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The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials) Hardcover – April 16, 1996

4.6 out of 5 stars 4,374 ratings

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From the Publisher

his dark materials book 1 fantasy his dark materials
HIS DARK MATERIALS HIS DARK MATERIALS HIS DARK MATERIALS HIS DARK MATERIALS HIS DARK MATERIALS
His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass (Book 1) His Dark Materials: The Subtle Knife (Book 2) His Dark Materials: The Amber Spyglass (Book 3) The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage (Volume 1) The Book of Dust: The Secret Commonwealth (Volume 2)
Enter the world of His Dark Materials The modern fantasy classic soon to be an HBO original series – HIS DARK MATERIALS! The second book in the HIS DARK MATERIALS series – soon to be an HBO original series! The third book in the HIS DARK MATERIALS series – soon to be an HBO original series! Set in the same world as HIS DARK MATERIALS - meet Lyra before the events of The Golden Compass! Set in the same world as HIS DARK MATERIALS - discover what happened to Lyra after The Amber Spyglass!

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Some books improve with age--the age of the reader, that is. Such is certainly the case with Philip Pullman's heroic, at times heart-wrenching novel, The Golden Compass, a story ostensibly for children but one perhaps even better appreciated by adults. The protagonist of this complex fantasy is young Lyra Belacqua, a precocious orphan growing up within the precincts of Oxford University. But it quickly becomes clear that Lyra's Oxford is not precisely like our own--nor is her world. For one thing, people there each have a personal daemon, the manifestation of their soul in animal form. For another, hers is a universe in which science, theology, and magic are closely allied:
As for what experimental theology was, Lyra had no more idea than the urchins. She had formed the notion that it was concerned with magic, with the movements of the stars and planets, with tiny particles of matter, but that was guesswork, really. Probably the stars had daemons just as humans did, and experimental theology involved talking to them.
Not that Lyra spends much time worrying about it; what she likes best is "clambering over the College roofs with Roger the kitchen boy who was her particular friend, to spit plum stones on the heads of passing Scholars or to hoot like owls outside a window where a tutorial was going on, or racing through the narrow streets, or stealing apples from the market, or waging war." But Lyra's carefree existence changes forever when she and her daemon, Pantalaimon, first prevent an assassination attempt against her uncle, the powerful Lord Asriel, and then overhear a secret discussion about a mysterious entity known as Dust. Soon she and Pan are swept up in a dangerous game involving disappearing children, a beautiful woman with a golden monkey daemon, a trip to the far north, and a set of allies ranging from "gyptians" to witches to an armor-clad polar bear.

In The Golden Compass, Philip Pullman has written a masterpiece that transcends genre. It is a children's book that will appeal to adults, a fantasy novel that will charm even the most hardened realist. Best of all, the author doesn't speak down to his audience, nor does he pull his punches; there is genuine terror in this book, and heartbreak, betrayal, and loss. There is also love, loyalty, and an abiding morality that infuses the story but never overwhelms it. This is one of those rare novels that one wishes would never end. Fortunately, its sequel, The Subtle Knife, will help put off that inevitability for a while longer. --Alix Wilber

From Publishers Weekly

If Pullman's imagination dazzled in the Victorian thrillers that culminated with The Tin Princess, in this first volume of a fantasy trilogy it is nothing short of breathtaking. Here Earth is one of only five planets in the solar system, every human has a daemon (the soul embodied as an animal familiar) and, in a time similar to our late 19th century, Oxford scholars and agents of the supreme Calvinist Church are in a race to unleash the power that will enable them to cross the bridge to a parallel universe. The story line has all the hallmarks of a myth: brought up ignorant of her true identity, 11-year-old Lyra goes on a quest from East Anglia to the top of the world in search of her kidnapped playmate Roger and her imprisoned uncle, Lord Asriel. Deceptions and treacheries threaten at every turn, and she is not yet certain how to read the mysterious truth-telling instrument that is her only guide. After escaping from the charming and sinister Mrs. Coulter, she joins a group of "gyptians" in search of their children, who, like Roger, have been spirited away by Mrs. Coulter's henchmen, the Gobblers. Along the way Lyra is guided by friendly witches and attacked by malevolent ones, aided by an armored polar bear and a Texan balloonist, and nearly made a victim of the Gobblers' cruel experiments. As always, Pullman is a master at combining impeccable characterizations and seamless plotting, maintaining a crackling pace to create scene upon scene of almost unbearable tension. This glittering gem will leave readers of all ages eagerly awaiting the next installment of Lyra's adventures. 100,000 first printing; $250,000 ad/promo. Ages 10-up.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product details

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ 0679879242
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Knopf Books for Young Readers; 1st edition (April 16, 1996)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 416 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 9780679879244
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0679879244
  • Reading age ‏ : ‎ 10 - 17 years
  • Lexile measure ‏ : ‎ 930L
  • Grade level ‏ : ‎ 5 - 9
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1.21 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.83 x 1.3 x 8.63 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.6 out of 5 stars 4,374 ratings

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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 Princess; The 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.

Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5
4,374 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on June 13, 2019
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Reviewed in the United States on August 15, 2017
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Alex James
5.0 out of 5 stars I was super impressed by the magical feeling of turning of every page
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 23, 2019
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John Bland
1.0 out of 5 stars Neither believable or credible
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 27, 2020
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Hannah Carrier
4.0 out of 5 stars The perfect book for a magical realist fan
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 29, 2018
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Alana_thebooknerd
4.0 out of 5 stars I don't know why I hadn't read this sooner
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 13, 2020
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CF
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic fantasy
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 7, 2020
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic fantasy
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 7, 2020
Amazing fantasy book. The story is fantastic with many twists and surprises. Very well written there is no question there. Captivating fron the first paragraph. Intriguing and incredible adventure, everyone should give it a go you wont be able to put the book down.
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