Volume three of Philip Pullman's "His Dark Materials" trilogy, "The Amber Spyglass" begins with Lyra Silvertongue simultaneously at the mercy and in the care of her mother, Mrs. Coulter, who is in turmoil, as she recognizes the love she feels for her daughter is in direct conflict with everything for which she has ever plotted and schemed. Meanwhile, Will Parry, newly devastated by the death of his father, searches for her.
The story that follows finds the two of them reunited, but pursued by malevolence in an increasingly chaotic universe, as the veils between the worlds grows thinner, and a war between Lord Asriel's upstart army and the forces of The Authority itself begins to grow. Lyra and Will will travel to the land of the dead, learn what it is like to live without their daemons, and fundamentally change the forces underpinning all of creation.
There are big ideas within "The Amber Spyglass", taking the story of "His Dark Materials" into realms beyond that of young adult fantasy-adventure. The author takes on the cruelties and tyranny of organized religion, lifts up compassion as the highest of virtues, and ultimately imagines a universe in which there is no Kingdom of Heaven, but instead a Republic. All of the elements that have made the prior books so successful remain - fast-paced adventure, sympathetic characters, and richly-imagined worlds - but there is a lesson here, too, on individual morality, our duty to one another, and doing our best to make things better, no matter who, or where, we are.