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His Dark Materials is a trilogy of novels penned by Philip Pullman. A masterpiece in three books, the series is loosely based upon the classic Paradise Lost and is told with a power and skill matched by few other writers. The trilogy has won numerous awards and is considered a classic of childrens' literature, but the novels are appealing and powerful to all ages.
This site is dedicated to His Dark Materials, which consists of:
The Golden Compass / Northern LightsPurchase: UK / US
The first book in the series, The Golden Compass / Northern Lights (confused?) introduces readers to the world of Lyra Belacqua - a precocious orphan who roams the streets of an Oxford parallel to our own. Lyra's universe is similar to our's, but different in many ways - not least in the existance of daemons, shape-shifting animals who represent a human's soul. The nature of daemons is integral to the plot of His Dark Materials.
When Lyra attempts to rescue her best friend Roger from kidnappers, she soon finds herself on a quest that will take her from her home at Jordan College in Oxford to the far North. She will befriend gyptians, witches, talking bears and a Texas balloonist. She will be followed by mechanical spies and kidnapped by Samoyed hunters. She will be betrayed, and she will betray.
All the while Lyra is guided by the alethiometer, a truth-telling, compass-like instrument that runs on the mysterious Dust. It has been prophesied by the witches of the North that Lyra is the one destined to bring about the end of Destiny..
The Subtle KnifePurchase: UK / US
Will Parry is like any other ordinary 12 year old boy from our world. The only difference is that he has killed a grown man. While running from his terrible crime, he stumbles through a window into another world. It is the world of Cittagazze, where children seem to rule, as the dreaded specters prey on the souls of adults. In this world he befriends another traveler- Lyra Belacqua, now Lyra Silvertongue. The two soon find themselves in search of a small but extremely powerful knife, capable of cutting a window between the very fabric of the worlds. Will's search for his lost father, and Lyra's search for the truth about Dust lead them on, every step of the way to the cliff-hanger ending.
The second book in the His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman, The Subtle Knife, follows the legacy of The Golden Compass. Winner of the Parent's Choice Gold Book Award, the ALA Best Book for Young Adults, Publisher's Weekly Best Book of the Year, and countless other awards, The Subtle Knife has brought back the excitement and power of The Golden Compass. As the Washington Post Book World said, "Just as quick-moving and unputdownable as The Golden Compass... The mysteries deepen and the wonders grown even more extravagant." The New York Times Book Review said : "The story gallops with ferocious momentum [and] Pullman is devilishly inventive.' The San Francisco Examiner-Chronicle called The Subtle Knife "As rich and complex a fantasy novel as any adult reader could wish for." Acclaimed fantasy author Lloyd Alexander (Newbery Medalist for The High King) said "The Subtle Knife is as absorbing and irresistible as The Golden Compass - even more so, as powerful new forces are set in motion. A brilliantly conceived work."
The Amber Spyglass
War is at hand- war between the Kingdom of Heaven, ruled by the Authority, and the newly founded Republic of Heaven, under the command of the upstart Lord Asriel, the father of Lyra Silvertongue. Once reunited, Lyra and Will, armed with the Alethiometer and the Subtle Knife, embark on a quest that will shake the foundations of every world. Protected by two miniature spies, they will travel to the Land of the Dead to undo a wrong, and in doing so change the course of history. They will encounter, face to face, the aged Authority, and the fearsome Regent, Metatron. And as their childhood fades away behind them and maturity sets in, they will see each other in a new light... and be forced to make painful sacrifice to save everyone.
The most powerful and moving of the books, The Amber Spyglass is the long-awaited conclusion to Philip Pullman's masterpiece- The His Dark Materials Trilogy. Recently awarded the coveted Whitbread award (the first ever children's book), The Amber Spyglass takes the power and emotions of His Dark Materials to a new level. This is truly a startling conclusion to a wonderful series... one that will have wrenched every emotion out of your heart as it takes you through its pages, at last leaving you in a garden, as night sets in, listening to the bells of Oxford chime in the distance, and a little nightingale singing in the branches overhead.
Images from The Golden Compass movie are © New Line Cinema.