Star Wars Sale
 
 

Special Offers see all

Enter to WIN!

Weekly drawing for $100 credit. Subscribe to PowellsBooks.news for a chance to win.
Privacy Policy

More at Powell's


Recently Viewed clear list


Original Essays | June 20, 2014

Lisa Howorth: IMG So Many Books, So Many Writers



I'm not a bookseller, but I'm married to one, and Square Books is a family. And we all know about families and how hard it is to disassociate... Continue »
  1. $18.20 Sale Hardcover add to wish list

    Flying Shoes

    Lisa Howorth 9781620403013

spacer

The Subtle Knife: His Dark Materials, Book II

by

The Subtle Knife: His Dark Materials, Book II Cover

 

 

Excerpt

Will tugged at his mother's hand and said, "Come on, come on..."

But his mother hung back. She was still afraid. Will looked up and down the narrow street in the evening light, along the little terrace of houses, each behind its tiny garden and its box hedge, with the sun glaring off the windows of one side and leaving the other in shadow. There wasn't much time. People would be having their meal about now, and soon there would be other children around, to stare and comment and notice. It was dangerous to wait, but all he could do was persuade her, as usual.

"Mum, let's go in and see Mrs. Cooper," he said. "Look, we're nearly there."

"Mrs. Cooper?" she said doubtfully.

But he was already ringing the bell. He had to put down the bag to do it, because his other hand still held his mother's. It might have bothered him at twelve years of age to be seen holding his mother's hand, but he knew what would happen to her if he didn't.

The door opened, and there was the stooped elderly figure of the piano teacher, with the scent of lavender water about her as he remembered.

"Who's that? Is that William?" the old lady said. "I haven't seen you for over a year. What do you want, dear?"

"I want to come in, please, and bring my mother," he said firmly.

Mrs. Cooper looked at the woman with the untidy hair and the distracted half-smile, and at the boy with the fierce, unhappy glare in his eyes, the tight-set lips, the jutting jaw. And then she saw that Mrs. Parry, Will's mother, had put makeup on one eye but not on the other. And she hadn't noticed. And neither had Will. Something was wrong.

"Well..." she said, and stepped aside to make room in the narrow hall.

Will looked up and down the road before closing the door, and Mrs. Cooper saw how tightly Mrs. Parry was clinging to her son's hand, and how tenderly he guided her into the sitting room where the piano was (of course, that was the only room he knew); and she noticed that Mrs. Parry's clothes smelled slightly musty, as if they'd been too long in the washing machine before drying; and how similar the two of them looked as they sat on the sofa with the evening sun full on their faces, their broad cheekbones, their wide eyes, their straight black brows.

"What is it, William?" the old lady said. "What's the matter?"

"My mother needs somewhere to stay for a few days," he said. "It's too difficult to look after her at home just now. I don't mean she's ill. She's just kind of confused and muddled, and she gets a bit worried. She won't be hard to look after. She just needs someone to be kind to her, and I think you could do that quite easily, probably."

The woman was looking at her son without seeming to understand, and Mrs. Cooper saw a bruise on her cheek. Will hadn't taken his eyes off Mrs. Cooper, and his expression was desperate.

"She won't be expensive," he went on. "I've brought some packets of food, enough to last, I should think. You could have some of it too. She won't mind sharing."

"But...I don't know if I should...Doesn't she need a doctor?"

"No! She's not ill."

"But there must be someone who can...I mean, isn't there a neighbor or someone in the family--"

"We haven't got any family. Only us. And the neighbors are too busy."

"What about the social services? I don't mean to put you off, dear, but--"

"No! No. She just needs a bit of help. I can't do it myself for a little while, but I won't be long. I'm going to ...I've got things to do. But I'll be back soon, and I'll take her home again, I promise. You won't have to do it for long."

The mother was looking at her son with such trust, and he turned and smiled at her with such love and reassurance, that Mrs. Cooper couldn't say no.

"Well," she said, turning to Mrs. Parry, "I'm sure it won't matter for a day or so. You can have my daughter's room, dear. She's in Australia. She won't be needing it again."

"Thank you," said Will, and stood up as if he were in a hurry to leave.

"But where are you going to be?" said Mrs. Cooper.

"I'm going to be staying with a friend," he said. "I'll phone up as often as I can. I've got your number. It'll be all right."

His mother was looking at him, bewildered. He bent over and kissed her clumsily.

"Don't worry," he said. "Mrs. Cooper will look after you better than me, honest. And I'll phone up and talk to you tomorrow."

They hugged tightly, and then Will kissed her again and gently unfastened her arms from his neck before going to the front door. Mrs. Cooper could see he was upset, because his eyes were glistening, but he turned, remembering his manners, and held out his hand.

"Good-bye," he said, "and thank you very much."

"William," she said, "I wish you'd tell me what the matter is--"

"It's a bit complicated," he said, "but she won't be any trouble, honestly."

That wasn't what she meant, and both of them knew it; but somehow Will was in charge of this business, whatever it was. The old lady thought she'd never seen a child so implacable.

He turned away, already thinking about the empty house.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780375823466
Cover artist:
Ericka Meltzer O'Rourke
Publisher:
Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Author:
Pullman, Philip
Location:
New York
Subject:
Action & Adventure
Subject:
Science Fiction, Fantasy, & Magic
Subject:
Children's 12-Up - Fiction - Fantasy
Subject:
Fantasy
Subject:
Action & Adventure - General
Subject:
Fantasy & Magic
Subject:
Magic
Subject:
Imaginary places
Subject:
Children s-Science Fiction and Fantasy
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
His Dark Materials
Series Volume:
02
Publication Date:
September 2002
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
from 7
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
368
Dimensions:
8.01x5.26x.90 in. .81 lbs.
Age Level:
13-17

Other books you might like

  1. The Amber Spyglass: His Dark...
    Used Trade Paper $6.50
  2. Lyra's Oxford
    Used Hardcover $7.50
  3. The Tiger Rising
    Used Book Club Paperback $2.50
  4. The Amber Spyglass Used Book Club Paperback $2.50
  5. Once Upon a Time in the North Used Hardcover $8.00

Related Subjects

Children's » Action and Adventure » Adventure Stories
Children's » Middle Readers » General
Children's » Science Fiction and Fantasy » General
Fiction and Poetry » Science Fiction and Fantasy » A to Z
Young Adult » General

The Subtle Knife: His Dark Materials, Book II Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$5.95 In Stock
Product details 368 pages Alfred A. Knopf - English 9780375823466 Reviews:
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "The intricacy of the plot is staggering...There is no doubt that the work is stunningly ambitious, original, and fascinating."
"Review" by , "The character development as well as the relentless pace...make this a resoundingly successful sequel...it will leave readers desperate for the next installment."
"Review" by , "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..."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "The powerful second installment....[V]intage Pullman..."
"Review" by , "Just as quick-moving and unputdownable as [The Golden Compass]....The mysteries deepen and the wonders grow even more extravagant."
"Review" by , "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."
"Synopsis" by , 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.
"Synopsis" by , The most magnificent fantasy series since The Lord of the Rings.” --The Oregonian

Lost in a new world, Lyra finds Will--a boy on the run, a murderer--a worthy and welcome ally. For this is a world where soul-eating Specters stalk the streets and witches share the skies with troops of angels.

Each is searching--Lyra for the meaning of Dark Matter, Will for his missing father--but what they find instead is a deadly secret, a knife of untold power. And neither Lyra nor Will suspects how tightly their lives, their loves, their destinies are bound together . . . until they are split apart.

 

A #1 New York Times Bestseller

A Newsweek Top 100 Book of All Time

An Entertainment Weekly All-Time Greatest Novel

 

“The story gallops with ferocious momentum.” --The New York Times Book Review

“Pullman’s imagination soars. . . . A literary rollercoaster ride you won’t want to miss.” --The Boston Globe

“Destined to become a classic.” --Detroit Free Press

The Subtle Knife is as absorbing and irresistible as The Golden Compass--and even more so, as powerful forces are set in motion. A brilliantly conceived work.” --Lloyd Alexander, author of the Prydain Chronicles, and Newbery Medalist for The High King

"Synopsis" by , 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.

spacer
spacer
  • back to top
Follow us on...




Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.