Lyra's Oxford

( 69 )


An exciting new tale set in the world of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials saga. This collectible hardcover volume includes a short story by Mr. Pullman, plus a fold-out map of Oxford and various "souvenirs" from the past. The book is illustrated throughout with woodcut illustrations by John Lawrence.

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Lyra's Oxford

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An exciting new tale set in the world of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials saga. This collectible hardcover volume includes a short story by Mr. Pullman, plus a fold-out map of Oxford and various "souvenirs" from the past. The book is illustrated throughout with woodcut illustrations by John Lawrence.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Philip Pullman follows up the bestselling His Dark Materials trilogy with an intriguing short episode starring Lyra, who gets into some odd goings-on at Oxford. A tale that is partially about understanding how "perhaps particles move backward in time; perhaps the past affects the past in some way we don't understand; or perhaps the universe is simply more aware than we are," the book weighs in at a slender 64 pages and includes a pull-out map of Oxford, a cruise ship travel brochure, and other miscellaneous items -- all of which, Pullman states in his cryptic introduction, may (or may not) have something to do with the story. Sound mysterious? It is, but it provides the framework for a delightfully strange tale that could hold clues to Pullman's past books and may just foreshadow books to come. The story begins when Lyra and Pantalaimon encounter a witch's dæmon, who requests an escort to the home of alchemist Sebastian Makepeace. After a quick turn of events, a curious Lyra is battling a witch and being rescued by birds. But the book's real fascination lies in its imaginative extras -- the foldout map that includes handwritten notes like "Mary Malone lives here"; the postcard from Mary to Angela Gorman; and the SS Zenobia brochure -- all of which give readers plenty to puzzle over. Whether Lyra's Oxford is a sly bridge between Pullman's fantastic, past and future realms or a mere glimpse into Lyra's life since The Amber Spyglass, readers will surely clamor to figure it all out for themselves. Shana Taylor
Publishers Weekly
The fall season has brought a bounty of anticipated audiobook sequels for fans. Philip Pullman has capped off the His Dark Materials trilogy with Lyra's Oxford, not so much a sequel as a companion to the three fantasy novels. This latest adventure-essentially a short story-takes place two years after the events that close The Amber Spyglass and contains numerous intricate tidbits that close listeners will find a delightful challenge. The author reads here, along with many returning members from the full cast that made Pullman's previous audiobooks memorable. The CD package contains a map of Oxford, something Pullman has said his fans have long requested. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
One part imaginary guidebook, one part thrilling tale of mystery, love, and vengeance, this supplement to His Dark Materials will delight the trilogy's many fans. Set two years after the end of The Amber Spyglass (Knopf, 2000/VOYA December 2000) among the dark alleys and ancient buildings of Pullman's alternate-universe Oxford, the story seems at first to be simple. Lyra and her daemon Pantalaimon help Ragi, the terrified daemon of witch Yelena Pazhets, find the alchemist and disgraced ex-Scholar, Sebastian Makepeace, who alone can make an elixir to cure Yelena. Chased and attacked by the city's birds, Ragi explains that they sense that he carries Yelena's sickness. In fact, Lyra's love-softened heart, which "felt as if it were bruised forever" since she and Will parted, has somewhat dulled her keen skepticism: Not until the end of the book do she and Pan realize that the birds of the city have been protecting them from a cruel revenge trap set by Yelena and Ragi. Tucked among the pages of "Lyra and the Birds" is a dazzling array of printed ephemera related to the story, some from the current world ( a postcard from Mary Malone), and others from Lyra's (a map of Oxford, a list of travel-related books and catalogues). Although almost maddenly brief, the powerful story and its accompanying materials teem with enough fascinating details to please most fans of the trilogy. This tantalizing morsel of a story will send readers right back to reread Lyra's first three adventures, to puzzle over them as over the altheiometer. VOYA Codes 4Q 4P M J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2003, Knopf, 64p., Ages 11 to 18.
—Sophie R. Brookover
Children's Literature
Lyra Silvertongue, heroine of Mr. Pullman's highly-acclaimed "His Dark Materials" trilogy is at the center of this short story. The author describes the story as a "sort of stepping stone between the trilogy and the book that's coming next." The idea for this story came to Mr. Pullman when he began gathering ephemera from Lyra's world—a map of her Oxford, a postcard, and cruise information. The author says the documents, that are tucked into the book, may or may not be related to this story or to other stories that come. He adds that readers who study them may find clues. In this story, Lyra and her daemon (attending spirit), Pan, see a huge flock of birds acting strangely, as if they are driving away another bird. When Lyra rescues the "bird" she discovers that it is a witch's bird-shaped daemon who pleads for her help. When Lyra agrees, the daemon leads her into a perilous situation. How will she avoid the trap set for her? Lyra is such a beguiling character and the short story is so engrossing that readers who haven't read about Lyra before will surely want to go back and read everything about her. The book with its red cloth cover topped with tinted engraving of Oxford is a pleasure to behold as well as to read. 2003, Alfred A Knopf, Ages 12 up.
—Janet Crane Barley
School Library Journal
Gr 5-9-Pullman returns to the universe of "His Dark Materials" with this gift-book package anchored by a new short story, "Lyra and the Birds." There are a few other goodies, including a pullout map of Oxford and a postcard from Dr. Mary Malone. In his preface, Pullman indicates that these "-other things might be connected with the story, or they might not; they might be connected to stories that haven't appeared yet. It's not easy to tell." These "souvenirs" give readers something to puzzle out, and to determine how they might (or might not) relate to anything. The short story itself doesn't lack for action. Lyra and her daemon companion, Pantalaimon, happen upon a witch's daemon named Ragi, who has sought out Lyra's help to find an alchemist named Sebastian Makepeace, who may be able to help his witch, Yelena Pazhets, who has been struck by a mysterious illness. The story winds its way through Oxford toward the alchemist's home, ending with an unexpected but ultimately hopeful resolution. The lovely woodcut engravings fit both the design of the book and the tone of the tale perfectly. Full appreciation of the story is very much dependent on having read Pullman's much-acclaimed trilogy.-Tim Wadham, Maricopa County Library District, Phoenix, AZ Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375828195
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 10/28/2003
  • Series: His Dark Materials Series
  • Pages: 64
  • Sales rank: 186,655
  • Age range: 10 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: 910L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 4.40 (w) x 6.80 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Philip  Pullman

Philip Pullman has won many distinguished prizes, including the Carnegie Medal for The Golden Compass (and the reader-voted "Carnegie of Carnegies" for the best children's book of the past seventy years); the Whitbread (now Costa) Book of the Year Award for The Amber Spyglass; a Booker Prize long-list nomination (The Amber Spyglass); Parents' Choice Gold Awards (The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass); and the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, in honor of his body of work. In 2004, he was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

Philip Pullman is the author of many books for young readers, including two volumes related to the His Dark Materials trilogy: Lyra's Oxford and Once Upon a Time in the North. He lives in Oxford, England. To learn more, please visit and

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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

LYRA didn’t often climb out of her bedroom window these days. She had a better way onto the roof of Jordan College: the Porter had given her a key that let her onto the roof of the Lodge Tower. He’d let her have it because he was too old to climb the steps and check the stonework and the lead, as was his duty four times a year; so she made a full report to him, and he passed it to the Bursar, and in exchange she was able to get out onto the roof whenever she wanted. When she lay down on the lead, she was invisible from everywhere except the sky. A little parapet ran all the way around the square roof, and Pantalaimon often draped his pine-marten form over the mock battlements on the corner facing south, and dozed while Lyra sat below with her back against the sun-drenched stone, studying the books she’d brought up with her. Sometimes they’d stop and watch the storks that nested on St. Michael’s Tower, just across Turl Street. Lyra had a plan to tempt them over to Jordan, and she’d even dragged several planks of wood up to the roof and laboriously nailed them together to make a platform, just as they’d done at St. Michael’s; but it hadn’t worked. The storks were loyal to St. Michael’s, and that was that.
“They wouldn’t stay for long if we kept on coming here, anyway,” said Pantalaimon.
“We could tame them. I bet we could. What do they eat?”
“Fish,” he guessed. “Frogs.” He was lying on top of the stone parapet, lazily grooming his red gold fur. Lyra stood up to lean on the stone beside him, her limbs full of warmth, and gazed out toward the southeast, where a dusty dark-green line of trees rose above the spires and rooftops in the early evening air.

She was waiting for the starlings. That year an extraordinary number of them had come to roost in the Botanic Garden, and every evening they would rise out of the trees like smoke, and swirl and swoop and dart through the skies above the city in their thousands.
“Millions,” Pan said.
“Maybe, easily. I don’t know who could ever count them. . . . There they are!” They didn’t seem like individual birds, or even individual dots of black against the blue; it was the flock itself that was the individual. It was like a single piece of cloth, cut in a very complicated way that let it swing through itself and double over and stretch and fold in three dimensions without ever tangling, turning itself inside out and elegantly waving and crossing through and falling and rising and falling again. “If it was saying something . . . ,” said Lyra.
“Like signaling.”
“No one would know, though. No one could ever understand what it meant.”
“Maybe it means nothing. It just is.”
“Everything means something,” Lyra said severely. “We just have to find out how to read it.” Pantalaimon leapt across a gap in the parapet to the stone in the corner, and stood on his hind legs, balancing with his tail and gazing more intently at the vast swirling flock over the far side of the city.
“What does that mean, then?” he said. She knew exactly what he was referring to. She was watching it too. Something was jarring or snagging at the smokelike, flaglike, ceaseless motion of the starlings, as if that miraculous multidimensional cloth had found itself unable to get rid of a knot.
“They’re attacking something,” Lyra said, shading her eyes. And coming closer. Lyra could hear them now, too: a high-pitched angry mindless shriek. The bird at the center of the swirling anger was darting to right and left, now speeding upward, now dropping almost to the rooftops, and when it was no closer than the spire of the University Church, and before they could even see what kind of bird it was, Lyra and Pan found themselves shaking with surprise. For it wasn’t a bird, although it was bird-shaped; it was a dæmon. A witch’s dæmon.
“Has anyone else seen it? Is anyone looking?” said Lyra. Pan’s black eyes swept every rooftop, every window in sight, while Lyra leaned out and looked up and down the street on one side and then darted to the other three sides to look into Jordan’s front quadrangle and along the roof as well. The citizens of Oxford were going about their daily business, and a noise of birds in the sky wasn’t interesting enough to disturb them. Just as well: because a dæmon was instantly recognizable as what he was, and to see one without his human would have caused a sensation, if not an outcry of fear and horror. “Oh, this way, this way!” Lyra said urgently, unwilling to shout, but jumping up and waving both arms; and Pan too was trying to attract the dæmon’s attention, leaping from stone to stone, flowing across the gaps and spinning around to leap back again. The birds were closer now, and Lyra could see the dæmon clearly: a dark bird about the size of a thrush, but with long arched wings and a forked tail. Whatever he’d done to anger the starlings, they were possessed by fear and rage, swooping, stabbing, tearing, trying to batter him out of the air.
“This way! Here, here!” Pan cried, and Lyra flung open the trapdoor to give the dæmon a way of escape. The noise, now that the starlings were nearly overhead, was deafening, and Lyra thought that people below must be looking up to see this war in the sky. And there were so many birds, as thick as flakes in a blizzard of black snow, that Lyra, her arm across her head, lost sight of the dæmon among them. But Pan had him. As the dæmon-bird dived low toward the tower, Pan stood up on his hind legs, and then leapt up to gather the dæmon in his paws and roll with him over and over toward the trapdoor, and they fell through clumsily as Lyra struck out with her fists to left and right and then tumbled through after the two dæmons, dragging the trapdoor shut behind her.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 69 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 69 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 25, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Just Par. Not great, but not below his other work by any means.

    It was a good story, I was expecting more than 30 pages though (most of which were illustrations). It made me want more, but the fairly inconsequential story, the length, and the price make the nook download somewhat of a disappointment. The hard copy would have been nice for the extras and the illustrations and such, but since booksellers don't carry much niche anymore (unless it's vampire stuff) this was nowhere around me. Not a bad story, but you'll be happier with the physical copy.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 2, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A interesting aside

    This short book was an interesting side story to the Golden Compass series. But I found the book a bit disappointing. I enjoyed it but Pullman set high standards with his other books and this one did not quite measure up. If you enjoyed the others, you will enjoy this as well. Recommended for Pullman and Golden Compass fans.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 10, 2015

    Short & Sweet

    It's just a nice little story to show us that Lyra is still up to her same shenanigans. The included map also allows us a small glimpse into her world. I hope that Pullman will continue Lyra's adventures.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2015

    Love this

    Great series for teens and young adults

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2013

    Quick read.

    This quick read was not what I expected.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2012

    What a waste

    Story is like 10-20 pages long with a bunch of random pictures that are not related to the book at all. Does not connect to the past books at all... it's basically one short little adventure that is not much of an adventure and doesnt really tie together. What an absolute waste of money. Very dissapointed in Pullman.

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  • Posted May 14, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    A great follow up to some great books

    I only rated it 4 of 5 because it was very short. Philip Pulman is a great author for anyone that has an open mind. It was a nice revisit to Lyra's world and a good mini adventure.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2011

    Terrible Book

    Dont buy it it is a waste of money it is only 31 pages.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2011


    The writing is great since it's Pullman, but the book itself is very short and unimpressive. I was pretty disappointed when I read this; comparing it with Pullman's other works this is pretty shallow and short-winded. I wouldn't recommend this book.

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  • Posted November 29, 2010

    Lukas Yoder

    I thought it was great.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2008

    Lyra's Oxford

    After turning the last page of 'The Amber Spyglass', I could feel myself yearning for more. It's funny, how after finishing an astounding book/series, you feel almost heartsick. At the end, I found that there was a fourth book, called 'Lyra's Oxford.' I was so overjoyed, that I instantly logged onto Barnes & Noble and searched for this fourth book. I am longing to read it!

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2005

    Interesting Enough To Keep You Entertained

    This book contains a story, but that's not all. It has SO much more. The Story itself would get 3 stars, but I gave it five because of all the extra info that makes you wonder. 'Will Pullman write more about these characters or will he just leave us all wondering?', that IS the question. Well, I deffinately recommend it to all. I would LOVE to read lots and lots more about both Lyra and Will and all the other characters! Personally I loved HDM trilogy and after the Amber Spyglass was somewhat frustrated becuase it was such a good book and I wanted to know more. Pullman is a phenominal writer and this Trilogy of his is sure to become a classic. I could go on forever telling you about HDM/Lyra's Oxford, but I won't. My point is you should read them ALL, NOW!!!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2004


    Pullman has done it again. I was enthusiastic when I found out there was another book. I had a fit when I finished THE AMBER SPY GLASS because I didn't know at that minuet there was this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2004

    My favorite series's history revealed!

    I've seriously read HDM 100 times, and I couldn't wait for more information. This book, adn The Book of Dust, promise to appeal to my thirst for more information about Lyra, Will, and Dust.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2003

    Pullman does it again!

    This is an excellent book, I must say it's VERY short, but well worth it. Phillip Pullman can put an adventerous, story into 64 Pages! The map is very cool, and Lyra is the same as she is in The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass;adventerous, and lying as usualy with Pan always by her side! A MUST READ!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2003


    i was so excited about this next book, that last one was so good it made me cry when Will and Lyra parted, i cant wait to read anything about the charcters, even if they arent together, i hope Philip Pullman writes more about these charcters, cause these are like some of my favorite charcters

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2003

    This book is great

    this is one of my favorite books its all about lyra and her next adventure!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2003

    On the edge again

    I absolutely loved His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman, and it's kept me wanting more since I finished. This little glimpse into Lyra's world after the final scenes of The Amber Spyglass was a breath of fresh air, as well as a tempting little snipet of hopefully greater things to come.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2003

    Whats to come

    I have read all of His Dark Materials, and loved this short story about Lyra. It made me think about the nature of the universe... and how the ether between them is formed. I can't wait for more!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2003

    i love this book

    i love this book it's good yes it's small but that just give him more time to write another one

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 69 Customer Reviews

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