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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 25 March 2006
The story is about Sally Lockhart, a 16-year-old girl, whose father is killed, leaving Sally with no parents. Her father has left her a note, and as she tries to decipher the meaning, the story unfolds in to an exciting thriller!
I started reading this book, not previously interested in Philip Pullman, and not really paying attention to the story, but by the time I had finished I was entranced, and eager to read the next one.
I recommend it to teenagers and adults, and to anyone interested in mysteries/Victorian crime novels/historical books.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 18 August 2001
This book is extremely well written, as most of Pullman's books are. As it is the beggining of a series, you can carry on reading these extraordinary books. It has adventure, murder, poverty, illness and drugs. I would say it is for ages 9 and over. The Others in the series are Shadow of the North, Tiger in the Well and The Tin Princess. Similar to these books are Northen Lights, the Subtle Knife and the Amber Spyglass
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 5 November 2000
Phillip Pullman has done it again! "His Dark materials"is the best trilogy I have ever read (I have recently finished the amber spyglass)and I was preparing for his Sally Lockhart novels to be weak in comparison. But I was very wrong (thinking about it I was pretty stupid, how could any of his books be weak?)these stories are full of wit, passion, joy and heartbreaking sadness. Read this book now!In this series there is not (contrary to popular beleif)only the shadow in the north and the tiger in the well, but another called the tin princess, which is a bit different because Sally is not the star.But anyway buy this book and you'll enjoy it no end.(I say enjoy ,I mean I wept buckets over the shadow in the north ) anyway, I'll say no more.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This is a review for the audio version of the book read by Anton Lesser.

This is a wonderful book.
The story is simply terrific with a whole host of terrific characters and a fabulous setting of Victorian London.

Other reviewers will comment on the terrific story so I suggest you read them in addition to this..

I will focus on the audio book.
My word it is well performed by Anton Lesser his vocalisation of the characters particularly the females outstanding.
HE had me scrabbling to the Cd's box to check that other additional women actors were not performing he is that good.
No I'm wrong there he is BRILLIANT.

His vocal talents convey the menace and sheer terror of the evil enemies of Sally Lockhart so well.
Mrs Holland, Sally's nemesis is a wonderful creation full of malevolence evil from her use of her deceased husband's Ivory false teeth (plenty of wear in 'em yet) to her total disregard for using violence to extract what she wants- if someone's face needs to smashed in she will insist her crony does it with a knuckle duster to really be sure to smash the face in with as much pain as possible.

The story rattles along and I was totally amazed that this reading over 6 CDs was not abbridged Philip Pullman is a wonderful story teller who writes cracking novels. Each and every word is well crafted to the situation and character.
If this is a book just for children then I am a Dutchman!

So to sum up this reading and performing of the book is simply wonderful. Anton Lesser is outstanding.
What a brilliant vocal narrator he is.

One hundred per cent totally recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This is a review for the audio version of the book read by Anton Lesser.

This is a wonderful book.
The story is simply terrific with a whole host of terrific characters and a fabulous setting of Victorian London.

Other reviewers will comment on the terrific story so I suggest you read them in addition to this..

I will focus on the audio book.
My word it is well performed by Anton Lesser his vocalisation of the characters particularly the females outstanding.
HE had me scrabbling to the Cd's box to check that other additional women actors were not performing he is that good.
No I'm wrong there he is BRILLIANT.

His vocal talents convey the menace and sheer terror of the evil enemies of Sally Lockhart so well.
Mrs Holland, Sally's nemesis is a wonderful creation full of malevolence evil from her use of her deceased husband's Ivory false teeth (plenty of wear in 'em yet) to her total disregard for using violence to extract what she wants- if someone's face needs to smashed in she will insist her crony does it with a knuckle duster to really be sure to smash the face in with as much pain as possible.

The story rattles along and I was totally amazed that this reading over 6 CDs was not abbridged Philip Pullman is a wonderful story teller who writes cracking novels. Each and every word is well crafted to the situation and character.
If this is a book just for children then I am a Dutchman!

So to sum up this reading and performing of the book is simply wonderful. Anton Lesser is outstanding.
What a brilliant vocal narrator he is.

One hundred per cent totally recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 21 August 2005
The first book of the Sally Lockhart quadrilogy. This sequence is often (and I believe wrongly) overshadowed by Philip Pullman's more famous set "His Dark Materials". Not that these aren't good, but they contain nowhere near as many thrills and surprises as these. They are more mature, more sinister, and more gripping.
The second paragraph ends with "Her name was Sally Lockhart; and within fifteen minutes, she was going to kill a man." This is as far as you need to get to get caught up in the action. Everything else just comes naturally.
True, there are clichés, there are predictable bits, and Pullman himself has declared that he based each story around a popular cliché, but it is written so fantastically that it is impossible not to be entranced.
For anyone interested in the following books, be warned that "The Shadow in the North" seems to follow a completely different tack, with a different writing style, which may put some people off when they begin it. However, it is well worth getting into, because it has such beautifully created scenes that you will move between laughing out loud, recoiling in surprise, and, at the dramatic climax, inches away from tears.
All of the books are superb, and each is different in style and context, but Pullman's genius shines throughout.
Get this book for anyone and everyone, and they will not regret it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 31 January 2004
Yet again Mr Pullman catapults his reader into an exciting world, this time of seedy Victorian London. From opening page to closing paragraph the world of Sally Lockhart and her associates will engage you and have you on the edge of your seat. Why is Sally going to kill a man? What is The Seven Blessings? And why is she plagued by a dark nightmare?
I did not so much read this book and steps into it's pages. From the dark streets of the London docks to the backstreet opium dens. Pullman is by far the finest writer of the time for young and old alike.
This is not a book to be missed. What an adventure!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 29 December 2007
I hope when people read the Sally Lockhart series of books, they will not compare them to the His Dark Materials series. His Dark Materials are a stunning set of books but people should not compare Pullman's other works to them. These stories are brilliant in their own right.

I agree with the person who wrote that these books are too good for the kids! I love these books and I'm not a kid! This is the 1st of the 4 stories and a brilliant start. I happened to read the 3rd book first before buying the other 3 so I see how the books are going to pan out but I still felt completely involved in the story. Pullman has a brilliant way of story telling and he captures the feel of the people and surroundings of the 1870's perfectly.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 16 October 2005
Philip Pullman has done it again. First the Dark Matter series and now this. The Ruby in the Smoke should appeal to most of the fans of this series, though this time the story takes a different turn:
Sally Lockhart is the daughter of a part-owner in an English shipping company. She has just gotten a letter telling her that her father, Matthew Lockhart, recently drowned on a voyage back from the South-Indian Ocean. At the same time she got another letter, this one harder to interpret. She visits the other owner of the company to see if he knows of it. He does not seem to have heard of who this Mr. Marchbanks is or where Chattum lies either, but when she asks "...have you ever heard the phrase The Seven Blessings?", he suddenly drops dead.
Finding allies in the strangest places and enemies where nobody would guess, she discovers drops of knowledge. A gentleman in a cold house, an opium addicted sailor in unhappy circumstances and an old woman inviting a lawyer for tea.
Find out more in this intriguing tale of Chinese Triads, opium and the Ruby of Agrapur.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 20 January 2004
I ordered this book as an audiobook so i didn't have to turn pages and could just relax and listen to the story. Sally Lockhart is the heronie of the book she is left alone when her father dies but Sally starts a business in London and makes a number of freinds along the way. It is said this is a good follow on from Philip Pullman Dark Matrials but if you just look for a good story this is perfect and the two sequels are great also.
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