This is a superb introduction to the ideas and the literary traditions that underpin Philip Pullman's brilliant Northern Lights trilogy. It touches on Blake, Milton and Gnosticism in a simple but incisive way, and tackles such questions as to whether Lord Asriel is a hero or a villain. If you're likely to get into a heated argument or even a civilised discussion with an anti-Pullmanite (and there are a few out of them out there, sadly!) arm yourself with this book! Then you too can argue the case for 'The Republic of Heaven' against the forces of religious oppression! Highly recommended.