & the Philosopher'sStone' became 'Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone' when released in America. This particular edition of 'Northern Lights' is the same kind of thing.
That being said ... if you haven't read 'Northern Lights' A.K.A. 'The Golden Compass' ... then why not? It's a jolly exciting read! The first part of a hugely successful trilogy, the adventure starts on page one and never lets up. However, if you're new to Pullman's books, and intend to start reading them, begin with 'Northern Lights;' or better still, why not chose one of the compilation editions containing all three books together.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars WONDERFULL 4 Jan 2007
Format:Paperback
I was recommended this book and now i am recommending it to others.

It is a great tale for young and old, keep you reading even past your tube stop...and that is when you know it is a good book...enjoy
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
thanks
Published 2 days ago by inga Montvilaite
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Was a different cover than the pic I bought the whole set and this just doesn't match them now
Published 17 days ago by Lisa-Marie Armstrong
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible
Seriously I love this series. Read it as a teenager, wanted to read it again as it was so memorable.
Published 1 month ago by Mr. Stephen W. Ballard Ltd
5.0 out of 5 stars northern lights
I brought this book for an open university module so did exactly what I needed it for. Excellent value for money and in good condition. Read more
Published 3 months ago by jan
5.0 out of 5 stars MY FAVOURITE BOOK
This book is a classic and I would recommend that it become essential reading for anyone over the age of 16 years. It is an indictment of the society In which we live. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Alan Marston
5.0 out of 5 stars Book Club recommendation
This book was our book club choice, throughly enjoyed it eventhough it is classed as a childs book>
very different>
Published 7 months ago by cas
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this and be hooked
What an unusual, thought provoking story. I loved it. After reading this, you will be unable to resist the next two in the trilogy. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Mrs. S. M. McALPINE
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Read
Phillip Pullman books are very good and absorbing would love to have had this as a film to link to the Golden Compass.
Published 8 months ago by lynne hartman
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic read
This is one of my top ten favourite books. Set in a different parallel in time with wonderful descriptions of Oxford. This is definitely a must read for all teens and up. Read more
Published 8 months ago by valmypal
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
I bought the numbered/signed by author hardback copy of this book for 40 pounds and I am overwhelmed by it! Read more
Published 8 months ago by Manny Pearce
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