The Amber Spyglass (His Dark Materials Series #3)

The Amber Spyglass (His Dark Materials Series #3)

by Philip Pullman

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback - Reissue)

$8.99
View All Available Formats & Editions
Eligible for FREE SHIPPING
  • Want it by Tuesday, September 25?   Order by 12:00 PM Eastern and choose Expedited Shipping at checkout.
    Same Day shipping in Manhattan. 
    See Details

Overview

The Amber Spyglass (His Dark Materials Series #3) by Philip Pullman

The Amber Spyglass brings the intrigue of The Golden Compass and The Subtle Knife to a heart-stopping end, marking the final volume of His Dark Materials as the most powerful of the trilogy.

Along with the return of Lyra and other familiar characters from the first two books come a host of new characters: the Mulefa, mysterious wheeled creatures with the power to see Dust; Gallivespian Lord Roke, a hand-high spymaster to Lord Asriel; and Metatron, a fierce and mighty angel. So too come startling revelations: 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 uncover the secret of Dust.

Philip Pullman deftly brings the cliffhangers and mysteries of His Dark Materials to an earth-shattering conclusion and confirms his fantasy trilogy as an undoubted and enduring classic.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780440238157
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication date: 09/09/2003
Series: His Dark Materials Series
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 480
Sales rank: 544,156
Product dimensions: 4.19(w) x 6.88(h) x 1.03(d)
Lexile: 950L (what's this?)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Philip Pullman was born in Norwich, England and was brought up in Rhodesia, Australia, London and Wales. Philip graduated from Oxford University in 1973 with a degree in English, and has taught middle school at Westminter College. He is the author of many highly-acclaimed books for young readers, from contemporary fiction to Victorian thrillers, and has written plays and picture books for readers of all ages. Philip's most recent work, The Amber Spyglass, has won numerous awards, including the Parent's Choice Gold Book Award, and a Booklist Editors' Choice.

Philip currently lives in Oxford with his wife, Judith, and children.

Hometown:

Oxford, England

Date of Birth:

October 19, 1946

Place of Birth:

Norwich, England

Education:

Exeter College, Oxford University

Read an Excerpt

THE ENCHANTED SLEEPER

In a valley shaded with rhododendrons, close to the snow line, where a stream milky with meltwater splashed and where doves and linnets flew among the immense pines, lay a cave, half, hidden by the crag above and the stiff heavy leaves that clustered below.

The woods were full of sound: the stream between the rocks, the wind among the needles of the pine branches, the chitter of insects and the cries of small arboreal mammals, as well as the birdsong; and from time to time a stronger gust of wind would make one of the branches of a cedar or a fir move against another and groan like a cello.

It was a place of brilliant sunlight, never undappled. Shafts of lemon-gold brilliance lanced down to the forest floor between bars and pools of brown-green shade; and the light was never still, never constant, because drifting mist would often float among the treetops, filtering all the sunlight to a pearly sheen and brushing every pine cone with moisture that glistened when the mist lifted. Sometimes the wetness in the clouds condensed into tiny drops half mist and half rain, which floated downward rather than fell, making a soft rustling patter among the millions of needles.

There was a narrow path beside the stream, which led from a village-little more than a cluster of herdsmen's dwellings - at the foot of the valley to a half-ruined shrine near the glacier at its head, a place where faded silken flags streamed out in the Perpetual winds from the high mountains, and offerings of barley cakes and dried tea were placed by pious villagers. An odd effect of the light, the ice, and the vapor enveloped the head of the valley in perpetualrainbows.

The cave lay some way above the path. Many years before, a holy man had lived there, meditating and fasting and praying, and the place was venerated for the sake of his memory. It was thirty feet or so deep, with a dry floor: an ideal den for a bear or a wolf, but the only creatures living in it for years had been birds and bats.

But the form that was crouching inside the entrance, his black eyes watching this way and that, his sharp ears pricked, was neither bird nor bat. The sunlight lay heavy and rich on his lustrous golden fur, and his monkey hands turned a pine cone this way and that, snapping off the scales with sharp fingers and scratching out the sweet nuts.

Behind him, just beyond the point where the sunlight reached, Mrs. Coulter was heating some water in a small pan over a naphtha stove. Her daemon uttered a warning murmur and Mrs. Coulter looked up.

Coming along the forest path was a young village girl. Mrs. Coulter knew who she was: Ama had been bringing her food for some days now. Mrs. Coulter had let it be known when she first arrived that she was a holy woman engaged in meditation and prayer, and under a vow never to speak to a man. Ama was the only person whose visits she accepted.

This time, though, the girl wasn't alone. Her father was with her, and while Ama climbed up to the cave, he waited a little way off.

Ama came to the cave entrance and bowed.

"My father sends me with prayers for your goodwill," she said.

"Greetings, child," said Mrs. Coulter.

The girl was carrying a bundle wrapped in faded cotton, which she laid at Mrs. Coulter's feet. Then she held out a little bunch of flowers, a dozen or so anemones bound with a cotton thread, and began to speak in a rapid, nervous voice. Mrs. Coulter understood some of the language of these mountain people, but it would never do to let them know how much. So she smiled and motioned to the girl to close her lips and to watch their two daemons. The golden monkey was holding out his little black hand, and Ama's butterfly daemon was fluttering closer and closer until he settled on a horny forefinger.

The monkey brought him slowly to his ear, and Mrs. Coulter felt a tiny stream of understanding flow into her mind, clarifying the girl's words. The villagers were happy for a holy woman, such as herself, to take refuge in the cave, but it was rumored 'that she had a companion with her who was in some way dangerous and powerful.

It was that which made the villagers afraid. Was this other Steing Mrs. Coulter's master, or her servant? Did she mean harm? Why was she there in the first place? Were they going to stay long? Ama conveyed these questions with a thousand misgivings.

A novel answer occurred to Mrs. Coulter as the daemon's understanding filtered into hers. She could tell the truth. Not all of it, naturally, but some. She felt a little quiver of laughter at the idea, but kept it out of her voice as she explained:

"Yes, there is someone else with me. But there is nothing to be afraid of. She is my daughter, and she is under a spell that made her fall asleep. We have come here to hide from the enchanter who put the spell on her, while I try to cure her and keep her from harm. Come and see her, if you like."

Ama was half-soothed by Mrs. Coulter's soft voice, and half afraid still; and the talk of enchanters and spells added to the awe she felt. But the golden monkey was holding her daemon so gently, and she was curious, besides, so she followed Mrs. Coulter into the cave.

Her father, on the path below, took a step forward, and his crow daemon raised her wings once or twice, but he stayed where he was.

Mrs. Coulter lit a candle, because the light was fading rapidly, and led Ama to the back of the cave. Ama's eyes glittered widely in the gloom, and her hands were moving together in a repetitive gesture of finger on thumb, finger on thumb, to ward off danger by confusing the evil spirits.

"You see?" said Mrs. Coulter. "She can do no harm. There's nothing to be afraid of."


From the Audio Cassette (Unabridged) edition.

Table of Contents

Reading Group Guide

1. Dust, Dark Matter, and Sraf are three different names for the same material. How do these names reflect the different worlds they come from? What attitudes and feelings does each society have about this material?

2. Why do you think the subtle knife breaks when Will thinks of his mother? When the knife breaks, do you think Mrs. Coulter is aware of her influence on Will? Are there any connections between Mrs. Coulter and Will's mother?

3. In each book of the His Dark Materials trilogy, a special device (such as the alethiometer, the subtle knife, or the amber spyglass) is introduced in connection with the pursuit of Dust. What are the different properties of each instrument? How does each instrument reflect the personality of the person that uses it (i. e., Lyra, Will, and Dr. Malone)?

4. When asked to mend the subtle knife, Iorek is hesitant: "Sometimes a tool may have other uses that you don't know. Sometimes in doing what you intend you also do what the knife intends, without knowing." What do you think the knife's intentions are? Based on these intentions, who do you think created the knife and for what purpose?

5. By the end of The Amber Spyglass, what similiarites can you see between Lyra and Mrs. Coulter? How is Lyra's storytelling different from Mrs. Coulter's lying?

6. In The Amber Spyglass, Mrs. Coulter goes through a dramatic transformation as her maternal feelings for Lyra break through to the surface. What is the catalyst for this change?

Interviews

October 2000

The Man Behind the Magic: An Interview with Philip Pullman

Barnes & Noble.com: Who is your favorite character to write and why?

Philip Pullman: I like them all, of course. People are surprised when I say that I like Mrs. Coulter, but what I mean, of course, is that I like writing about her, because she’s so completely free of any moral constraint. There’s nothing she wouldn't do, and that’s a great delight for a storyteller, because it means your story can be unconstrained, too. I’m not sure I’d like to know her in real life (Well, of course I would; she’d be fascinating). Writers have always enjoyed the villains, and so do readers, if they’re honest.

B&N.com: Can you give us some insight into what daemons are? Why don’t non-humans have them? They're a fascinating idea. I wish I had one.

PP: I was discovering more about daemons all the way through -- right up to the very end of The Amber Spyglass. And I’m sure there are other aspects of them that I haven’t discovered yet. I don’t want to say anything about them which will give away some of the plot of the final book, but I will say that the daemon is that part of you that helps you grow towards wisdom. I don’t know where the idea of them came from -- it just emerged as I was trying to begin the story. I suddenly realized that Lyra had a daemon, and it all grew out of that. Of course, the daemons had to represent something important in the meaning of the story, and not be merely picturesque; otherwise they’d just get in the way. So there is a big difference between the daemons of children and adults, because the story as a whole is about growing up, or innocence and experience.

Underlying the whole story is a myth of origin and creation, which I discovered as I wrote. I don’t make it explicit anywhere, but I relied on it all the way through. It explains where daemons come from and why we have them. I’m thinking of doing a sort of companion volume, which would be a natural place for that myth to be written down, so watch this space!

B&N.com: "It was so beautiful it was almost holy." This is how Lyra's first impression of the Northern Lights is described in The Golden Compass. Have you ever seen the Northern Lights?

PP: No, I haven’t. But I’ve been to Edmonton in Alberta on three separate occasions, and each time it was a beautiful, clear night and the people said: We were bound to see them, they turned up every night, it was just the right time of year, there was no question of it, they were here last night, you should have seen them, you could bet your life they’ll give a good show tonight, and so on and so on. And did they show up? Not a flicker! I’m beginning to think they’re just one of these traveler’s tales.

B&N.com: Why did you decide to set the story in a world that is similar to our own, but not quite the same?

PP: There are many answers. Laziness, perhaps. I couldn’t be bothered to do enough research to set a story in the real world and get it all right, so I just used the stuff I already knew and made up the rest. That might be one answer. Or else I was too idle to make up a complete new world, so I just made up some of it and when I ran out of energy I used some other stuff I knew about the real world. That might be another.

Another answer might be that I thought it would be more intriguing for the reader -- except that I don’t think about my readers very much, so that wouldn’t be altogether true.

Another might be that I like reading that sort of book myself, so I just did the sort of thing I liked reading. But in fact, I don’t know many other books that have this sort of background, so that wouldn’t be completely true either.

Another might be that I didn’t actually choose it at all. The story came to me in this form and with this setting, and I had no say in the matter. I just had to do what it said. And that would be the truest answer, perhaps. But there’s a bit of truth in all of them.

B&N.com: Why do you think fantasy literature is so appealing to adults as well as to children?

PP: I haven’t the faintest idea. Oddly enough, it doesn’t appeal to me very much. I read very little fantasy. I prefer straightforward realism, and I like that because I can connect with it, because I feel it tells me about important things, because it’s real, because it’s true. So it’s no use asking me why fantasy appeals to other people. You’d have to ask them!

B&N.com: Did you write His Dark Materials with a specific age group in mind?

PP: No. I don’t think about the readers at all. If I think about the audience I’d like to have, I don’t think about a particular age group, or a particular gender, or a particular class or ethnic group or anything specific at all. I’d like the largest audience possible, please. When you say, This book is for children, what you’re understood as saying is This book is NOT for adults. I don’t want that. I’d like to think that I’m telling the sort of story that holdeth children from play and old men from the chimney corner, in the old phrase of Sir Philip Sidney. Everyone is welcome, and no one is shut out, and I hope each reader will find a tale worth spending time with.

B&N.com: The main hero of your trilogy is Lyra -- a loveable, extremely impressive girl/young woman who has a large task on her hands. It's said by the people who have insight into Lyra's importance that she must fulfill her destiny without knowing what her destiny is. Can you explain why?

PP: Because it’s her nature that has to make a choice, not her conscience. If she knows that she’s about to do something fateful, her awareness, her self-consciousness will get in the way and spoil everything. So it’s a very delicate balance that has to be kept.

B&N.com: How much will you miss the characters now that you’ve finished the story?

PP: A huge amount. I’ve lived with them for seven years. In another sense, I’ve lived with them all my life because everything I’ve ever learned has gone into this book. It was very hard letting it go. I kept wanting to call it back and adjust this bit or that, but you have to let go in the end. Lyra and Will and the others are on their own now. I hope they find old friends, and make new ones.

Introduction

October 2000

The Amber Spyglass: His Dark Materials, Book III

The Amber Spyglass brings the intrigue of The Golden Compass and The Subtle Knife to a heart-stopping conclusion, marking the third and final volume as the trilogy's most powerful. Along with the return of Lyra, Will, Mrs. Coulter, Lord Asriel, Dr. Mary Malone, and Iorek Burnison the armored bear, The Amber Spyglass introduces a host of new characters: the Mulefa, mysterious wheeled creatures with the power to see the Dust; and Metatron, a fierce and mighty angel. This final volume brings some stark revelations, as well: 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 a shocking outcome -- will reveal the secret of Dust. Read our exclusive interview with Philip Pullman, and be sure to join us for our live chat!

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

The Amber Spyglass (His Dark Materials Series #3) 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 671 reviews.
JayInBloom More than 1 year ago
This book is the third in the series 'His Dark Materials' by Philip Pullman. So much controversy has surrounded this book, and this is why. In 'The Amber Spyglass', Lyra and Will, the heroine and hero of the story, learn about growing up, Dust finally settling, having their daemons (spirit in animal form) find their permanent form, love, and the existence of God. now Pullman was a devout atheist when he was alive, so it shouldn't have been shocking what he said in his books about God and His angels, but many people thought it was. This book was ahead of its time, and although considered a 'children's' or 'young adults' book, it is just as easily adult literature. In his metaphorical ways, Pullman discusses the possibility of other worlds, evolution of these worlds, a young teenager's blooming sexuality, how politics AND religion can corrupt people's individual thinking, and how the interconnections between worlds, and the organisms in them can bring not just one species or world, but everything, falling down around our heads. One of the main issues in this book was the way God, or the 'Authority' was described, not as an all-powerful being, but simply an archangel, dying of old age, and how the hapless Lyra, and her friend Will, only being thirteen or fourteen, don't realize that by setting the Authority free of His prison, they have killed Him. You see, only the Angels and witches of Lyra's world have free access to all of the adjoining worlds in the universe, and Will carries a knife (see The Subtle Knife, Book Two of His Dark Materials) that can rip holes from one world to another. And Lyra carries an alethiometer, or a golden compass (see The Golden Compass, Book One of His Dark Materials) that can answer any question asked of it. After Lyra and her daemon, Pan, are kidnapped by Lyra's evil, theologian mother, Mrs. Coulter, Will and the polar bear king Iorek have to rescue her, as Lyra represents the rebirth of Eve, 'the temptress'. Also, Lyra's father, a scientist, is after her, to protect her from the Church, who believe they have to kill her, to stop the replay of the Fall from Grace described in the Book of Genesis in the Holy Bible. Will tears a whole in another world, where he and Lyra escape to, and they find themselves in the world of the dead, trying to find a way out, so the dead can be free to evaporate into the air. The Amber Spyglass is not a book to read simply for leisure, for once you read it once, you will find yourself going back to pet its spine maybe a year afterwards, to open it to a favorite spot, and discover new meanings behind every metaphorical phrase in the book. It is a thing to mull over, and smile at your new discoveries. One part that describes both evolution at its highest and Pullman's great ability to imagine things outside of our world, is the world in which no humans exist, but a certain Dr. Mary Malone stumbles upon, and discovers a completely, previously unheard of intelligent being, the mulefa. Their world evolved in a completely different way than out own, and theirs ties into both Mary's and Will's, and Lyra's worlds, in the way of Dust, or the beginning of the original Fall. It may seem like a lot of information, but Pullman's writing pull you in from the first page and you are stuck until you hear Lyra's last words, 'Build the Republic of Heaven', and the book spits you out, jumbled and ready to try and find the next in the series, but of course, as in all great endings, there is n
Ludolove More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed reading this series, but I thought the Amber Spyglass was not as good as the first two. I would have liked it more if one of the main characters were the narrators of the book. I felt like I needed a deeper understanding of their emotions, or something that gave the characters a greater depth. All and all, I still would definitely still recommend this series to all the fantasy lovers out there. This story has fantastical worlds and imaginative characters.
A-Wood More than 1 year ago
Is a very good ending to a very good sci-fi trilogy. Can definitely see his anti-religion and anti-God points of view very well in it. If that bothers you then stay away, but if you like science fiction and are looking for a good series to read then try this out.
Pacifist More than 1 year ago
Well this isn't too original since others have said it well before me, but Pullman managed to pull off an inverted Paradise Lost in the third part of this very thoughtful and belief-challenging trilogy. I will warn you that if you are a devout Christian, you may get about three-quarters of the way through and want to throw the book out the nearest window. Don't. Instead, think about what is said and what is happening. I don't know about you, and it may sound strange, especially if you have finished the trilogy, but I found myself more assured than ever that life on Earth is only a small part of an infinite whole. And yet each of us has the capacity within ourselves to make that small part of our existence rich an fulfilling ( or shallow, selfish and ultimately devastating). On the other hand, you can read the Dark Materials trilogy as just a great story. Pullman says that was what was in his mind when he wrote it. No great philosophy - just good story-telling. C'mon Mr. Pullman - do you expect me to believe that?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is very good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The final book in the series does not dissapoint
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
this is my favorite series. Pullman is a genious and he characters are awesome. The plot is so unique and even thought the ending is bittersweet, it is the best book ever!!! Ive read it about5 times and will never get tired of it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I want to start off by saying I really enjoyed the first two books. This one on the other hand I had trouble getting through. It did not peak my interests, but I continued to read it to find oit what happened to the characters. There was several areas that seemed drawn out and even repetative. When discribing how characters are feeling they almost always have 3 or 4 different emotions seperated by and...and...and. The other books were like this too, but this one started to bother me with a lot of its dialog and even narraration. In all I was pretty confused with why Lyra and Will were even going the places they were. Luckily I pushed through to get it to weave together, but ultimately it felt like it was expanded to create more pages.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Both "The Golden Compass" and its sequel were beautiful novels, with a wonderful plot, believable characters, and a plot twist here and ther, so I expected the third book would also be great. However, I didn't even get past the fifth chapter: The book was both boring and offensive. I am Christian and I am usually not bothered by other religious opinions, so I was surprised with myself when I realized how irritated I was by the idea that God can be destroyed and the claim that there is no heaven. The homosexuality theme did not bother me, but Balthamos and Baruch were highly unlikable to me. They were confusing and I thought them very unnecessary. Ama was a completely random character and Lyra's dream about Roger kept getting interrupted, which I absolutely hated. Also, it has come to my attention that there may have some sexual activity between children, which shocked me. Overall, an awful book (PS. RIP to Lee and Hester) :(
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. And harry potter, percy jackson and twighlight. Fantasy is not real! Do not take it so serioudly. God is fine with you reading this, but not with you letting it afect your faith. Don't be mean people. Phillup pullman just wrote a FANTASY novel. Not a anti God rant. Goodness.
_dreamer_0 More than 1 year ago
Best book in  the series The one I enjoyed the most. It was really suspenseful and mysterious, and the writing was beautiful. Recommended for all teens!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well thought ou and extremly intricate. The type of book you need to read the entire series twice to even begin to understand.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I interpreted the end of the book this way.... Lyra and Will never closed the portal connecting their worlds, and so damned all the dead. She tempted Will to remain with her, but to do so would doom everyone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There are a lot of people who seem to like this book less than the first two. And it certainly is of a different style than the first two. The writing is much more mature and assured. And the plot is more mature. But in the end none of that matters because this is a wonderful way to end the trilogy. And as it comes to and end, bittersweet as it is, it is a good one. Please please please read this trilogy. Its worth the time, effort and attention.
cindylb More than 1 year ago
Good book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I especially liked the part where Lyra was helping to repair the knife.
nookwormBN More than 1 year ago
I have read all three of Philip Pullman's books from His Dark Materials Series and enjoyed them all. This book was good with a surprize ending.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book cant get much better yes you have to read the first two but to ,e its worth it this book is packed with action mytholigy and many othr chracteristics i know that any readr would find himself or herself glued to this book. I recomend this novel for 12 to even 80 year olds or maybe even higher if it is a little child (7 or 8) i would think twice. FIVE STARZ
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I liked it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was fantastic
Oljick More than 1 year ago
This book is a WONDERFUL ending to great saga. Established characters come back to wrap everything up in a nice neat bow. This book isn't without it's faults as some others have mentioned, but they are few and far between. The book is pretty predictable knowing what's going to happen to Will and Lyra, it's spelled out multiple times but when it happens it's heart wretching. The whole series is phenominal and I wish the first movie would have done beter. Would have been nice to see some of the imagry that's in this book.
Katherine Siddall More than 1 year ago
This series is sooooo amanzing. Its one of my favorite series. I cried a lot during the end of the book. It has everything a book needed for me. I love how will and lyra ended up together. You should read these series from beginning to last. Its a 10 star book. Very highy reccomned for anybody to read.
Aimee LaBuff More than 1 year ago
The stunning conclusion to his dark materials trilogy is my second favorite of the three. The golden compass will always be my favorite but this one comes in a close second. So amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous 4 months ago
Philip Pullman has created rich, turbulent world's inhabited by the most extraordinary creatures, alive with love, hate, greed, pain, friendship, and devotion. Just wonderful. A fantastically unique and well-told story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fun