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His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman

The Award Wining Trilogy. Includes Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass


His Dark Materials: Trilogy by Philip PullmanHis Dark Materials, Synopsis
His Dark Materials is an intensely modern work of almost visionary originality. The three volumes of the trilogy, Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass, are multi-layered and embrace many different themes and facets relevant to us all. His Dark Materials explores the biggest questions of them all - existence, childhood, innocence, knowledge, grace, death and, last but by no means least, that of love. It is very much a book for today, for the beginning of a new millennium.

With its roots planted firmly in the English dissenting tradition that harks back to William Blake and others, the trilogy takes its overall title from Book One of John Milton’s epic Paradise Lost. Indeed, like that great English classic, His Dark Materials is a reworking (not a retelling) of the story of the Garden of Eden and the Fall of Man. It shares all the scope and grandeur of that story yet takes us far beyond. His Dark Materials is utterly original.

At its simplest it is a story of courage and humanity about a boy and a girl with a destiny to fulfil. At its widest it whirls the reader into a universe of wonders and dazzling marvels. The gently probing moral debate and new myths for our age that the author works into his narrative do not in any way mar or block the wonderful story that he unfolds. Here is a magnificent tale, rich in incident and character, that takes the breath away and leaves the reader with a sense of wonder. There is a terrible and abiding sense of loss when the book is finished. What higher praise than that can there be?

You can make comparisons to Tolkien, to CS Lewis but in the end such comparisons are meaningless; His Dark Materials is very much its own thing. This is what strikes new readers most and is why the books have such a startling effect.

The Amber Spyglass forms the third and concluding volume of Philip Pullman’s masterpiece, the His Dark Materials trilogy, which was begun by Northern Lights and continued in The Subtle Knife. For thousands and thousands of readers the waiting is over and no one is going to be disappointed. That is a magnificent achievement in its own right, yet Pullman does more. Like all the very best stories this one is deep and has far to go. Above all The Amber Spyglass is a marvellous and shatteringly exciting conclusion to a brilliantly readable story.

His Dark Materials is ground-breaking.

You must read these books.


Dark Materials I: Northern Lights by Philip Pullman

The first book in the His Dark Materials trilogy.

When Lyra’s friend Roger disappears, she and her dæmon, Pantalaimon, determine to find him. The ensuing quest leads them to the bleak splendor of the North, where armoured bears rule the ice and witch-queens fly through the frozen skies – and where a team of scientists is conducting experiments too horrible to speak about.

Lyra overcomes these strange terrors, only to find something yet more perilous waiting for her - something with consequences which may even reach beyond the Northern Lights…

ISBN 0 590 66054 3 £5.99

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Dark Materials II: The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman

The second book in the His Dark Materials trilogy.

Will is twelve years old and he’s just killed a man. Now he’s on his own, on the run, determined to discover the truth about his father’s disappearance.

Then Will steps through a window in the air into another world, and finds himself with a companion – a strange, savage little girl called Lyra. Like Will, she has a mission which she intends to carry out at all costs.

But the world of Cittàgazze is a strange and unsettling place. Deadly, soul-eating Spectres stalk its streets, while high above, the wingbeats of distant angels sound against the sky. And in the mysterious Torre degli Angeli lurks Cittàgazze’s most important secret – an object which people from many worlds would kill to possess…

ISBN 0 590 11289 9 £5.99

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Dark Materials III: The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman
The Amber Spyglass is the concluding part of the His Dark Materials trilogy, Philip Pullman’s literary masterpiece which grows out of and upholds the greatest traditions of storytelling.

The story, which was loosed like an arrow in the first sentence of Northern Lights, and which sped like fire through The Subtle Knife, now unerringly finds its mark in The Amber Spyglass, in which the intrigue, the tension and the mystery is brought to a climax. This marks the final book as the most powerful of the trilogy.

Lyra and Will, the ordinary children who were left in such extraordinary danger at the end of Book Two, find themselves in the final part of the story facing even greater perils. But there are old friends who come to their aid – not least Iorek Byrnison, the armoured bear, and the scientist Dr Mary Malone. There are new allies: the Gallivespians, hand-high dragonfly-riders with poison spurs, and the mulefa, strange wheeled creatures with the power to see Dust. And there are new dangers, including a journey to the worst world of all – a journey that exerts a terrible cost on both children.

But they will not be children for much longer. And as they come to the end of their childhood, not only are they vulnerable to the Spectres, those shimmering destroyers of adults’ dæmons, but they have to face, without knowing it, the challenge posed by the fate that has been approaching Lyra all her life.

And the survival of everything finally comes to depend on one simple action: one simple response to one simple story.

His Dark Materials III: The Amber Spyglass (ISBN: 0590-54244-3) is published by David Fickling Books, an imprint of Scholastic, in hardback, at 548 pages and priced £14.99. It is available from all bookshops and libraries.

£6.99, 0 439 99358 X (paperback)

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His Dark Materials: The Publishing History
The trilogy is now available in the following formats:

Northern Lights £14.99 ISBN 0 590 54178 1
The Subtle Knife £14.99 ISBN 0 590 54243 5
The Amber Spyglass £14.99 ISBN 0 590 54244 3
Northern Lights £5.99 ISBN 0 590 66054 3
The Subtle Knife £5.99 ISBN 0 590 11289 9
The Amber Spyglass £6.99 ISBN 0 439 99358 X
Adult Editions    
Northern Lights £6.99 ISBN 0 439 99412 8
The Subtle Knife £6.99 ISBN 0 439 99413 6
The Amber Spyglass £7.99 ISBN 0 439 99414 4
Other Formats    
His Dark Materials Slipcase £19.00 ISBN 0 439 99479 9
Gift Set including all three paperbacks in a collector's slipcase published October 2001
His Dark Materials Bind-Up £25.00 ISBN 0 439 99434 9

Hardback bind-up of the trilogy in one volume published November 2001
The three books in the trilogy are also available in audio version narrated by Philip Pullman
The trilogy is enjoying success throughout the world and has been translated into many languages

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Click here to take a look at the other books Philip Pullman has written.


Find out more about Philip Pullman. Click here to read his biography.


The Amber Spyglass: Read an ExtractClick here to read an extract from 'The Amber Spyglass'


Read about Philip Pulman's inspirations for 'His Dark Materials.' Click here to read an interview.

'His Dark Materials' has been shortlisted for and won several awards. Find out more by clicking here.

Click here to read reviews and praise of 'His Dark Materials.'













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