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The Tin Princess Hardcover – 1 Mar 1994

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 290 pages
  • Publisher: Alfred a Knopf (1 Mar. 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 067984757X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679847571
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 14.6 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,934,947 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.

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Rebecca Winter, gifted, cheerful, and poor, had lived sixteen years without once seeing a bomb go off. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By J. Mann VINE VOICE on 31 Aug. 2001
Format: Paperback
After reading Pullman's "His Dark Materials" trilogy I decided this summer to read Pullman's four books about Sally Lockhart set in Victorian England and I'm glad I did. The books are an excellent read, and Pullman has enough changes in each book to stop them becoming repetitive.
This is the final book of the four. It has Jim as the main character, with most of the other characters from previous books (including Sally) hardly appearing. The setting of the story is also changed from the first three books - it is set in a small country in central Europe. The main characters are the upper classes from this small state, and one of the themes of the story is the relationship between Royalty and the Royal Subjects.
The story is expertly written with never a dull moment and an exciting climax.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By HLT on 31 Oct. 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The first thing to note: while this is set in Sally Lockhard's world, and gives a starring role to her friend Jim, it's definitely not a Sally Lockhart book. Her part is limited to a couple of cameos at the beginning and end, and the knitting of a sweater that plays an important role in the story (I have to confess I find it hard to imagine Sally doing such a thing, but perhaps motherhood brings about strange changes... :-)
That said, previous reviewers who complained about Sally's absence are, I think, missing the point. This remains an excellent adventure story, and if all the attention was on Sally, we'd never get to know Jim and his co-adventurers better.
The story itself starts in London, but quickly moves to a small European kingdom called Razkavia. This is reminiscent of nothing so much as Anthony Hope's Ruritania (see his Prisoner of Zenda novels), and indeed the theme of an English commoner caught up in the affairs of minor european Royalty could have come straight from Hope's pen. Add an imprisoned prince, a crucial treaty, threatening foreign empires (Germany and Austria-Hungary), idealistic student-philosophers, a few swords and pistols, and steam-trains rushing through the snowy, forested night... and you have the recipe for an adventure story that will keep you up past bed-time while you read just one more chapter...
In short, ignore the complaints about Sally's absence. This story belongs to her friends, and they carry it off brilliantly.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By P on 19 Aug. 2002
Format: Paperback
"The Tin Princess" is what, on TV, would be called a "spin-off" from the Sally Lockhart novels - there are some familiar characters but the focus is elsewhere.
In reality this is Pullman's take on the Ruritanian novel, and is typically uncompromising. Take a small country stuck between great powers and would *really* happen? If someone who never expected to inherit a throne found himself on it, how well would he *really* cope? Fortunately Pullman's answers include the necessary addition of people with courage and determination, and (necessarily) a great deal more luck than anyone deserves, and you end up with a good story. Good enough to lead this reader to look for sequels, though they would be very difficult to do successfully.
There are disappointments - some readers will be upset that Sally Lockhart hardly makes an appearance. More seriously the character from whose view we see the story, Becky, is not really the heroine - that position belongs to the unlikeliest character in the book, the "Tin Princess" herself, Adelaide once the downtrodden skivvy from "The Ruby in the Smoke". Becky learns about life, romance and herself - a little - but many readers must feel a bit cheated in not having her given a story of her own as well. There is also a problem in that one of the strands of the story - a physically passionate love affair - has to be handled very allusively in a book sold to younger readers, though Pullman does an excellent job.
For fans of the Ruritanian novel, the problem lies in Pullman's unwillingness to suspend the rules of history or psychology for the benefit of royalty - or for little states with good scenery.
So readers need to be warned - put your preconceptions aside before you start.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By George Eliot on 21 Sept. 2006
Format: Paperback
And by "Modern Readers" I mean all those sillys who can't be bothered to try and keep up with old-fashioned prose because they are too desperate to get to the action. Let me assure you from the start that getting to the action will not be a problem in THIS book. On the contrary, the novel opens with a bomb going off in a London suburb.
Becky Winter, hired to teach the "lady of the house" reading, writing and German is not a little surprised that her new employers are a target for anarchists, but she is even more surprised when she finds out that said employer is Crown Prince Rudolf of Razkavia, her native country. Little larger than an English county, it lies between two political giants of late 19th-century Europe: Germany and Austria-Hungary. Both Empires are all too eager to annex Razkavia, for the tin mines there would be very useful in building their armies. And hardly has Becky learned all this than she makes another new acquaintance: Jim Taylor, private detective and current right-hand-man to Prince Rudolf. But Jim's real loyalty lies not with Rudolf but Rudolf's wife: a cockney girl by name of Adelaide, for whom Jim and his best friend Sally Lockhart have been searching for ten years...

Its a good idea to read the first three Sally Lockhart books before you start "Tin Princess": Sally does not play a central role here, but Adelaide and Jim are much more interesting characters if you know about their background. Pullman pits them here against everyone from scheming diplomats to revolutionaries to Bismarck himself (via a pompous chamberlain and a bar brawl or two) - and they are fantastic. So is Pullman's writing: he evokes 19th-century Europe with amazing ease and style, and wonderful comic timing.
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