Northern Lights - His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
The first volume of Pullman’s iconic fantasy saga is a stunning display of storytelling, characterisation and world-building that leaves all its competitors and imitators for dust. Set in an alternate universe of species-shifting daemons, magical artefacts and forbidden knowledge, Northern Lights is the first step on a phenomenal journey of literary discovery.
Somewhere out there is the origin of all the Dust, all the death, the sin, the misery, the destructiveness of the world. Human beings can’t see anything without wanting to destroy it, Lyra. That’s original sin. And I’m going to destroy it. Death is going to die.
It begins with a girl and her daemon
The girl is Lyra Belacqua, an orphan who lives in a place like, and yet unlike, Oxford in a parallel universe in which science, theology and magic are entwined. Yet for Lyra, her world is about climbing the rooftops of the Oxford colleges with her friend Roger, enthralling the neighbourhood children with her tales and keeping out of the way of the scholars of Jordan College.
Then children start to go missing, snatched mysteriously by a group the children call ‘The Gobblers’. When Roger is taken, Lyra founds herself bound up in a dangerous chase, a daring game of cat-and-mouse that sees her on the run from the highest authorities.
It is a hunt that will take her far from Oxford, to high-society London and the home of the mysterious and beautiful Mrs Coulter and beyond, to the home of the witches and the kingdom of the ice bears where the aurora awaits.
Here Lyra’s quest for answers becomes a mission to understand a mysterious phenomenon called Dust and there are secrets too, about her own family, about a prophecy, about betrayal and about the universe; secrets that come at a deadly cost.
Our favourite quote: 'You cannot change what you are, only what you do.'
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