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1001 Stories Collection

His Dark Materials

1001 His Dark Materials
Added on 13th July 2020

Author Philip Pullman
First published 1995, 1997, 2000
Publisher (first book) Scholastic

City of Stories Enchanted Library Animals Action and adventure Magic Friends
1001

An exhilarating adventure story of friendship, daemons and Dust.

Story

One night in Jordan College, Oxford, Lyra and her daemon, Pantalaimon, witness an attempt to poison her uncle, Asriel, before he can describe the mysterious particles known as Dust. The next day her best friend Roger is kidnapped so Lyra sets out to find him, with the help of her golden alethiometer.

So begins Northern Lights, the first of three fantasy novels that follow Lyra across parallel universes in what becomes an epic struggle against the evil and repressive Magisterium. Joining her quest for freedom and knowledge are gyptians, armoured bears, witches, scientists, angels, harpies and a young boy named Will.

Why we chose it

Like the alethiometer, the truth-telling symbol reader at the heart of the trilogy, His Dark Materials has many richly satisfying layers of meaning. Master storyteller Philip Pullman has created a magnificent imaginative adventure that can be enjoyed on many levels and has been described as a ‘life- changing reading experience’.

Where it came from

Philip Pullman studied English at Oxford where he still lives. He worked as a teacher, then as a trainer of teachers, before becoming a full-time writer. Pullman says that his daemon would be a raven, a bird that steals things. His Dark Materials draws on wide-ranging ideas, from particle physics to the writings of John Milton and William Blake.

Pullman has written over 30 books and plays and is a founding patron of The Story Museum.

Where it went next

The three novels have won many awards and been adapted for stage, film and television. Northern Lights was voted the ‘Carnegie of Carnegies’ and The Amber Spyglass was the first children’s book to become Whitbread Book of the Year.

Associated stories

His Dark Materials comprises Northern Lights (known as The Golden Compass in the USA), The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass. Also set in Lyra’s world are two short stories, Lyra’s Oxford and Once Upon a Time in the North, an audio story, The Collectors, and the first two volumes of The Book of Dust trilogy: La Belle Sauvage and The Secret Commonwealth.

Find The Subtle Knife room in our Enchanted Library and the portrait of Philip Pullman dressed as Long John Silver, his favourite childhood story character, in our 26 Characters display.

Added on 13th July 2020

Author Philip Pullman
First published 1995, 1997, 2000
Publisher (first book) Scholastic

City of Stories Enchanted Library Animals Action and adventure Magic Friends
1001