His Dark Materials Boxed Set

His Dark Materials Boxed Set

4.2 419
by Philip Pullman

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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

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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.

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Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
His Dark Materials Series
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 4.10(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt


I began to write this novel with little sense of the plot, even less notion of the theme, and only the vaguest idea of the characters. I'm convinced that that's the way to do it. I tried to work out the plan of a novel once, when I was young, ahead of writing it. It was an excellent plan. It took me months and covered page after page, and in the end I was so fed up with the damn thing I threw it away and started a quite different novel with no preparation at all, which came out much better. I suppose these things are partly temperamental; I know that some excellent writers make a great thing of planning every book before they write it; but it doesn't work for me.

One thing such a technique prevents is what I think every long book must have if I'm not to go mad writing it, and that's the element of surprise. I had no idea what Iorek Byrnison, the armoured bear, would say when Lyra first came face to face with him. His vulnerability to strong drink was a huge surprise. I knew there was going to be a boy called Will, but his reason for running away and thus meeting Lyra was a complete mystery to me until it happened. As for Lee Scoresby, I was as ignorant of his existence as the gyptians themselves the sentence before he turned up. These surprises are pleasant and exciting; they feel like a kind of reward. If I knew they were coming I wouldn't enjoy them at all.

In the first sentence above, I mentioned something I called the theme. By that I mean what the book is about, in some fundamental sense. I've heard that some writers decide on a theme first, and then make up some characters and a plot to exemplify it. They seem to get on all right, but again, it wouldn't work for me. A book, especially a long book like His Dark Materials, has to have some sort of theme, or else you'll be working for a long time (this story took me seven years) in a moral vacuum. But that doesn't mean you have to decide what the theme is. If you're working as seriously as you know how to, for a matter of years, then a theme will emerge whether you want it to or not. It'll be something you think very important. It might be the most important thing you know. Once you know what it is, you can shape the story more precisely to help it show up, but it's a mistake to rely on the theme to lead the story for you. I think I did that in a couple of places in this book, and it's the worse for it. But there we are, we're never too old to learn. Next time I shall remember: the story should lead, and the theme will emerge in its own time and its own way. Besides, if you want to write something perfect, write a haiku. Anything longer is bound to have a few passages that don't work as well as they might.

So here is a story that was the best I could do at the time, written with all the power and all the love I had, about the things I think most important in the world. I think it was worth writing. I hope you think it's worth reading.

Philip Pullman

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His Dark Materials Boxed Set 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 478 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm 14 and read the whole series in, I think, 5th or 6th grade. I went to a Catholic school for 6 years going to a school wide mass every Wednsday. I think I could be called a Catholic, don't you? While reading them I didn't hear anything negative about the books or even the author from anyone including my teachers. Now however, I was looking at the books in a used book store and someone came up to me and said that anyone who read the books is going to hell. I really do laugh at anybody with that mentality because, if you read it as a work of fiction, all of a sudden it is an amazing story. I also went to the movie. Because the director was trying to be 'politically correct' the movie suffered horribly (don't get me wrong, it was good). Anyone who says that this series is brainwashing children obviously does not have enough confidence in thier self to resist temptation and what is life but the temptation to do wrong? All in all, wonderfull series, but I wish people could learn how to read and decide for themselves.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Fist of all let me say that these books were incredible. I am a PhD level scientist and I thought that it was incredible that the author actually introduced some high level scientific ideas into this book. My real concern here lies in how so many so-called 'christians' are preaching intolerance and are approaching the level of advocating censorship. Atheism is a religion (if you don't understand then maybe you should read something other than your bible some time), saying that it isn't, is like saying that 0 is not a number. Now, that being said, this book is a fantasy tale that happens to have a spiritual side that supports and proclaims the religious beliefs of the author. The issue here is that atheism is not as accepted in our society as Christianity, or Islam, or the various other religions out there. Would everyone really be in such an uproar if this book were about another religion. Considering I was forced to read the lion, the which and the wardrobe in school and it didn't turn me in to some deluded Christ follower, I have no sympathy for your concerns. 'christians', try some of these things: 1) try to be a little open minded and experience things that don't quite fit in your perfect little delusion. 2) try leading people to your religion by example and preaching love and compassion instead of trying to force people to your god by banning books, ignoring proven science, and attmepting to make sins illegal through political means. 3) have a little faith in your children. they know the difference in a fairy tale and a religious text and if they don't maybe you should try talking to them a little more instead of just regulating their input.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Whether or not you agree with his politics, Pulman drafted a highly imaginative series for children and adults alike. In addition, for those who encourage a boycott, are you so fearful of allowing your children to read these books because you think they will stray from their faith? If so, well, that is a sad statement of how strongly you believe in your children's faith, and shows how little you value free thinking and education.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I just want to discuss what makes a great fantasy novel. There are plenty of fantasy books, and most of them are really good. But it is harder to come by one that is special, one that is great. It is hard to come by a 'tale that really mattered'.............. In my opinion, HARRY POTTER, THE MISTS OF AVALON, HIS DARK MATERIALS, & THE LORD OF THE RINGS are the greatest fantasy novels ever written. Why do I think this? I think this because these stories emanate a feeling of POWER so great that I KNOW they really happened, somewhere, sometime. It is a VERY difficult feeling to describe. I get it too when I am watching STAR WARS EPISODE III (the new one), or the LOTR movies. In movies, I know music helps create this feeling, this POWERFUL emotion but in books, it is only the words on the page and the imagination of the reader.................Do you ever get this feeling? The feeling which makes you want to cry, yell and kill something all at once? The great welling of sadness and happiness that fills your heart when you read something especially POWERFUL? Do you get this feeling when you're reading about Lyra and Pan being ripped from each other on the docks of the Land of the Dead, or when Lyra and Will must make the terrible decision about which door to leave open? Or do you get it when Snape utters the fatal words, or when Harry shares his destiny of finding and destroying the horcruxes with Ron and Hermione in the last pages of 'The White Tomb'? Do you get this feeling when King Arthur kills Mordred (his own son!) or when Morgaine enters the Isle of the Priests, and you know in your heart that Avalon will be lost to the mists forever? Do you get this wonderful/horrible emotion when Aragorn and Theoden charge out into the morning at Helms Deep shouting, 'Forth Eorlingas!', or when Frodo says, 'I am glad you are here with me. Here at the end of all things, Sam.'................. I hope all of you, fellow fantasy lovers, have felt this POWERFUL feeling once while you were reading. The emotion that thrusts deep into your heart and soul and tells you that these places, these people, are or were once REAL. You can see them...you are almost there with them. Even if you are the lowliest peasant of Gondor, or the simplest child lost in the Land of the Dead, you know that the POWER of these stories has led you there, and that you ARE there, even as you turn the page in your book.................And when you have finished your book, you wish with all your heart that you could return to that place, whether it be Hogwarts, Camelot, or Middle-Earth, because in those places there is real HONOR & GLORY & POWER. That is where good battles evil, and the story has made you yearn to be a part of that battle. I hope that all of you have experienced this feeling, which wrenches your heartstrings and broadens your imagination. I hope that you who KNOW IN YOUR HEART that you are an angel or daemon of Lyra's world, or a great crusader, or a priestess of Avalon, or an Auror or a Death Eater, or a Warrior of the West-of Gondor or Rohan, or a simple hobbit from the Shire...I hope that you have felt this emotion, because it proves that you have read GREAT, POWERFUL, MEANINGFUL books, and that surely, you belong in a fantasy world........... The greatest praise I can give to JRR Tolkien, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Philip Pullman & JK Rowling is that while reading their books, I felt this POWER, this great & terrible emotion................. I hope all of you have felt this POWER, and have cried or screamed with REAL emotion...and if you haven't felt this, than I advise you to read these books, and maybe you will be blessed with this incredible feeling. And if you don't read (which is a crime), then you should at least watch LOTR, and maybe when Aragorn shouts 'I bid you fight! Men of the West!' you will feel it too..............And now I have shared my views on what makes a 'tale that really mattered'. I thank you all for reading this.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
YES! YES! YES, YES, YES!!! Read these books. Best fantasy ever written. Oh, and I am Christian. And I found that this trilogy /enriched/ my faith. It is healthy, especially for young minds, to question one's faith. And for those who might lose faith through reading these books, they will actually be closer to God in my opinion, for they will not be living a lie. (Meaning that their faith is the lie, not religion itself.) Recommended for everyone age 10 and up, just because it might be a bit difficult for young children to understand, and because of some disturbing details. Read it, read it, read it!! And then re-read it! (It gets better every time.)
Diamonddiva More than 1 year ago
I thought this was a children's story. My husband gave the trilogy book to me for Christmas in 2007. I pushed it around until the summer when I began reading The Golden Compass. It grabbed me the way the first Harry Potter book did. Grabbed me and pulled me right into the fantasy world of Lyra and Roger. I found myself feeling torn when I had to put the book down wondering where the twists and turns would go next. I didn't just read these three books, I absorbed them.

The writing is so compelling and full of intrigue. But the message..ahh the message it has for us in today's world. In a world of "Change" and "Yes we can", this book is a must read. Mr. Pullman has written a book for the ages.

Put a copy today...forget the movie, it doesn't come close to the book and ENJOY!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is an amazing book. I have read all three in the series and I have seen the movie. It's absolutey wonderful. The story is great and it's one of those books that you can easily get lost in. You really can imagine everything clearly in your mind and the way the story is told, it feels like your there with the characters watching everything. You must read this book sometime in your life or you will miss out on a lot!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a good, well-written series with characters you'll be rooting for. The scenes came vividly to life it was full of beautiful imagery. Yeah, the author's an Atheist and the books reflect that. So what? People of religious backgrounds--from Christian to Wiccan--write books reflecting their faith for kids. Instead of getting offended at Pullman why not be offended at something that truly is offensive? Like the gas/food prices? :-)By the way, the first one, the Golden Compass, probably has the least anti-church rhetoric in it at least, I didn't detect anything there that I thought was offensive. It gets steadily more anti-religion as the books progress.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought that these books were great. I really enjoyed the story, but I was a little disappointed that I had to go to the children's section to get it. I am a Christian and I was able to separate my beliefs from this fiction story. However, I don't think that these are books that I would want children reading. My hope is that parents wait until their children are older and able to clearly separate reality from fantasy. Let's be honest these books are very disparaging toward God and the church, but we are mature enough to appreciate a good story for what it is.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My expectation was that this was a religious tome about faith, etc. It is, however, not at all in the vain I was expecting----rather he presents very thought-provoking ideas that still have me pondering. There has been mention in other review that Pullman must be an aethist----I don't find that conclusion at all. He certainly doesn't hesitate to point out some of the worst things people of all religions have visited on others. How many wars and how much destruction of people and land have occurred "in the name of God?" The Crusades, for example. I found the author's presented viewpoints and plots to be highly thought-provoking in today's world. At the same time, I loved the other-worldly setting and characters fascinating. For me it was an amazingly thoughtful, provoking read and I'm grateful my fellow book club members selected this otherwise I'd probably never have read it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is my favorite series of books, ever. They're completely outstanding. I was blown away by Pullman's huge imagination. This series had be smiling, laughing, crying, fuming... I just loved it. The ending was shocking, and superb. If you had to read one series of books before you kick the bucket you MUST read these!
Pym More than 1 year ago
It was a beautiful and engrossing look at human nature, whether technically human or not, and the power of rightness. Not the rightness someone else has dictated but the kind of rightness that is known instinctively and felt throughout your entire being. That every being in every universe and dimension has the right to be free from oppression and has the right to fight with every fiber of their being to ensure that freedom. It also strips away the facade of organized religion and exposes the atrocities associted with it and the absolute horror of zealotry. Although the story takes place in a world parallel to this one, the words resonate deeply with what has occured throughout time wherever religion is present: murder, torture, theft and subjugation. The replacement of free will with the dictates of religious doctrine. The gleeful torture and murder of individuals who do not agree with that doctrine, simply because that doctrine said it was the right thing to do, overriding the individual's own sense of right and wrong. Although it was published as three seperate books, its true form is one inseperable volume. Each of its parts flow so smoothly into each other that it is more like turning the page on a new chapter rather than a new book. That combined with the massive cliffhangers that leave you dangling from your fingertips make it impossible to not simply turn to that next page. Even the ending of the tale leaves you partially dangling, and hungering for more of a single, emotionally charged plot line left untied. Instead, it stretches into eternity and sets the wheels turning on the possibilities, and leaves you desperately hoping. If rumors play out, that last plot line will finally get tied in a fourth installment.
Ativar_23 More than 1 year ago
This series was well written and it's characters were well developed. It kept my interest and I was eager to move from one novel to the next. Do not let the minor controversy behind the plot prevent you from giving these a read...
minnyjoum More than 1 year ago
Great books, too bad the movies are not quite as good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a fast paced trilogy that demands attention to details and can leave you a bit out of breath as you try to keep up with the action. Like Harry Potter & Co. there is never a dull moment.
Jawjam More than 1 year ago
I was fascinated with this series and have been enjoying the read. When the movie came out Pastors asked parents not to allow children to go so I needed to read all the books to see what was up. My son had read the 1st in 5th grade and loved it so I decided to see what the whole story line was about. It is thought provoking and a good series for you to sit down and discuss what is in the books with your children. 2nd and 3rd may be too dark for some young readers but ok for 7th grade and above with a mature child. I do not look at the negative but how you can get your youth to talk about what they got from the story and how it may differ from what they believe.
Musicgrlx15 More than 1 year ago
I was given the series by a cousin about six years ago. I read it last year and fell in love with it, I finished the series in two weeks! I got so into it that I cried at the end when Lyra and Will would never see each other again! I highly recommend this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed the series. It was very interesting and was a page turner. The Subtle Knife started off a little slower than the other books but it picked up really quickly.
Your_Loyal_Cheshire_Cat More than 1 year ago
I found these books to be excelent. They were thrilling and captivateing all in one. I couldn't put it down, and although I know there is some contriversy over it I don't care, they are a good read that I would recomend to anyone looking for a great adventure...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Golden Compass
Philip Pullman
Published by Dell Yearling

Do you like adventures? Well if you do you should read The Golden Compass, by Philip Pullman. A little girl named Lyra is journeying to the north to find her long lost Uncle Lord Aisrel, she later finds out that there are these people called the gobblers and they steal children. Lyra's best friend Roger gets stolen. Lyra travels to the north only to be captured by the gobblers. Will Lyra ever get away from the gobblers, will Lyra save her uncle Lord Aisrel, and will she ever find Roger? What will happen to Lyra and her companions?

Lyra has long curly dark hair, she has blue eyes, and she is a brave wild little kid, she and Roger go anywhere there is danger and make it worse. Roger, Lyra's best friend, is just like Lyra except he has red hair like Lord Aisrel, Lyra's uncle. Lyra's uncle, Lord Aisrel, knows about dust, no not that dust, a special type of dust, the kind of dust where when one hits puberty he/she get a a lot of bad thoughts. Then there are the gobblers, they steal children and cut their daemons away. Most of the characters in this book die.

I highly recommend this book to middle schoolers that like scientific fantasy fiction books. If you want to read the best page turner in the world you should definitely read The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman. This book was complimented by The New York Times, The chicago tribune, and The Los Angeles Times. Philip Pullman has also written many other books, two of them are called The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass. It will knock your socks off!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I do not suggest but rather command that you purchase the entire trilogy I began by reading the first book just to anger right-wing fanatics asking me to join Facebook groups boycotting the movie when lo and behold, about three weeks later, I had finished the trilogy and am forever a better man because of it. This is the Lord of the Rings Trilogy of our times (and perhaps Pullman planned it that way, in which case, kudos to him for playing off that particular fad), and should be revered for the marvelous work of imagery and symbolism that it is... whereas some scold and berate this work as anti- God, I look at it as a parable... a what-if... a simplistic though knowledgeable commentary on the delusion that is blind faith and the sickness that is so easily taken advantage of by those purporting to have 'god-given-right'. These books teach belief in one's self... and that, says I, is one belief that I find markedly worthy of an Amen.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am in love with these books! I couldn't stop reading them they dragged me into their world and made me fall in love. The ending broke my heart and brought me to tears! I would recommend these books to young and old readers alike!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Okay, everybody stop for three seconds and think about what you're doing. You want to censor books because you believe they contain an anti-God sentiment. First off you're going against the basic democratic ideas that people are entitiled to read anything they want. Secondly, it is a work of fiction it means nothing. Pullman's magestratium might look like a slam on religion, but the truth is that is how the Catholic Church acted for over 500 years. If you are too ignorant to accept that then you don't really know your faith. Just because it talks about going against the Church doesn't mean it's a bad book. If you are secure with your faith then you should be able to read a children's book. There is nothing wrong with questioning your religion every now and then, it should even confirm your beliefs. The book itself was excellent and I recommend reading the entire series.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I don't understnad why people think The Chronicles of Narnia are better than this trilogy. Lewis is boring, the theme of the books uninteresting. Pullman, on the other hand, knows what he is doing, grabs the reader's attention, and holds on throughout the trilogy. The 'anti-Christian' thing is way overblown. I am a Catholic, and while I wouldn't reccomend these for young children, they are definitley worth reading. And as others have said, how strong can your faith be if you are afraid of a book or a movie? They simply express one man's views. They are exciting and well-written, and that's all that matters. I am 13, and if you think these books are boring or are not worth reading, you don't have a very high comprehension level! I HIGHLY RECCOMEND THESE BOOKS!
Guest More than 1 year ago
These are probably the best books i have ever read. The Golden Compass instantly sucked me in and i could not put this book down for almost two days. I didn't even realize it was promoting Atheism until a little more than half way through, and that just made it a whole lot better because I love reading about controversies, and it really pushed the story -line on me more. The author describes everyone and everything in such great detail i felt like i could see the characters directly in front of me. The Subtle Knife dragged a little for me and i felt very bored and then it sucked me right back in towards the ending. But The Amber Spyglass was simply amazing. It had gay controversy, religious controversy , and emotional controversy. overall His Dark Materials was an extraordinary series and i would recommend it to everyone, Christian, Catholic, Atheist, it is just an amazing series.