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The Subtle Knife: BBC Radio 4 Full-Cast Dramatisation (Radio Collection) [Audiobook] [Audio CD]

Philip Pullman
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (229 customer reviews)

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Book Description

5 Nov 2007 Radio Collection (Book 2)
Philip Pullman's thrilling fantasy comes alive in this BBC Radio 4 dramatisation. A breathtaking epic, the award-winning "His Dark Materials" trilogy spans a multitude of worlds. The second instalment, "The Subtle Knife", introduces Will Parry - a young boy in search of his long-lost explorer father. Will's discovery of an extraordinary 'window in the air' near the Oxford ring road leads him out of our world and into the strange and unsettling Cittagazze. There he meets Lyra, a girl who is herself searching for something: the secret of the mystical substance Dust. Moving back and forth through the portal, Will and Lyra join forces in their quest. As they make allies and enemies along the way, they also learn of the subtle knife. An object which many would kill to possess, the knife has incredible powers, and Will finds himself reluctantly in a fight for its possession. Ray Fearon, Emma Fielding, Peter Marinker and Jack Klaff are amongst the cast in this gripping dramatisation.

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Product details

  • Audio CD: 2 pages
  • Publisher: BBC Audiobooks Ltd; reissue edition (5 Nov 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0563529032
  • ISBN-13: 978-0563529033
  • Product Dimensions: 14.2 x 12.4 x 1.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (229 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 260,032 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

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--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 some odd characters have started asking questions about him. Will has managed to accidentally kill one of them and 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 are her courage and her quick mind. She finds she must use them constantly--not to put too fine a point on it, she must lie and steal to keep herself and Will out of danger. However, she must also know when to tell the truth and when to trust. She does not yet know--though her friends the witches do, and so does the reader--what a huge part she will have in the upcoming battle between Good and Evil. (Age 9 and over) - -Amazon.com --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 stars by a mile 7 Dec 2005
I'm normally reluctant to give 5 stars as overusage makes truly classic books difficult to differentiate, particularly when the book is part of an all-too-common trilogy. However I had no qualms about doing it here.
The Subtle Knife develops the main character Lyra from her adventures and early path to maturity in the Northern Lights and introduces her key comrade Will, as they battle together against and with forces they do not understand.
The story line is tight, well structured and flows at a remarkable pace. The way in which Pullman brings modern theories of Physics into an adventure story is quite an achievement.
A wonderful read.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sinister as you like 7 Feb 2003
By Tom
When the three parts of a trilogy form such a unity as in His Dark Materials it is perhaps a bit rash to compare them too closely but, like Star Wars, the middle is the best. Although perhaps lacking some of the darkness and sheer imaginative verve of the Amber Spyglass The Subtle Knife still delivers more overall. This is the most sinister book of the three and the most satisfying. The canvass is much more expansive then the Northern Lights but does not yet lose it self somewhat in the infinite splendour of the last book.
This is also our first introduction to Will, who provides an excellent foil for Lyra and is a wholly darker and more complex character. It is through Will and his discovery of the eponymous knife that the plot takes shape and that all the ideas of the whole trilogy finally come to be hung. The fact that Pullman's big ideas are still subsumed and mysterious also sets this book above its successor. The section in the Torre degli Angeli is the most gloriously sinister of the trilogy. The hatred of the children Paulo and Angelica, though almost incidental to the plot, gives a real bite to the central section of the book that is more disturbing then the metaphysical terrors of the Amber Spyglass.
Like Empire Strikes Back though the end is necessarily weak. I was lucky enough to have the next volume to hand and so could just plough straight on. Otherwise this leaves you hanging in mid air with many loose threads still flapping around. That said there is a denouement of sorts when Will finally meets his father, again just like Empire, but that doesn't go all together as expected.
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96 of 102 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better Than Harry Potter? Yes! 9 Jun 2001
By A Customer
Let's just get this clear - I will read anything. I am never not in the middle of reading a book. Whenever I know I'm nearly at the end of one book, I go out and buy another. I can't stand not having a book to read. Let's get another thing clear - I'm only thirteen, so adults reading this might not want to read my opinion - that's fine by me. Ok.
I have all the Harry Potter books, and my friend recommended Northern Lights to me because she said it was like a girl power equivalent to Harry Potter. I thought that sounded pretty cool, so I gave it a go. I realised that it is nothing like Harry Potter at all! Harry Potter is a *normal* boy in *our* world doing *normal* stuff with a twist of magic. The "His Dark Materials" trilogy is set mainly in *fantasy* worlds, but I suppose that you could say Lyra is kind of normal. Apart from the fact that she has a little Daemon called Pantalaimon. In fact, to her a daemon is normal - apparently seeing somebody without a daemon is like seeing somebody without a head - that's the kind of thing that makes this trilogy good.
This particular book is better than Northern Lights, in my opinion. There's a boy and a girl (Lyra and Will). They both come from different worlds - but they're kind of like parallel universes - there is an Oxford in Lyra's world, but it has certain features that are different, such as the aforementioned daemons and a certain Jordan College, which is not at the *real* Oxford Uni. Then there's ANOTHER world which is totally different. Things called spectres haunt and drown the souls of the adults, but the kids are unaffected. How creepy? And you can hear angels - and there are witches... It's all very creepy, which is v. cool.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
When I finished the prequel to this book, I knew that I must get this. I hoped that this would be as good as "Northern Lights". I was not let down. The end of Northern Lights finished at a real cliff-hanger... The book begins with an unknown character to us, Will taking his mother to see a neibour. Will as you will notice lives in a very different world to Lyra's. One that I think we will all be familyar with. Soon Will climbs trough a magic window and is taken to a different world... Soon he meets up with Lyra Silvertounge a girl with a destiny. Lyra is amazed when she steps into the Oxford that she doesnt know, and is amazed by all the cars and lorrys. They are soon launched into a thrilling quest against good and evil, and discover the mystery of the legendery subtle life. Like its prequel this ends at a real cliff hanger, but to find out what that cliff hanger is..... You will have to read the book yourself. This is why I award this astonishing book 5 stars.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Phillp Pullmans the Subtle Knife is an excellent sequel to his first book Northern Lights.
I found it very easy to get into and interesting right from the start. In this book another few characters are introduced such as Will who comes from our world and John Parry also from our world. It also enters another world where the people are haunted by strange things- a bit like ghost.
I found the ending rather disappointing because not all of the mysteries were explained but I suppose that is what makes you long for the next book which I am going to read as soon as Amazon send it to me!
I would recommend this book for children aged 11-14 because some of the concepts are pretty hard to grasp. Such as the idea of the spectres who haunt people and feed on "demons". To us this sounds very weird and sinister but demons in this book are not evil in any way but completely different beings to our understandings of demons.
So as you can see-in the world of this book many things are different to our world so younger children may not be able to understand it as well as 12-14 year olds.
Thanks and get the book-its really great!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great item, fast delivery, A*
Published 24 days ago by Rach from Nottinghamshire
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Very good
Published 1 month ago by Sarah Slater
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read
One of the best books I have ever read. Part of a series of three. This was my favourite.
Published 1 month ago by Helen Lennox
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Seriously I love this series. Read it as a teenager, wanted to read it again as it was so memorable.
Published 3 months ago by Mr. Stephen W. Ballard Ltd
5.0 out of 5 stars not just for teenagers
granted it was my daughter that bought the first books but i got this one after getting hooked on the first on just so we had the set. Read more
Published 4 months ago by KARL MITCHELL
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
Delivered quickly for my daughter aged 11, who loved the book as she is Philip Pullman mad. Recommend this book and the others in the series.
Published 4 months ago by Zaki Akhtar
5.0 out of 5 stars comment
I am a great fan of Philip Pulman's Dark Materials trilogy and think he is a brilliant and imaginative author. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Mina Bowater
5.0 out of 5 stars g
had a chance to read it as I was on holiday, great book as I expected, bla bla bla bla
Published 8 months ago by Bill
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 9 months ago by lynne hartman
4.0 out of 5 stars A darker instalment to the fantasy trilogy
Continuing with `His Dark Materials' Trilogy, the reader is a little thrown when we are presented with a new character in a world that is identical to our own. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Sarah Brown
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