Cover image for The golden compass
Title:
The golden compass
Author:
Pullman, Philip, 1946-
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Northern lights
Edition:
Revised Knopf trade paperback edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2002.

©1995
Physical Description:
399 pages ; 21 cm.
Summary:
Accompanied by her daemon, Lyra Belacqua sets out to prevent her best friend and other kidnapped children from becoming the subject of gruesome experiments in the Far North.
General Note:
Originally published as: Northern lights.

Sequel: The subtle knife.
Language:
English
Reading Level:
930 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 7.1 19.0 15085.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 6.7 24 Quiz: 04608 Guided reading level: Z.
Geographic Term:
ISBN:
9780375823459
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

***** Includes a preview of THE BOOK OF DUST, the long-awaited new novel from Philip Pullman set in the world of His Dark Materials, and hailed by the New York Times as "a stunning achievement."*****


The modern fantasy classic that Entertainment Weekly named an "All-Time Greatest Novel" and Newsweek hailed as a "Top 100 Book of All Time." Philip Pullman takes readers to a world where humans have animal familiars and where parallel universes are within reach.

Lyra is rushing to the cold, far North, where witch clans and armored bears rule. North, where the Gobblers take the children they steal--including her friend Roger. North, where her fearsome uncle Asriel is trying to build a bridge to a parallel world.

Can one small girl make a difference in such great and terrible endeavors? This is Lyra : a savage, a schemer, a liar, and as fierce and true a champion as Roger or Asriel could want.

But what Lyra doesn't know is that to help one of them will be to betray the other...

A masterwork of storytelling and suspense, Philip Pullman's award-winning The Golden Compass is the first in the His Dark Materials series, which continues with The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass.

A #1 New York Times Bestseller
Winner of the Guardian Prize for Children's Fiction
Published in 40 Countries

"Arguably the best juvenile fantasy novel of the past twenty years." --The Washington Post

"Very grand indeed." --The New York Times

"Pullman is quite possibly a genius." --Newsweek


Author Notes

Philip Pullman was born in Norwich on October 19, 1946. He graduated from Oxford University with a degree in English. He taught at various Oxford middle schools and at Westminster College for eight years. He is the author of many acclaimed novels, plays, and picture books for readers of all ages. His first book, Count Karlstein, was published in 1982. His other books include: The Firework-Maker's Daughter; I Was a Rat!; Clockwork or All Wound Up; and The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ. He is also the author of the Sally Lockhart series and the His Dark Materials Trilogy. He is the author of The Book of Dust, volume 1. He has received numerous awards including the Carnegie Medal and the Guardian Fiction Award for Northern Lights (The Golden Compass), the Whitbread Book of the Year Award for The Amber Spyglass, the Eleanor Farjeon Award for children's literature in 2002, and the Astrid Lindgren Award in 2005.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Adult fantasy fans will relish Pullman's powerful first volume in a planned trilogy for its lushly detailed universe, intricate plot, and well-done fantasy conventions. They'll like the sequel, The Subtle Knife (1997), just as much. The paperback version of Compass has, perhaps, even more adult appeal then the trade edition.


Publisher's Weekly Review

Pullman's masterfully rendered fantasy-adventure, the first in the His Dark Materials trilogy, captivates from the start on this vibrant audio production. As narrator, the British author is swift and sure, inviting young listeners along for a most intriguing story. Young Lyra Belacqua and her daemon companion Pantalaimon leave their sheltered life among the scholars and caretakers at Oxford University to find Lyra's best friend, Roger, who has been kidnapped. Lyra's quest leads her to the Far North where she encounters battle-ready witches, talking polar bears and a team of evil scientists who plan to perform a hideous experiment on Roger and the other children they have captured. But worst of all, Lyra learns that her fearsome Uncle Asriel and the mysterious Mrs. Coulter (who had tried to befriend and kidnap Lyra) are at the center of the child-demon investigations. With the help of the kind Gyptians, Lyra is able to outsmart her enemies and rescue Roger. The cast of actors enact a breadth of characters, from headstrong Lyra and her excitable, impatient daemon to the superior and sharp-sounding Lord Asriel. The villains, dramatic voyages and fantastic creatures are certain to hold listeners' attention throughout the hefty recording. The production is also available in trade packaging, in three separate installments. Ages 9-up. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


School Library Journal Review

Gr 7 Up‘A novel set in London and in the Arctic regions of a world that is somewhat like our own. Lyra, apparently an orphan, lives among the scholars at Jordan College, Oxford. She becomes aware of a nefarious plot to steal children and transport them to the far north. As Lyra is drawn deeper and deeper into this mystery, she finds that the children are being made to suffer terribly. What she does not‘and must not‘know is that she is the keystone in an ancient prophecy. Her destiny is to save her world and to move on into a parallel universe. She dives headlong into harrowing adventures, totally unaware of her importance. She also discovers the identity of her parents, who are major players in the unfolding drama. In Lyra's world, every human has a daemon, an animal that is sort of an extension of one's soul. This fact is central to the story as the church, the academic world, and the government seek to understand the significance of the phenomenon. Also important, but never fully explained, is a substance called Dust. This is a captivating fantasy, filled with excitement, suspense, and unusual characters. The armored bears are wonderful and more interesting than most of the humans. There is some fine descriptive writing, filled with the kind of details that encourage suspension of disbelief. The story line moves along at a rapid clip, but flags when it delves into philosophical matters. The ending is less than satisfying, but serves as a lead-in to part two of the series. Fantasy lovers will be clamoring for the next installment.‘Bruce Anne Shook, Mendenhall Middle School, Greensboro, NC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

One THE DECANTER OF TOKAY Lyra and her daemon moved through the darkening hall, taking care to keep to one side, out of sight of the kitchen. The three great tables that ran the length of the hall were laid already, the silver and the glass catching what little light there was, and the long benches were pulled out ready for the guests. Portraits of former Masters hung high up in the gloom along the walls. Lyra reached the dais and looked back at the open kitchen door, and, seeing no one, stepped up beside the high table. The places here were laid with gold, not silver, and the fourteen seats were not oak benches but mahogany chairs with velvet cushions. Lyra stopped beside the Master's chair and flicked the biggest glass gently with a fingernail. The sound rang clearly through the hall. "You're not taking this seriously," whispered her daemon. "Behave yourself." Her daemon's name was Pantalaimon, and he was currently in the form of a moth, a dark brown one so as not to show up in the darkness of the hall. "They're making too much noise to hear from the kitchen," Lyra whispered back. "And the Steward doesn't come in till the first bell. Stop fussing." But she put her palm over the ringing crystal anyway, and Pantalaimon fluttered ahead and through the slightly open door of the Retiring Room at the other end of the dais. After a moment he appeared again. "There's no one there," he whispered. "But we must be quick." Crouching behind the high table, Lyra darted along and through the door into the Retiring Room, where she stood up and looked around. The only light in here came from the fireplace, where a bright blaze of logs settled slightly as she looked, sending a fountain of sparks up into the chimney. She had lived most of her life in the College, but had never seen the Retiring Room before: only Scholars and their guests were allowed in here, and never females. Even the maid-servants didn't clean in here. That was the Butler's job alone. Pantalaimon settled on her shoulder. "Happy now? Can we go?" he whispered. "Don't be silly! I want to look around!" It was a large room, with an oval table of polished rosewood on which stood various decanters and glasses, and a silver smoking stand with a rack of pipes. On a sideboard nearby there was a little chafing dish and a basket of poppy heads. "They do themselves well, don't they, Pan?" she said under her breath. She sat in one of the green leather armchairs. It was so deep she found herself nearly lying down, but she sat up again and tucked her legs under her to look at the portraits on the walls. More old Scholars, probably; robed, bearded, and gloomy, they stared out of their frames in solemn disapproval. "What d'you think they talk about?" Lyra said, or began to say, because before she'd finished the question she heard voices outside the door. "Behind the chair--quick!" whispered Pantalaimon, and in a flash Lyra was out of the armchair and crouching behind it. It wasn't the best one for hiding behind: she'd chosen one in the very center of the room, and unless she kept very quiet... The door opened, and the light changed in the room; one of the incomers was carrying a lamp, which he put down on the sideboard. Lyra could see his legs, in their dark green trousers and shiny black shoes. It was a servant. Then a deep voice said, "Has Lord Asriel arrived yet?" It was the Master. As Lyra held her breath, she saw the servant's daemon (a dog, like all servants' daemons) trot in and sit quietly at his feet, and then the Master's feet became visible too, in the shabby black shoes he always wore. "No, Master," said the Butler. "No word from the aerodock, either." "I expect he'll be hungry when he arrives. Show him straight into Hall, will you?" "Very good, Master." "And you've decanted some of the special Tokay for him?" "Yes, Master. The 1898, as you ordered. His Lordship is very partial to that, I remember." "Good. Now leave me, please." "Do you need the lamp, Master?" "Yes, leave that too. Look in during dinner to trim it, will you?" The Butler bowed slightly and turned to leave, his daemon trotting obediently after him. From her not-much-of-a-hiding place Lyra watched as the Master went to a large oak wardrobe in the corner of the room, took his gown from a hanger, and pulled it laboriously on. The Master had been a powerful man, but he was well over seventy now, and his movements were stiff and slow. The Master's daemon had the form of a raven, and as soon as his robe was on, she jumped down from the wardrobe and settled in her accustomed place on his right shoulder. Lyra could feel Pantalaimon bristling with anxiety, though he made no sound. For herself, she was pleasantly excited. The visitor mentioned by the Master, Lord Asriel, was her uncle, a man whom she admired and feared greatly. He was said to be involved in high politics, in secret exploration, in distant warfare, and she never knew when he was going to appear. He was fierce: if he caught her in here she'd be severely punished, but she could put up with that. What she saw next, however, changed things completely. The Master took from his pocket a folded paper and laid it on the table beside the wine. He took the stopper out of the mouth of a decanter containing a rich golden wine, unfolded the paper, and poured a thin stream of white powder into the decanter before crumpling the paper and throwing it into the fire. Then he took a pencil from his pocket, stirred the wine until the powder had dissolved, and replaced the stopper. From the Trade Paperback edition. Excerpted from The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

1 The Decanter Of Tokay Lyra and her daemon moved through the darkening hall, taking care to keep to one side, out of sight of the kitchen. The three great tables that ran the length of the hall were laid already, the silver and the glass catching what little light there was, and the long benches were pulled out ready for the guests. Portraits of former Masters hung high up in the gloom along the walls. Lyra reached the dais and looked back at the open kitchen door, and, seeing no one, stepped up beside the high table. The places here were laid with gold, not silver, and the fourteen seats were not oak benches but mahogany chairs with velvet cushions.
Lyra stopped beside the Master's chair and flicked the biggest glass gently with a fingernail. The sound rang clearly through the hall.
"You're not taking this seriously," whispered her daemon. "Behave yourself." Her daemon's name was Pantalaimon, and he was currently in the form of a moth, a dark brown one so as not to show up in the darkness of the hall.
"They're making too much noise to hear from the kitchen," Lyra whispered back. "And the Steward doesn't come in till the first bell. Stop fussing." But she put her palm over the ringing crystal anyway, and Pantalaimon fluttered ahead and through the slightly open door of the Retiring Room at the other end of the dais. After a moment he appeared again.
"There's no one there," he whispered. "But we must be quick." Crouching behind the high table, Lyra darted along and through the door into the Retiring Room, where she stood up and looked around. The only light in here came from the fireplace, where a bright blaze of logs settled slightly as she looked, sending a fountain of sparks up into the chimney. She had lived most of her life in the College, but had never seen the Retiring Room before: only Scholars and their guests were allowed in here, and never females. Even the maid-servants didn't clean in here. That was the Butler's job alone.
Pantalaimon settled on her shoulder.
"Happy now? Can we go?" he whispered.
"Don't be silly! I want to look around!" It was a large room, with an oval table of polished rosewood on which stood various decanters and glasses, and a silver smoking stand with a rack of pipes. On a sideboard nearby there was a little chafing dish and a basket of poppy heads.
"They do themselves well, don't they, Pan?" she said under her breath.
She sat in one of the green leather armchairs. It was so deep she found herself nearly lying down, but she sat up again and tucked her legs under her to look at the portraits on the walls. More old Scholars, probably; robed, bearded, and gloomy, they stared out of their frames in solemn disapproval.
"What d'you think they talk about?" Lyra said, or began to say, because before she'd finished the question she heard voices outside the door.
"Behind the chair-quick!" whispered Pantalaimon, and in a flash Lyra was out of the armchair and crouching behind it. It wasn't the best one for hiding behind: she'd chosen one in the very center of the room, and unless she kept very quiet...
The door opened, and the light changed in the room; one of the incomers was carrying a lamp, which he put down on the sideboard. Lyra could see his legs, in their dark green trousers and shiny black shoes. It was a servant.
Then a deep voice said, "Has Lord Asriel arrived yet?" It was the Master. As Lyra held her breath, she saw the servant's daemon (a dog, like all servants' daemons) trot in and sit quietly at his feet, and then the Master's feet became visible too, in the shabby black shoes he always wore.
"No, Master," said the Butler. "No word from the aerodock, either." "I expect he'll be hungry when he arrives. Show him straight into Hall, will you?" "Very good, Master." "And you've decanted some of the special Tokay for him?" "Yes, Master. The 1898, as you ordered. His Lordship is very partial to that, I remember." "Good. Now leave me, please." "Do you need the lamp, Master?" "Yes, leave that too. Look in during dinner to trim it, will you?" The Butler bowed slightly and turned to leave, his daemon trotting obediently after him. From her not-much-of-a-hiding place Lyra watched as the Master went to a large oak wardrobe in the corner of the room, took his gown from a hanger, and pulled it laboriously on. The Master had been a powerful man, but he was well over seventy now, and his movements were stiff and slow. The Master's daemon had the form of a raven, and as soon as his robe was on, she jumped down from the wardrobe and settled in her accustomed place on his right shoulder.
Lyra could feel Pantalaimon bristling with anxiety, though he made no sound. For herself, she was pleasantly excited. The visitor mentioned by the Master, Lord Asriel, was her uncle, a man whom she admired and feared greatly. He was said to be involved in high politics, in secret exploration, in distant warfare, and she never knew when he was going to appear. He was fierce: if he caught her in here she'd be severely punished, but she could put up with that.
What she saw next, however, changed things completely.
The Master took from his pocket a folded paper and laid it on the table beside the wine. He took the stopper out of the mouth of a decanter containing a rich golden wine, unfolded the paper, and poured a thin stream of white powder into the decanter before crumpling the paper and throwing it into the fire. Then he took a pencil from his pocket, stirred the wine until the powder had dissolved, and replaced the stopper.
From the Trade Paperback edition.