416 pages, 8.51 × 5.95 × 1.36 in
April 16, 1996
Random House Children's Books
The following ISBNs are associated with this title:
ISBN - 10: 0679879242
ISBN - 13: 9780679879244
Read from the Book
OneTHE DECANTER OF TOKAYLyra 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
From the Publisher
“The most magnificent fantasy series since The Lord of the Rings.” --The Oregonian
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 New York Times Bestseller
A Newsweek Top 100 Book of All Time
An Entertainment Weekly All-Time Greatest Novel
Winner of the Guardian Prize for Children's Fiction
"Very grand indeed." --The New York Times
"Superb . . . all-stops-out thrilling." --The Washington Post
"A shattering tale that begins with a promise and delivers an entire universe." --Kirkus Reviews, Starred
"The Golden Compass is one of the best fantasy / adventure stories that I have read. This is a book no one should miss." --Terry Brooks
From the Jacket
In a landmark epic of fantasy and storytelling, Philip Pullman invites readers into a world as convincing and thoroughly realized as Narnia, Earthsea, or Redwall. Here lives an orphaned ward named Lyra Belacqua, whose carefree life among the scholars at Oxford's Jordan College is shattered by the arrival of two powerful visitors. First, her fearsome uncle, Lord Asriel, appears with evidence of mystery and danger in the far North, including photographs of a mysterious celestial phenomenon called Dust and the dim outline of a city suspended in the Aurora Borealis that he suspects is part of an alternate universe. He leaves Lyra in the care of Mrs. Coulter, an enigmatic scholar and explorer who offers to give Lyra the attention her uncle has long refused her. In this multilayered narrative, however, "nothing is as it seems. Lyra sets out for the top of the world in search of her kidnapped playmate, Roger, bearing a rare truth-telling instrument, the compass of the title. All around her children are disappearing--victims of so-called "Gobblers"--and being used as subjects in terrible experiments that separate humans from their daemons, creatures that reflect each person's inner being. And somehow, both Lord Asriel and Mrs. Coulter are involved.
About the Author
Philip Pullman has 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) Book of the Year 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.
Philip Pullman is the author of many books for young readers, including two volumes related to the His Dark Materials trilogy: Lyra's Oxford and Once Upon a Time in the North. He lives in Oxford, England. To learn more, please visit www.philip-pullman.com and www.hisdarkmaterials.com.
From Our Editors
Pullman introduces readers to a world as convincing and thoroughly realized as Narnia, Earthsea, of Redwall, wherein lives a half-wild, half-civilized girl named Lyra Belacqua, whose carefree life among the scholars of Jordan College is about the shattered by the arrival of two powerful visitors
“Extraordinary storytelling at its very best.” —The Detroit Free Press “Superb . . . all-stops-out thrilling.” —The Washington Post "Very grand indeed." —The New York Times "Powerful […] a fantasy adventure that sparkles with childlike wonder." —The Boston Sunday Globe "Marvelous […] the writing is elegant and challenging." —The New Yorker "Arguably the best juvenile fantasy novel of the past twenty years […] If [The Subtle Knife] is as good as The Golden Compass, we'll be two thirds of the way to the completion of a modern fantasy classic." —The Washington Post Book World “Pullman is quite possibly a genius…using the lineaments of fantasy to tell the truth about the universal experience of growing up.” —Newsweek"Masterful storytelling […] with a cast of instantly beguiling characters." —The Dallas Morning News “The most magnificent fantasy series since Lord of the Rings.” —The Oregonian “Pullman has created the last great fantasy masterpiece of the twentieth century. An astounding achievement.” —The Cincinnati Enquirer "Once in a lifetime a children's author emerges who is so extraordinary that the imagination of generations is altered. Lewis Carroll, E. Nesbit, C.S. Lewis, and Tolkien were all of this cast. So, too, is Philip Pullman, whose Dark Materials trilogy will be devoured by anyone between eight and eighty. The most ambitious work since The Lord of the Rings, it is as intellectually thrilling as it is magnificently written." — New Statesman
The questions, discussion topics, and author information that follow are intended to enhance your group's reading of The Golden Compass. We hope that this guide will help you to navigate - alongside the story's young protagonist, Lyra Belacqua - Philip Pullman's richly imagined universe, populated by armored bears, gyptians, witches, and human beings, whose dæmons are never far from their side.
Dæmons are one of the most striking, charming, and powerful images in The Golden Compass. These spirit-creatures, which seem like physical representations of the human soul, can change form to reflect the myriad of emotional states their humans go through as children. But in adulthood, each dæmon settles into the animal form that best reflects the inner nature of its human counterpart. It is in this unusual and imaginative creation that Pullman turns his sharpest mirror back onto his readers, helping us to imagine our own souls as precious, living extensions of ourselves that we can love, challenge, or even betray.
The Golden Compass is a complex story that turns on a simple word: "Dust." This Dust does not gather in the unswept corners of Jordan College, Lyra's Oxford home. Rather, this Dust seems to reveal - or perhaps contain - the thing that makes each human being a unique creature. The concept of Dust provokes fear in some; others realize that mastery over Dust could be the source of great power. Although she does not quite realize it, Lyra - along with her dæmon Pantalaimon - finds her life inextricably entangled with the exploration of Dust. And as her understanding of Dust and her mastery over a mysterious tool called the alethiometer increases, the dangerous journey that she seems destined to make takes some astounding twists and turns.