His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass

( 114 )

Overview

The only hardcover omnibus of the best-selling and award-winning fantasy trilogy, in a Contemporary Classics edition.
 
Philip Pullman's trilogy is a masterpiece that transcends genre and appeals to readers of all ages. His heroine, Lyra, is an orphan living in a parallel universe in which science, theology, and magic are entwined. The epic story that takes us through the three novels is not only a spellbinding adventure featuring armored ...

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His Dark Materials Omnibus

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Overview

The only hardcover omnibus of the best-selling and award-winning fantasy trilogy, in a Contemporary Classics edition.
 
Philip Pullman's trilogy is a masterpiece that transcends genre and appeals to readers of all ages. His heroine, Lyra, is an orphan living in a parallel universe in which science, theology, and magic are entwined. The epic story that takes us through the three novels is not only a spellbinding adventure featuring armored polar bears, magical devices, witches, and daemons, it is also an audacious and profound reimagining of Milton's Paradise Lost that has already inspired a number of serious books of literary criticism. Like J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis before him, Pullman has invented a richly detailed and marvelously imagined world, complex and thought-provoking enough to enthrall adults as well as younger readers. An utterly entrancing blend of metaphysical speculation and bravura storytelling, His Dark Materials is a monumental and enduring achievement.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307957832
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 12/6/2011
  • Series: His Dark Materials Series
  • Pages: 1144
  • Sales rank: 126,384
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 2.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Philip  Pullman

PHILIP PULLMAN was born in England in 1946. The author of numerous books, he was included by The Times (London) on its 2008 list of the fifty greatest British writers since 1945.

Good To Know

Interesting facts about Philip Pullman and his books:
  • The Amber Spyglass was the first children's book to be named the Whitbread Book of the Year.

  • Among the other awards Pullman has received are Britain's prestigious Eleanor Farjeon Award and the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (a sort of Nobel Prize for children's literature) honoring his entire body of work.

  • Pullman enjoys playing the piano. "I'd like to play it well," he quips on his website. "But I can't, so the rest of the family has to put up with my playing it badly."

  • Pullman persuaded his publisher to let him illustrate the first two books of His Dark Materials with small, symbolic pen and ink drawings at the start of each chapter. Although these illustrations were left out of first editions in the U.S., they have been included in later editions. The third book of the trilogy, The Amber Spyglass does not have illustrations, but chapters begin with quotations from some of Pullman's favorite writers, like John Milton, William Blake, and Emily Dickinson.

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      1. Hometown:
        Oxford, England
      1. Date of Birth:
        October 19, 1946
      2. Place of Birth:
        Norwich, England
      1. Education:
        Exeter College, Oxford University
      2. Website:

    Read an Excerpt

    Preface

    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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    Customer Reviews

    Average Rating 4.5
    ( 114 )
    Rating Distribution

    5 Star

    (76)

    4 Star

    (21)

    3 Star

    (6)

    2 Star

    (6)

    1 Star

    (5)

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    See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 114 Customer Reviews
    • Anonymous

      Posted December 20, 2007

      You're all bigots.

      I can't believe you're all just proving Christian stereotypes true, If someone isn't preaching Christianity, you don't want to hear it. Stop being so ignorant and intolerant.

      13 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted August 18, 2008

      Read it!!!

      I am Catholic. A coworker of mine was the product of a single parent home. Her mother was refused communion in the Catholic Church because she was divorced. They didn't take into consideration that she divorced a verbally and physically abusive man. I agree with Pullman... if I was God, I would be upset with them! I don't think people read into it enough and GET what Pullman is trying to say. It is not so much killing God, it is putting an end to a very hypocritical and corrupt organization. That being said, I did enjoy the books, but I don't this is a kids book. It is a work of FICTION... We have as much of a chance of encountering an armor clad bear than beaming up on the Star Ship Enterprise! I think it deals with concepts few children under 12 or 13 could grasp. Even an adult with a meager vocabulary might need a dictionary to read this series. From the first chapter, demon is spelled daemon... How many kids would know that it isn't 'day-mon'? Most of the 'kids' I know who have read the books are upwards of 15, which I think is an appropriate age to read this series... That is when they are able to truly start forming their own religious beliefs. In a world of iPods and Playstations, we should be happy that people are actually wanting to read.

      9 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted May 14, 2012

      A beautiful world and amazing adventure.

      This series was excellent. It has elements that closed minded people will shy away from. It also plays out darker than the movie of The Golden Compass. I have never had a book leave me feeling so deeply sad but glad when I finished it. I look forward to reading it again some day.

      7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted December 17, 2007

      Tired of the Religious Banter

      When will people realize that this is a fictitious work? It should not be such a huge deal. None of these characters are real, nor are they thrusting their beliefs on you. Much like the Bible, this book is whatever you make it out to be: an interpretation. When will the madness stop? This book is an amazing read and it pulls you in. Is that why you all are so afraid of what it means? Because you enjoyed reading it? Give it a shot and shut your traps.

      6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted September 9, 2012

      Incredible books

      Simply a masterpiece of literature. It may be a young adult series but these books are probably some of the best fiction that you will ever read.

      4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted May 27, 2012

      SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT

      This trilogy is AWSOME!!! Theres something i dont understand thigh. WHY DO ALL MY FAVE CHARECTERS DIE??? Well most of them. At least Lee shows up in bk three cept hes still D-E-A-D. D:

      4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted December 16, 2007

      Don't waste your money on this garbage.

      One man trying to make the world Godless. It won't work Phil, God bows to no one.

      4 out of 28 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted February 11, 2012

      Excellent series

      Really entertaining series.

      3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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    • Posted March 24, 2009

      more from this reviewer

      Awesome

      My favorite book EVER.
      I love to lose myself in these parallel universes.

      3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted February 20, 2008

      Great start, poor ending.

      Like another reviewer here, I loved the first book. I labored through the second book in hopes the third would be a good as the first. Unfortunately, the story loses its clarity in the third book. Maybe the messages were too subtle for me, I kept waiting for something to happen that would bring the loose ends together. The Adam and Eve allusion and the temptress seemed to me to have no purpose at all. Even 'what is Dust' wasn't really answered. I love Science Fiction/Fantasy, but this book left me unsatisfied.

      3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted December 16, 2007

      What are we teaching our kids?

      Being a Christian, I specifically read the Harry Potter series to see what the 'big deal' was too. Personally, I found the books to be a great read and while I do not agree with everything in those book, in the end good overcomes evil. As far as the Golden Compass trilogy goes (haven't read all), I cannot and will not recommend them. As a parent and a teacher I am responsible for teaching morality, obedience, and good decision making skills (among other subjects). It's rather frightening to think that the idea of killing God is acceptable. Why on Earth would I want my children or students to read such a text? Why would any parent?

      3 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted October 1, 2007

      starts great but the ending is wanting

      I first started reading this book because i had seen the previews for the up coming movie 'the golden compass'. I enjoyed reading the golden compass as well, it was a good book, however once i got on to reading the subtle knife and the ember spyglass i found the real theme of the series, which is an anti-religious theme. ( not go give away anything but some of the characters decide to kill God). I was disappionted because found this book in the childrens section and this is certainly a book that i would rather not have my child read. So because i am a religious person i found especially the final book of the series a big let down and instead of having a happy complete ending as most children's books have the ember spyglass had a less than happy ending that left me feeling as though the book could not be finished becuase there was still more for the characters to do. Overall the golden compass is a great book and i recommend it to those who enjoy books such as harry potter or lord of the rings, but as for the subtle knife and the ember spyglass I would not recommend them especially for children because they are so dark and leave the reader feeling somewhat empty rather than excited and uplifted.

      3 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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    • Posted August 2, 2010

      more from this reviewer

      I Also Recommend:

      His Dark Materials

      As far as books go, His Dark Materials is a well written series that grabs you into the story with a violence. I only caution Christian readers because this book was written with an obvious malicious intent towards God and those woh are sensative to those sortsof things need not to read this series at all!

      2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted February 17, 2009

      I Also Recommend:

      An amazing read! Magnificent for all ages!

      His Dark Materials has an edgy, original twist to fantasy and religion. It has enticing characters and plot. It keeps you guessing and is great to discuss.

      2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted June 14, 2008

      Wow! US doesn't know

      What astounding novels! The Golden Compass was a slow start but I kept reading and it got better and better. Pullman has a wild imagination! The Subtle Knife was slow...very very slow!!! Still, when Will gained possession of the knife, I was hooked. Maybe it is Pullman's style of writing The Amber Spyglass was...is...well, I can't say because I am half way done but it is absolutely amazing so far. Can't wait for teh ending! The US is so sensitive when it comes to religion, but when we were a new country we were forced into the Church of England, so don't blame them. But it is a book! A BOOK! It isn't like kids are going to say 'Huh, lyra is going to destroy God so I think I won't be religious anymore and pretend I have a daemon!' But just because it only swept 7 million in the US and about 30 million overseas doesnt mean anything. The chronicles of Narnia has some religious themes burried under the plot, and it did not sweep as much hatred as the Golden Compass, what is up with that!?

      2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted December 17, 2007

      A reviewer

      This book though interesting in overall content was disappointing. Unfortunately so is the movie even though its very different than the book. The book deliberatly uses religious terminolgy in naming the 'bad' guys. The author clearly seeks to peak your interest enough to encourage you to purchase the next two books in the series...don't bother. If he truly sought to present a different point of view he would not have referenced religous leaders and he would have been honest enough to present the true nature of the series in the first book. Atheiests can be bigots too. The author's intent is clear...God doesn't exist and the children actually 'kill God' in the third book. This author is an answer to the athiest's prayers and a nightmare for children.

      2 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted December 17, 2007

      It's about killing God so it doesn't sit well with me.

      I read the entire trilogy. While this book is well written and starts out as a fanciful romp, the agenda of the subsequent books becomes very clear. These books are about killing God and destroying His Church on earth. As a Libertarian, I absolutely support the right of people to believe as they want to, but I don't appreciate books that appear to be something they are not. Far from being allegorical and interpreted on various levels, as the books of C.S. Lewis, these books are a thinly veiled Atheist manifesto. The third book in this series ends with the children (I'm guessing around the age of 11 or 12) killing a senile God named Yahweh and being intimate with each other (in the Biblical sense). Is this really a good book for the kids? Mine are 11 and 12 and I don't think so.

      2 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted January 10, 2008

      i am disgusted

      i am so ashamed of letting myself read this book! This book is trying to make young children not believe in God which i personally think is perpostrous! all you parents out there...please dont let your child read this novel it will scare them!!!!

      2 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted May 24, 2012

      Okay

      This book is really anti-christ

      1 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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    • Posted January 3, 2010

      more from this reviewer

      Engrossing

      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.

      1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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