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The Subtle Knife
Cover of The Subtle Knife
The Subtle Knife
His Dark Materials Series, Book 2
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***COMING SOON! A NEW HBO SERIES, HIS DARK MATERIALS, BASED ON PULLMAN'S BOOKS***The spellbinding sequel to The Golden Compass, the modern fantasy classic that Entertainment Weekly named an "All-Time...
***COMING SOON! A NEW HBO SERIES, HIS DARK MATERIALS, BASED ON PULLMAN'S BOOKS***The spellbinding sequel to The Golden Compass, the modern fantasy classic that Entertainment Weekly named an "All-Time...
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    The spellbinding sequel to The Golden Compass, the modern fantasy classic that Entertainment Weekly named an "All-Time Greatest Novel" and Newsweek hailed as a "Top 100 Book of All Time," continues the epic adventure, catapulting readers between worlds, and toward a devastating discovery.

    Lost in a new world, Lyra finds Will—a boy on the run, a murderer—a worthy and welcome ally. For this is a world where soul-eating Specters stalk the streets and witches share the skies with troops of angels.
    Each is searching—Lyra for the meaning of Dark Matter, Will for his missing father—but what they find instead is a deadly secret, a knife of untold power. And neither Lyra nor Will suspects how tightly their lives, their loves, their destinies are bound together...until they are split apart.

    A #1 New York Times Bestseller
    Published in 40 Countries

    "Just as quick-moving and unputdownable as The Golden Compass. . . . The mysteries deepen and the wonders grow even more extravagant." —The Washington Post
    "Pullman's imagination soars . . . A literary rollercoaster ride you won't want to miss."—The Boston Globe
    "The story gallops with ferocious momentum . . . Devilishly inventive." —The New York Times Book Review


  • From the book

    Will tugged at his mother's hand and said, "Come on, comeon ..."

    But his mother hung back. She was still afraid. Will looked up and down
    the narrow street in the evening light, along the little terrace of
    houses, each behind its tiny garden and its box hedge, with the sun
    glaring off the windows of one side and leaving the other in shadow. There
    wasn't much time. People would be having their meal about now, and soon
    there would be other children around, to stare and comment and notice. It
    was dangerous to wait, but all he could do was persuade her, as usual.

    "Mum, let's go in and see Mrs. Cooper," he said. "Look, we're nearly

    "Mrs. Cooper?" she said doubtfully.

    But he was already ringing the bell. He had to put down the bag to do it,
    because his other hand still held his mother's. It might have bothered him
    at twelve years of age to be seen holding his mother's hand, but he knew
    what would happen to her if he didn't.

    The door opened, and there was the stooped elderly figure of the piano
    teacher, with the scent of lavender water about her as he remembered.

    "Who's that? Is that William?" the old lady said. "I haven't seen you for
    over a year. What do you want, dear?"

    "I want to come in, please, and bring my mother," he said firmly.

    Mrs. Cooper looked at the woman with the untidy hair and the distracted
    half-smile, and at the boy with the fierce, unhappy glare in his eyes, the
    tight-set lips, the jutting jaw. And then she saw that Mrs. Parry, Will's
    mother, had put makeup on one eye but not on the other. And she hadn't
    noticed. And neither had Will. Something was wrong.

    "Well ..." she said, and stepped aside to make room in the narrow hall.

    Will looked up and down the road before closing the door, and Mrs. Cooper
    saw how tightly Mrs. Parry was clinging to her son's hand, and how
    tenderly he guided her into the sitting room where the piano was (of
    course, that was the only room he knew); and she noticed that Mrs. Parry's
    clothes smelled slightly musty, as if they'd been too long in the washing
    machine before drying; and how similar the two of them looked as they sat
    on the sofa with the evening sun full on their faces, their broad
    cheekbones, their wide eyes, their straight black brows.

    "What is it, William?" the old lady said. "What's the matter?"

    "My mother needs somewhere to stay for a few days," he said. "It's too
    difficult to look after her at home just now. I don't mean she's ill.
    She's just kind of confused and muddled, and she gets a bit worried. She
    won't be hard to look after. She just needs someone to be kind to her, and
    I think you could do that quite easily, probably."

    The woman was looking at her son without seeming to understand, and Mrs.
    Cooper saw a bruise on her cheek. Will hadn't taken his eyes off Mrs.
    Cooper, and his expression was desperate.

    "She won't be expensive," he went on. "I've brought some packets of food,
    enough to last, I should think. You could have some of it too. She won't
    mind sharing."

    "But ...I don't know if I should ...Doesn't she need a doctor?"

    "No! She's not ill."

    "But there must be someone who can ...I mean, isn't there a neighbor or
    someone in the family--"

    "We haven't got any family. Only us. And the neighbors are too busy."

    "What about the social services? I don't mean to put you off, dear, but--"

    "No! No. She just needs a bit of help. I can't do it myself for a little
    while, but I won't be long. I'm going to ...I've got things to do. But...

About the Author-

  • 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.


  • Publisher's Weekly

    November 1, 1999
    In a starred review, PW said, "More than fulfilling the promise of The Golden Compass, this second volume in the His Dark Materials trilogy starts off at a heart-thumping pace and never slows down." Ages 12-up.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    September 9, 2002
    Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy now appears in sophisticated trade paperback editions, each title embossed within a runic emblem of antiqued gold. The backdrop of The Golden Compass: His Dark Materials, Book I sports a midnight blue map of the cosmos with the zodiacal ram at its center. The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass carry similarly intriguing cover art, and all three titles offer details not seen in the originals: in Compass and Knife, for example, Pullman's stamp-size b&w art introduces each chapter; Spyglass chapters open with literary quotes from Blake, the Bible, Dickinson and more.

  • Publishers Weekly (starred review) "More than fulfilling the promise of The Golden Compass, this second volume starts off at a heart-thumping pace and never slows down....The grandly exuberant storytelling is sure to enthrall."
  • The Horn Book (starred review) "The intricacy of the plot is staggering...There is no doubt that the work is stunningly ambitious, original, and fascinating."
  • Booklist (starred review) "The character development as well as the relentless pace...make this a resoundingly successful sequel...it will leave readers desperate for the next installment."

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    Random House Children's Books
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Philip Pullman
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