Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Lyra's Oxford

Lyra's Oxford

3.7 71
by Philip Pullman

See All Formats & Editions

A beguiling short story from the His Dark Materials universe! This exquisite, collectible clothbound hardcover provides our first glimpse of Lyra's life after the stunning final scene of The Amber Spyglass. With lavishly illustrated and annotated fold-out maps of Lyra's beloved Oxford, plus interior wood-cut art by John Lawrence, this handsome addition to


A beguiling short story from the His Dark Materials universe! This exquisite, collectible clothbound hardcover provides our first glimpse of Lyra's life after the stunning final scene of The Amber Spyglass. With lavishly illustrated and annotated fold-out maps of Lyra's beloved Oxford, plus interior wood-cut art by John Lawrence, this handsome addition to Philip Pullman's series will send fans cheering the world over.

Editorial Reviews

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.

Product Details

Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
Publication date:
His Dark Materials Series
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

Lyra's Oxford

By Philip Pullman

Knopf Books for Young Readers

Copyright © 2003 Philip Pullman
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780375828195

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’tstay 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.


Excerpted from Lyra's Oxford by Philip Pullman Copyright © 2003 by Philip Pullman. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

PHILIP PULLMAN is one of the most acclaimed writers working today. He is best known for the His Dark Materials trilogy (The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass), which has been named one of the top 100 novels of all time by Newsweek and one of the all-time greatest novels by Entertainment Weekly. He has also 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) 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.
It has recently been announced that The Book of Dust, the much anticipated new book from Mr. Pullman, also set in the world of His Dark Materials, will be published as a major work in three parts, with the first part to arrive in October 2017.  
Philip Pullman is the author of many other much-lauded novels. Other volumes related to His Dark Materials: Lyra’s Oxford, Once Upon a Time in the North, and The Collectors. For younger readers: I Was a Rat!; Count Karlstein; Two Crafty Criminals; Spring-Heeled Jack, and The Scarecrow and His Servant. For older readers: the Sally Lockhart quartet: The Ruby in the Smoke, The Shadow in the North, The Tiger in the Well, and The Tin PrincessThe White Mercedes; and The Broken Bridge.
Philip Pullman lives in Oxford, England. To learn more, please visit philip-pullman.com and hisdarkmaterials.com. Or follow him on Twitter at @PhilipPullman.

Brief Biography

Oxford, England
Date of Birth:
October 19, 1946
Place of Birth:
Norwich, England
Exeter College, Oxford University

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

Lyra's Oxford 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 71 reviews.
Inward_Jim More than 1 year ago
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.
AnnieBM More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Here, Howl.
Brigitte725 More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great series for teens and young adults
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This quick read was not what I expected.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
JoshuaBrooks More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago