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Other titles in the His Dark Materials series:
The Subtle Knife: His Dark Materials, Book IIby Philip Pullman
Synopses & Reviews
The universe has broken wide, and Lyra's friend lies dead. Desperate for answers and set on revenge, Lyra bursts into a new world in pursuit of his killer. Instead, she finds Will, just twelve years old and already a murderer himself. He's on a quest as fierce as Lyra's, and together they strike out into this sunlit otherworld.
On this journey marked by danger, Will and Lyra forge ahead. But with every step and each new horror, they move closer to the greatest threat of all — and the shattering truth of their own destiny.
In this stunning sequel to The Golden Compass, Philip Pullman continues the His Dark Materials trilogy and confirms it as an undoubted and enduring classic.
"More than fulfilling the promise of The Golden Compass, this second volume starts off at a heart-thumping pace and never slows down....The grandly exuberant storytelling is sure to enthrall." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
"The intricacy of the plot is staggering...There is no doubt that the work is stunningly ambitious, original, and fascinating." The Horn Book (Starred Review)
"The character development as well as the relentless pace...make this a resoundingly successful sequel...it will leave readers desperate for the next installment." Booklist (Starred Review)
"Though this second volume almost succumbs to middle book syndrome, Pullman...avoids it, adroitly, by force of theme....Phillip Pullman measures up; his work is devilishly inventive....Put Philip Pullman on the shelf with Ursula K. LeGuin, Susan Cooper, Lloyd Alexander..." Gregory Maguire, The New York Times Book Review
"Nearly as good as its predecessor....Many fantasy writers fail to appeal to a more general audience because they get so caught up in invention that they neglect to create compelling and complicated characters. Pullman strikes an excellent balance between imagination and verisimilitude, and his major characters are as interesting and human as anyone we would meet in a decent realistic novel.....The Golden Compass has a more original structure than this book does, but Pullman is a skillful writer who doesn't rely on stock elements to do his work for him, using them instead in creative and unexpected ways. Indeed the overarching moral and religious pattern, once revealed, is so shockingly subversive that I was amazed — and intrigued — to find it in a mainstream novel for children." Rachel Pastan, Salon.com
"As in the first book, the stakes are high and the action is rapid and occasionally violent....The Subtle Knife ends with even more of a cliff-hanger than The Golden Compass, and fans will eagerly await book three for the final resolution." School Library Journal
"The powerful second installment....[V]intage Pullman..." Kirkus Reviews
"Just as quick-moving and unputdownable as [The Golden Compass]....The mysteries deepen and the wonders grow even more extravagant." The Washington Post Book World
"These first two volumes of [the] His Dark Materials trilogy are, simply, magnificent. Pullman has the power of a master fantasist. He imbues an age-old classical struggle with a new mythic vision, the depth and realization of which are staggering." Jennifer Fakolt, VOYA
In Book II of the Dark Materials trilogy, Lyra finds herself in a shimmering, haunted otherworld. New cover art and chapter-opening illustrations by Pullman himself highlight this new paperback edition.
We are releasing an updated trade-paper box set of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy with eye-catching new art from Cliff Nielsen. With glowing special effects, the new trade paperback editions will stand out on the shelves among other YA bestsellers and draw in new Pullman fans.
Published in 50 countries with over 22 million copies sold, The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass are renowned for their engrossing storytelling and epic scope. These modern classics are must-reads for every book lover.
His Dark Materials is the story of Lyra and Will, two ordinary children with extraordinary roles to play in a more-than-mortal battle that will impact all the worlds.
Published in 40 countries, Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy – The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass – has graced the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, San Francisco Chronicle, Book Sense, and Publishers Weekly bestseller lists.
The Golden Compass forms the first part of a story in three volumes. The first volume is set in a world like ours, but different in many ways. The second volume is set partly in the world we know. The third moves between many worlds.
In The Golden Compass, readers meet 11-year-old Lyra Belacqua, a precocious orphan growing up within the precincts of Jordan College in Oxford, England. It quickly becomes clear that Lyra's Oxford is not precisely like our own—nor is her world. In Lyra's world, everyone has a personal dæmon, a lifelong animal familiar. This is a world in which science, theology and magic are closely intertwined.
The Subtle Knife is the second part of the trilogy that began with The Golden Compass. That first book was set in a world like ours, but different. This book begins in our own world.
In The Subtle Knife, readers are introduced to Will Parry, a young boy living in modern-day Oxford, England. Will is only twelve years old, but he bears the responsibilities of an adult. Following the disappearance of his explorer-father, John Parry, during an expedition in the North, Will became parent, provider and protector to his frail, confused mother. And it's in protecting her that he becomes a murderer, too: he accidentally kills a man who breaks into their home to steal valuable letters written by John Parry. After placing his mother in the care of a kind friend, Will takes those letters and sets off to discover the truth about his father.
The Amber Spyglass brings the intrigue of The Golden Compass and The Subtle Knife to a heartstopping close, marking the third and final volume as the most powerful of the trilogy. Along with the return of Lyra, Will, Mrs. Coulter, Lord Asriel, Dr. Mary Malone, and Iorek Byrnison the armored bear, The Amber Spyglass introduces a host of new characters: the Mulefa, mysterious wheeled creatures with the power to see Dust; Gallivespian Lord Roke, a hand-high spy-master to Lord Asriel; and Metatron, a fierce and mighty angel. And this final volume brings startling revelations, too: the painful price Lyra must pay to walk through the land of the dead, the haunting power of Dr. Malone's amber spyglass, and the names of who will live—and who will die—for love. And all the while, war rages with the Kingdom of Heaven, a brutal battle that—in its shocking outcome—will reveal the secret of Dust.
About the Author
Philip Pullman is the author of The Golden Compass as well as the highly acclaimed trilogy of Victorian thrillers featuring heroine Sally Lockhart: The Ruby in the Smoke, Shadow in the North, and The Tiger in the Well. A graduate of Oxford University with a degree in English, he teaches literature at Westminster College and has written novels, plays, and picture books for readers of all ages. He lives with his family in England.
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