The discount Book of Dust: The Secret Commonwealth (Book of Dust, outlet sale Volume 2) online sale

The discount Book of Dust: The Secret Commonwealth (Book of Dust, outlet sale Volume 2) online sale

The discount Book of Dust: The Secret Commonwealth (Book of Dust, outlet sale Volume 2) online sale

Used - Good: All pages and cover are intact (including the dust cover, if applicable). Spine may show signs of wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting. May include "From the library of" labels. Shrink wrap, dust covers, or boxed set case may be missing. Item may be missing bundled media.
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From the Publisher

His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass (Book 1) His Dark Materials: The Subtle Knife (Book 2) His Dark Materials: The Amber Spyglass (Book 3) The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage (Volume 1) The Book of Dust: The Secret Commonwealth (Volume 2)
Enter the world of His Dark Materials The modern fantasy classic soon to be an HBO original series – HIS DARK MATERIALS! The second book in the HIS DARK MATERIALS series – soon to be an HBO original series! The third book in the HIS DARK MATERIALS series – soon to be an HBO original series! Set in the same world as HIS DARK MATERIALS - meet Lyra before the events of The Golden Compass! Set in the same world as HIS DARK MATERIALS - discover what happened to Lyra after The Amber Spyglass!

Description

Product Description

The #1 New York Times Bestseller!

Return to the world of His Dark Materials—now an HBO original series starring Dafne Keen, Ruth Wilson, Andrew Scott, and Lin-Manuel Miranda—in the second volume of Philip Pullman’s new bestselling masterwork The Book of Dust.

 
The windows between the many worlds have been sealed and the momentous adventures of Lyra Silvertongue’s youth are long behind her—or so she thought. Lyra is now a twenty-year-old undergraduate at St. Sophia’s College and intrigue is swirling around her once more. Her daemon Pantalaimon is witness to a brutal murder, and the dying man entrusts them with secrets that carry echoes from their past.
 
The more Lyra is drawn into these mysteries, the less she is sure of. Even the events of her own past come into question when she learns of Malcolm Polstead’s role in bringing her to Jordan College.
 
Now Lyra and Malcolm will travel far beyond the confines of Oxford, across Europe and into the Levant, searching for a city haunted by daemons, and a desert said to hold the truth of Dust. The dangers they face will challenge everything they thought they knew about the world, and about themselves.
 
Praise for The Book of Dust

“It’s a stunning achievement, this universe Pullman has created and continues to build on.” The New York Times

 
“Pullman’s writing is simple, unpretentious, beautiful, true. The conclusion to The Book of Dust can’t come soon enough.”—The Washington Post

Review

The Secret Commonwealth is a majestic return to Lyra’s next chapter with all the magic, folklore, and fantasy only Philip Pullman can provide.” – Hypable
 
“A big novel full of big ideas, big characters and big sorrows. . . This book feels like a response to the darkness of our time.”—NPR

Pullman’s best novel so far. A work of extraordinary depth and humanity.” — The Observer

“As always, Pullman’s writing is  simple, unpretentious, beautiful, true. . . . the conclusion to the Book of Dust can’t come soon enough.” — The Washington Post
 
“The novel gallops forward, full of danger, delight and surprise. Pullman is a staggeringly gifted storyteller.” — New Statesman

“Engrossing.”Financial Times
 
“Exhilarating.”Kirkus Reviews
 
“Enthralling.”Readings
 
“Mr. Pullman’s writing is clear, clean and forceful, never striving for effect and all the more effective because of it. He’s also a man of ideas, which gives great savor to his work.” – The Wall Street Journal
 
Coming back to [Lyra] after all these years is such a profound pleasure that I can do nothing but sit back and watch her charge forward into the night, ready as she always was to remake the world in her own image.”— Vox

“Profound and provocative.”Bulletin

The Secret Commonwealth reasserts Pullman’s affection for the wondrous and those pieces of reality which can be seen only by those willing to see.”— Newsweek

“These books, and the intellectual debate they produce,  make Lyra’s world feel more lived-in than ever before.” — Entertainment Weekly

“Not only is it worthy second installment in The Book of Dust trilogy, it continues to prove this sequence will be  every bit as excellent as His Dark Materials.”  Seattle Post-Intelligencer

About the Author

PHILIP PULLMAN is one of the most acclaimed writers working today. He is best known for the His Dark Materials trilogy, which has been named one of the top 100 books of all time by Newsweek and one of the all-time greatest novels by Entertainment Weekly. Pullman was knighted for his services to literature in the 2019 New Year Honours.

The Book of Dust, Pullman’s eagerly anticipated return to the world of His Dark Materials, will also be a book in three parts. It began with La Belle Sauvage and continues with The Secret Commonwealth.

Philip Pullman is the author of many other beloved novels. 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. He has written a magnificent collection, Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm, and his essays and lectures on writing and storytelling have been gathered in a volume called Dæmon Voices: On Stories and Storytelling.

Philip Pullman lives in Oxford, England.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Little Clarendon Street had been adopted by Oxford’s jeunesse dorée as a fashionable destination. Expensive clothes shops, chic coffeehouses, cocktail bars, and colored anbaric lights strung overhead made it seem like a corner of another city altogether—Malcolm couldn’t have known what made tears come to Lyra’s eyes at that point, though he did notice the tears: it was her memory of the deserted Cittàgazze, all the lights blazing, empty, silent, magi­cal, where she had first met Will. She brushed them away and said nothing.
 
He led the way to a mock-Italian café with candles in straw-wrapped wine bottles and red-checked tablecloths and travel post­ers in splashy colors. Lyra looked around warily.
 
“It’s safe here,” Malcolm said quietly. “There are other places where it’s risky to talk, but there’s no danger in La Luna Caprese.”
 
He ordered a bottle of Chianti, asking Lyra first if that was what she’d like, and she nodded.
 
When the wine was tried and poured, she said, “I’ve got to tell you something. I’ll try and keep it clear in my head. And now I know about you and your dæmon, it’s something I can tell you, but no one else. Only I’ve heard so many things in the last couple of days and my mind’s in a whirl, so please, if I don’t make sense, just stop me and I’ll go over it again.”
 
“Of course.”
 
She began with Pan’s experience on the Monday night, the at­tack, the murder, the man giving him the wallet to take to Lyra. Malcolm listened in astonishment, though he felt no skepticism: such things happened, as he knew well. But one thing seemed odd.
 
“The victim and his dæmon knew about separating?” he said.
 
“Yes,” said Pan at Lyra’s elbow. “They weren’t shocked, like most people would be. In fact, they could separate too. She must have seen me up the tree when he was being attacked, and thought it would be all right to trust me, I suppose.”
 
“So Pan brought the wallet back to me at St. Sophia’s . . . ,” Lyra went on.
 
“And that was when Asta saw me,” Pan put in.
 
“. . . but other things got in the way, and we didn’t have a chance to look at it till the next morning.”
 
She pulled her bag up to her lap and took out the wallet, passing it to him unobtrusively. He noticed Pan’s tooth marks, and no­ticed the smell too, which Pan had called cheap cologne, though it seemed to Malcolm something other than that, something wilder. He opened the wallet and took out the contents one by one as she spoke. The Bodleian card, the university staff card, the diplomatic papers, all so familiar; his own wallet had held very similar papers in its time.
 
“He was coming back to Oxford, I think,” Lyra said, “because if you look at the laissez-passers, you can trace his journey from Sin Kiang to here. He’d probably have gone on to the Botanic Garden, if they hadn’t attacked him.”
 
Malcolm caught another faint trace of the scent on the wallet. He raised it to his nose, and something distant rang like a bell, or gleamed like the sun on a snowy mountaintop, just for the fraction of a second, and then it was gone.
 
“Did he say anything else, the man who was killed?”
 
He addressed the question to Pan, and Pan thought hard before saying, “No. He couldn’t. He was nearly dead. He made me take the wallet out of his pocket and told me to take it to Lyra—I mean, he didn’t know her name, but he said to take it to your . . . I think he thought we could be trusted because he knew about separating.”
 
“Have you taken this to the police?”
 
“Of course. That was almost the first thing we did next morn­ing,” Lyra said. “But when we were waiting in the police station, Pan heard one of the policemen speak.”
 
“He was the first killer, the one who wasn’t wounded,” said Pan. “I recognized his voice. It was very distinctive.”
 
“So we asked about something quite different and then left,” Lyra went on. “We just thought we shouldn’t give the wallet to the very man who’d killed him.”
 
“Sensible,” said Malcolm.
 
“Oh, and there’s another thing. The man who was cut on the leg. He’s called Benny Morris.”
 
“How d’you know that?”
 
“I know someone who works at the mail depot, and I asked him if there was anyone there who’d hurt his leg. He said yes, there was a big ugly man called Benny Morris, who sounds just like the man we saw.”
 
“And what then?”
 
“In the wallet,” Lyra said carefully, “there was a left-luggage key—you know, the sort you get with those lockers at the station.”
 
“What did you do with that?”
 
“I thought we ought to go and get whatever was in it. So—”
 
“Don’t tell me you did?”
 
“Yes. Because he’d sort of entrusted it to us, the wallet, and what was in it. So we thought we ought to go and look after it before the men who killed him realized and went to look for it themselves.”
 
“The killers knew he had some sort of luggage,” said Pan, “be­cause they kept asking each other if he’d had a bag, if he’d dropped it, were they sure they hadn’t seen it, and so on. As if they’d been told to expect one.”
 
“And what was in the locker?” said Malcolm.
 
“A rucksack,” Lyra said. “Which is under the floorboards in my room in Jordan.”
 
“It’s there now?”
 
She nodded.
 
He picked up his glass and drained it in one, and then stood up. “Let’s go and get it. While it’s there, you’re in great danger, Lyra, and that’s no exaggeration. Come on.”

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4.6 out of 54.6 out of 5
7,566 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Denese S. Wong
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Pullman could have written ''The Secret Commonwealth'' for me.
Reviewed in the United States on October 8, 2019
Yesterday I finished reading ''The Secret Commonwealth,'' and today I began re-reading it. It is one of the most important books I''ve read in my almost sixty-seven years on this planet because of my own intuitions of and yearnings for "the secret commonwealth," and my... See more
Yesterday I finished reading ''The Secret Commonwealth,'' and today I began re-reading it. It is one of the most important books I''ve read in my almost sixty-seven years on this planet because of my own intuitions of and yearnings for "the secret commonwealth," and my inner conflict as a result of that because I also highly value the scientific method. (I am especially interested in genetic anthropology.) At the same time, while the findings of science can be very exciting, even awe-inspiring, the world of the imagination, of intuition, has been the world that sustained me most of my life, including throughout a very difficult childhood and difficult teenage period of my life. Philip Pullman could have written ''The Secret Commonwealth'' expressly for me, and I suspect many others will feel the same way. I cannot wait for the next book in the trilogy to be released! (I have, by the way, read the ''His Dark Materials'' trilogy MANY times.)
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Elderflower
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Wonderful but Incomplete
Reviewed in the United States on October 7, 2019
I am loving this new trilogy -- even more, in fact, than the original Dark Materials trio, and that''s saying a lot. I wish, however, that I had waited to buy this second volume of it. The first, Belle Sauvage, is a stand-alone book. This one is an installment... See more
I am loving this new trilogy -- even more, in fact, than the original Dark Materials trio, and that''s saying a lot.

I wish, however, that I had waited to buy this second volume of it. The first, Belle Sauvage, is a stand-alone book. This one is an installment -- it ends with the most blatant cliffhanger I''ve encountered yet.

If the third book of the trilogy existed, I would have just bought it and been happy. But it doesn''t, and I can''t even pre-order it. Just sayin'' -- you might want to wait to buy this one til its other half is published.
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Steven Farr
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Just Awful
Reviewed in the United States on October 8, 2019
Let me start by acknowledging that I am a huge fan of the His Dark Materials trilogy. That being said I read La Belle Sauvage and was deeply disappointed with a slow moving, inconsequential story. I thought to myself, maybe book one is just a set-up for bigger and better... See more
Let me start by acknowledging that I am a huge fan of the His Dark Materials trilogy. That being said I read La Belle Sauvage and was deeply disappointed with a slow moving, inconsequential story. I thought to myself, maybe book one is just a set-up for bigger and better things. I could not have been more wrong. Book 2 in the Book of Dust trilogy is a poorly written, rambling story that has very little to do with the first book. The dialogue is awful and monotonous. There is a never-ending carousel of side-characters that add little to the story with their brief appearances and vapid dialogue. Worst of all is that the convoluted plot is moved along by random help from random (aforementioned) side characters who happen upon Lyra with the flimsiest of explanations. Some people may be offended by the adult content of the story, but the true shortcomings of The Secret Commonwealth are much more problematic. This book was an absolute bore to get through and I do not recommend it to anyone.
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Allen Drachir
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Mixed feelings about this one
Reviewed in the United States on October 13, 2019
I loved the "Dark Materials" trilogy. It had mythic sweep and philosophical depth. I''m almost finished with "The Secret Commonwealth," and I have mixed feelings about this one. On the positive side: It is better than "La Belle Sauvage" and it returns more to... See more
I loved the "Dark Materials" trilogy. It had mythic sweep and philosophical depth.

I''m almost finished with "The Secret Commonwealth," and I have mixed feelings about this one. On the positive side: It is better than "La Belle Sauvage" and it returns more to the original template of the "Dark Materials" triology. It''s a pleasure to return to some of the original characters.

On the more negative or "mixed" side: This book does not have the mythic sweep of the original trilogy, which kept me always engaged in terms of its metaphysical revelations and plot twists. There is nothing in the current book that comes up to the original trilogy''s ties to the story of "the fall" in the Old Testament. The characters in the current book seem more "black and white" to me than many of the central characters in "Dark Materials." Lord Asriel and Mrs. Coulter were always fascinating and magnetic, if sometimes (often?) despicable, and there were many subtleties in their portrayals. Indeed, they seemed to be "demi-gods" in some respects. There are no characters that come close to this kind of complexity and subtlety in the current book.

Also, "The Secret Commonwealth" often seems, to me, to have a "Perils of Pauline" quality to it: The characters move from crisis to crisis, and from one kind of extreme peril to another, with little cohesive plot narrative holding it all together. It''s more action for the sake of action. The book seems more "plot driven" than character or concept driven. Apropos of this, I learned very little new about the nature of "Dust" in reading this book. However, I certainly did when I read "His Dark Materials."

The plot of "The Secret Commonwealth" seems much more driven by coincidence and happenstance than that of the "Dark Materials" trilogy. (I know, this shows the influence of "the secret commonwealth," but at some point the continual coincidental occurrences strain credulity. I know this is a fantasy work, but in "Dark Materials" the world depicted seemed more coherent and the "magic" had a kind of internal consistency to it.)

Some of the characters seem just too good and too astute to be true. For example, in the course of his adventures and battles, Malcolm seems just too able to instantly grasp situations, see subtle nonverbal cues in others, and perceive "exits" from almost impossibly difficult situations. Alison Wetherfield also seemed "too good to be true." Pullman tells us she will return in his final book. It seemed clear to me from her first appearance that there was "more to her" than was being revealed at the time.

Some of the scenes simply didn''t have a kind of psychological reality to me. For example, when Lyra visited the elderly princess in her mansion, it would make sense to me that the princess would offer Lyra a night''s lodging, and not just send her on her dusty, dreary way. Also, the way some characters were able to "talk down" violent situations (as in the meeting of rose growers that was attacked by the "mountain men") seemed unrealistic to me. And Lyra just blabbed too much to absolute strangers. In my mind, for all its wild and exotic fantasy, the "Dark Materials" trilogy was characterized by a kind of rigorous psychological reality.

There''s much more violence in "Secret Commonwealth" than in "Dark Materials." Just an observation. I know Pullman says this is a darker story for a Lyra who is now an adult.

Finally, the attempt to relate the plot to current events (e.g., the current refugee crisis in the Middle East and Europe) seems mixed in its effectiveness, to me.

And finally, finally: God was killed at the end of the "Dark Materials." But I guess he''s never really killed, is he? The Magesterium just keeps making comebacks.

If the "Dark Materials" was Lyra''s quest through the frigid north of (some) adults'' and adult institutions'' cruelty, then "Secret Commonwealth" is her trek through the parched desert of the soul (or lack of soul).
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Lisa P. Benwitz
2.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
UTTERLY DISAPPOINTING REENTRY INTO LYRA''S LIFE
Reviewed in the United States on October 26, 2019
I cannot imagine a single reader of the "His Dark Materials" trilogy who could have ever imagined they would have disliked a return to Lyra''s world, let alone disliked Lyra herself - and, to a lesser extent, Pan - so thoroughly. I feel like my expectations were so high -... See more
I cannot imagine a single reader of the "His Dark Materials" trilogy who could have ever imagined they would have disliked a return to Lyra''s world, let alone disliked Lyra herself - and, to a lesser extent, Pan - so thoroughly. I feel like my expectations were so high - probably too high - and they just crashed to the ground (unfortunately, as I started the book midflight)! There were *so* many problems with Pullman''s writing - it was completely overblown and overpopulated with characters I didn''t know, nor could I care about. The narration and setting up of his new plot with the roses was just so ... I hate to even write the word ... boring. It was near impossible to continue rooting for Lyra; she was THAT obnoxious. With such a huge time jump, the changes in her were simply not believable. That she could completely lose her fierce, lovely imagination based on the reading of two books - that she could turn her back on all that she was and all she had experienced, that she could turn her back on Pan - it was just too much for me. I had come to care for Malcolm in the first book, but Pullman rendered him as a creepy and pathetic adult. There was no motivation whatsoever for his character to develop romantic feelings for a young student. Perhaps had they journeyed together, his feelings could have grown organically - but no. Creepy. Pullman''s decision to separate every single character from each other could have worked, had he been able to avoid his own "middle book" arrogance and continued smacking us across the face with people and things we had no foundation to care about. Lyra''s adventures did get more interesting (and her character more sympathetic) as the book went on, but that wasn''t enough to carry this mess of a book, which read more like a supercilious, self-indulgent lecture of the evils of organized religion without any real whys or wherefores. The reasons for the importance of Lyra herself weren''t even hinted at until nearly the end of the book, and by then, I pretty much didn''t care. The settings were probably the best part of the book, expanding into a fascinating world view, but they weren''t enough to save this book. It took me the better part of a week to plod through it, when I expected to read it in one or two sittings. And so many things just crushed me. I will still read the final book, and maybe it will go better since I have the lowest possible expectations at this point. (In an aside, I''ll point out that I followed this book up with "The 10,000 Doors of January," which was pretty much everything this book was not, even given the main character''s continual poor choices. ) I''m still devastated. I wanted to love this book so much. I only gave it two stars because I couldn''t bear to give it only 1.
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Lannie
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Cracking good story and bone chilling allegory
Reviewed in the United States on October 9, 2019
Lyra, estranged from Pan and slowly isolated from her support structures, falls under thrall to intentionally soul-withering notions promulgated by popular media and goes on a swashbuckling adventure replete with both help from old friends and kind strangers, and calamities... See more
Lyra, estranged from Pan and slowly isolated from her support structures, falls under thrall to intentionally soul-withering notions promulgated by popular media and goes on a swashbuckling adventure replete with both help from old friends and kind strangers, and calamities promulgated by shadowy antagonists. She looses her mojo. Will she regain her imagination, her faith in things unseen? Read/listen to The Secret Commonwealth as story, but listen also to your own still small voice as it recognizes timely between the lines warnings against global totalitarian movements and international incursions -- particularly in regions like Turkey/Syria.

Philip Pullman is a treasure for generations
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LA in Dallas
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A return to the world of His Dark Materials
Reviewed in the United States on October 6, 2019
The story takes place after the books of /His Dark Materials/, and is mostly about Lyra. Lyra, however, is a quite different person than she was in the earlier books. I will not say more about that, since it is a major plot point. But this is still Pullman''s dark... See more
The story takes place after the books of /His Dark Materials/, and is mostly about Lyra. Lyra, however, is a quite different person than she was in the earlier books. I will not say more about that, since it is a major plot point.

But this is still Pullman''s dark world of fantasy, where people have daemons bound to them by a kind of magic. The church is a dark and powerful force, whose physical basis is a mystery called Dust, which everyone seeks to understand. You will meet people you know from /His Dark Materials/ and /La Belle Sauvage/.

The book ends on a cliffhanger -- it leads Lyra into deep trouble, and stops there. We will have to wait for the third installment to see how (if?) she gets out.

I will gladly read anything Phillip Pullman writes.
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Laurence R. BachmannTop Contributor: Fantasy Books
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Overall unsatisfying, though occasionally gripping
Reviewed in the United States on October 28, 2019
Of the five Philip Pullman novels I''ve read, The Secret Commonwealth is easily my least favorite. Part of my dislike stems from the fact it is part II of a trilogy and by its position it has none of the surprise of the first volume or satisfaction or sense of completion one... See more
Of the five Philip Pullman novels I''ve read, The Secret Commonwealth is easily my least favorite. Part of my dislike stems from the fact it is part II of a trilogy and by its position it has none of the surprise of the first volume or satisfaction or sense of completion one enjoys after finishing a final volume. And the Secret Commonwealth does leave the reader hanging. I had expected at least one or two of the many threads to be resolved. Wrong. Apparently everything will wrap in the last book. That was disappointing.

Worse though was the very premise of the book. An estrangement between Lyra and Pan, felt forced and untrue. Daemons are, if I understand properly, a manifestation of yourself. They are an expression of one''s nature. That Pan and Lyra could grow "in simpatico" toward the other seemed bizarre and frankly impossible. Sure, the Lyra who was a kid could become a very different adult but Pantalaimon would have changed with her. She couldn''t be both the curious and incurious; sentient and intellectual. Not unless she was bipolar. Or schizophrenic. Thankfully, Pullman doesn''t suggest either; just the very unbelievable premise that they have grown apart.

After swallowing hard and accepting the premise there were other disappointments. None shattering--the book dragged in spots, it felt overlong. In fairness there are also absolutely gripping scenes. The author at his very best. All in all though, a better editor would have trimmed a hundred pages or resolved a few conflicts in this chunky 630 page work. Also, I would have liked the role of the minor characters expanded. Scenes with Hannah Relf, Alice, Mrs. Polstead and Olivier Bonneville crackled and were among the best. Scenes with Lyra, Malcolm and Pan dragged. And that ain''t good.

I''ve not given up on the Book of Dust by any means. Even average Pullman is better than some author''s very best work. But The Secret Commonwealth isn''t nearly the writer at his best. The good news though is that the final volume should be a rip-roaring, page turner, not to be missed. Fingers crossed.
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Top reviews from other countries

Arkham Reviews
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Better, but still problematic
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 9, 2019
Trigger warning: Violence against women. Rape. This is a really hard review for me to write because I was looking forward to this book so much. I loved His Dark Materials as a teen and, although I was disappointed by La Belle Sauvage, I was excited to find out what Lyra was...See more
Trigger warning: Violence against women. Rape. This is a really hard review for me to write because I was looking forward to this book so much. I loved His Dark Materials as a teen and, although I was disappointed by La Belle Sauvage, I was excited to find out what Lyra was like as an adult. However, the result wasn''t entirely satisfying. While it was nice to revisit Lyra''s Oxford once again, my biggest problem with The Secret Commonwealth was its length. This novel pushes 700 pages in length and it certainly felt it. While the early chapters, in which Lyra and Pan investigated a murder, were gripping, the novel soon began to get bogged down. While the previous novels all contained complex themes, The Secret Commonwealth is the first that I would say is probably too complex for younger readers. The novel has no characters under the age of twenty this time around, and the dialogue contains some stark criticism of organised religion, politics and philosophy that often touches close to real life events. The novel also contains some very adult incidents. While the earlier novels could be violent and frightening in places, this novel was just dark. The worse violence in the story is almost exclusively focused on female characters, who are still largely seem to be a lot weaker and less effectual than their male counterparts. Once act of violence against a primary character towards the end of the novel left a particularly bad taste in my mouth as it was gratuitous and used purely for shock value, adding nothing to the character''s development. The novel flips between the third person perspectives four primary protagonists - Lyra Silvertongue, Pantalaimon, Malcolm Polstead and Olivier Bonneville - with occasional chapters that focus on other secondary characters. As with previous instalments, I personally felt that this was to much. The focus jumped around a lot, giving us glimpses into the characters at different points in their journeys with no true sense of the passage of time. None of the these stories received any degree of closure, which brings me to another problem. The Secret Commonwealth is a middle novel of the worst kind, acting as an extended build up to the final act. While characters are moved into position, no plots are tied up and the novel ends with a horrible cliffhanger, cutting off the action in mid-flow and raising many questions without answering any. In terms of characterisation, I was also left a bit underwhelmed. The Lyra of this story is a pale shadow of what she once was and just seems ordinary. Gone is her confidence and ability to lie, apparently swallowed by her newfound interest in philosophy, although I never truly felt this in the story. While Lyra did get some of this back as the story progressed, she is still thoroughly dependant on others over the course of the story, particularly the male characters. Pan also posed a problem. While he was more sympathetic than Lyra, I never really understood how their hatred of each other began and Pan''s actions in the story make as little sense as Lyra''s. He often seems to be spoiling for an argument, provoked by nothing, and he seems to vanish from the plot in its final act. Ultimately, I wasn''t even sure where he was during the climax. Malcolm''s chapters are a little more interesting, as he seems a lot more in control than Lyra, though I did find his attraction to her a little unsettling. While I have no issue with the age gap (both are adults), the fact that he has known her from birth and seemed to have some attraction to her as an underage student made this very creepy. As with Pan, the final time we see Malcolm in the story also left his fate uncertain, which was most frustrating! Beyond these three, the novel had a vast cast of secondary character across many different countries. Everywhere that Lyra and Malcolm travelled seemed to open up a new host of friends and foes, many of whom were brand new. This often made me have to flip backwards and forwards to remind myself who belonged to which faction and what their connections were, as many only existed as names and received little development as the story progressed. So, all in all, I liked this book more than La Belle Sauvage but it still had many problems with pacing and characterisation. He''s hoping that all of this build-up leads to a more satisfying finale!
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jj9k
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
In a similar but much much better world this awful novel was never written.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 24, 2019
My wife and I both loved His Dark Materials and consider it one of our absolute favourite stories ever. Our daughter is named Lyra after the protagonist of that series (and this new novel). We both thoroughly enjoyed La Belle Sauvage too and were greatly looking forward to...See more
My wife and I both loved His Dark Materials and consider it one of our absolute favourite stories ever. Our daughter is named Lyra after the protagonist of that series (and this new novel). We both thoroughly enjoyed La Belle Sauvage too and were greatly looking forward to this one. We bought it in hardback and on kindle. The paper copy just a keepsake of what would surely be an amazing book. To say I am disappointed in this book is a huge understatement. If you are a fan of His Dark Materials no doubt you have already read this but WITH SOME DEGREE OF SPOILER i will try and outline now why it has upset me so much. It started well enough with a little bit of intrigue. Lyra is not nearly as compelling to read as an adult and her relationship with Pan is upsetting. The events of His Dark Materials also seem to have had a bizarrely immaterial effect on the world when one consides the magisterium was on the loosing side of a rather massive conflict. And a quarter of the way through the book Pullman slaps you in the face: crowbarring awkwardly and unnecessarily a ''love'' story between characters that is as inappropriate, creepy and morally repugnant as it is a total betrayal of a character''s former good nature who was much loved by me before this novel. And leaving me wanting that character to die a profoundly noble death at the earliest opportunity so he might be forgiven for his lecherous sniffing. So profoundly shocking was this ridiculous writing decision that I felt like putting my kindle down and not reading more. The book then progressively turns into a more and more extraordinarily boring snorefest of one irritating nothing after another - with absolutely no imperative whatsoever driving the reader to turn the pages and read on to the end. The story is a nonsensical mishmash of odd encounters and ideas with no substantive overarching gripping plot. Very few likeable or even very believable characters - adult versions of formerly child characters now dull stereotypes. What can only be described as gratuitous use of threat of, and actual, sexual violence was as insensitively written as it was irrelevant and unjustified in narrative terms, whilst being extraordinarily distressing to the reader. And along with a feeling that the author arbitrarily and morbidly wished to focus on sinister threats the context and subsequent narrative came off as being both misogynistic and culturally offensive or racist etc. I read La Belle Sauvage in a night. This book was a grinding mission that took me several hateful days to wade through. Even the end of the book - with the exception of a couple of sections back in Oxford - was thoroughly dull. Excruciatingly dull. My wife finished it before me and we agreed (as did friends of hers) on the above points made. Read His Dark Materials, and read La Belle Sauvage - and if after that you have fallen in love with the characters therein: LEAVE THIS BOOK WELL ALONE. I am returning the hardback copy for a refund - we do not want a keepsake of this horrific failure. In fact, I am seeing a hypnotherapist to see if the memory of it can be substantively repressed.
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Dr. V. Stewart
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Dull, unimaginative, difficult to follow. A real disappointment.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 9, 2019
I''m halfway through, and I''m only finishing it in case it comes alive. it''s extraordinarily low in energy and invention; the few references to Dark Materials seem to be put in as an editorial necessity but add nothing. There are too many characters - at least, too many...See more
I''m halfway through, and I''m only finishing it in case it comes alive. it''s extraordinarily low in energy and invention; the few references to Dark Materials seem to be put in as an editorial necessity but add nothing. There are too many characters - at least, too many without distinguishing features. Lyra is depressed; Pan has detached himself; they''re off on journeys that lack any kind of emergency. It feels horribly formulaic. The interesting inventions that overflowed in the previous books just aren''t there. Where are the bears? Where are the witches? The mulefa? What happened after all the seismic changes in the first volumes? And the introduction of characters like Mozart and Napoleon - yes, honestly - don''t sit well in a world that''s supposed to have split off from our world several hundred years ago. Part of the plot consists of an argument between two best-selling philosophers who have somewhat reductionist views of human life. Neither is described with any sort of detail, they''re not very interesting, and I really can''t work out what purpose they serve. I suppose the intention was to satirise some current debates - or maybe to revert to Gulliver''s discovery of the big-enders and little-enders - but the satire lacks bite. I''ll finish it, of course; just as I used to finish my vegetables. But I doubt I''ll enjoy it or even remember what it was all about.
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Bob Crabtree
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Very far from being a page-turner
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 7, 2019
The exact opposite of a page-turner. I did turn the pages, of course, in the hope that something interesting would be over-leaf but it seldom was and I lost the will to live long before the end. As for people here praising the writing, I can''t think what sort of things they...See more
The exact opposite of a page-turner. I did turn the pages, of course, in the hope that something interesting would be over-leaf but it seldom was and I lost the will to live long before the end. As for people here praising the writing, I can''t think what sort of things they must be reading. To me the writing is humdrum, without much spark or wit. I want a work of fiction to have me riveted. To find that hours have flown by and it won''t be too long before I have to get up. I can think of any number of authors to whom that applies, even in some of their books that I don''t rate too highly. And many make profound points, as well as entertain. I''m struggling to think why the author bothered. The reasons can''t surely be financial so if it''s social commentary he''s wanting to make, why not just come out and make it without fictionalising in such a long, drawn out fashion.. I''m also at a loss as to how professional reviewers can be so full of praise. Perhaps they''re unable to see profundity in the real world and have to look for it elsewhere.
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M. A. Rust
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Disappointingly poor prose and dimensionless characters.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 16, 2019
I am so disappointed with this book that I''m almost angry. I''m finding it tedious and finishing it has become a chore. I''m forcing myself to read a chapter at a time until I can put this book behind me. Lyra''s character has changed so significantly that it is impossible to...See more
I am so disappointed with this book that I''m almost angry. I''m finding it tedious and finishing it has become a chore. I''m forcing myself to read a chapter at a time until I can put this book behind me. Lyra''s character has changed so significantly that it is impossible to recognise in her the child she once was. This would be fine if her character was properly developed, but this Lyra is almost 2 dimensional. The other characters range from pantomime villain to forgettable raconteurs. None are given any depth or a unique voice. It''s possible that they will be further developed in the next book, but for now I almost needed to write a dramatis personae to keep them apart. Finally, the writing style is nowhere near as engaging and tight as in previous Pullman books. It almost feels as if the Editor was on holiday and the book went straight to print without refinement. Overall a disappointing offer after a 2 year wait. Now instead of looking forward to the next release, I am dreading the decision on whether to stay with it to the bitter end or abandon the series now as a lost cause.
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His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass (Book 1) His Dark Materials: The Subtle Knife (Book 2) His Dark Materials: The Amber Spyglass (Book 3) The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage (Volume 1) The Book of Dust: The Secret Commonwealth (Volume 2)
Enter the world of His Dark Materials The modern fantasy classic soon to be an HBO original series – HIS DARK MATERIALS! The second book in the HIS DARK MATERIALS series – soon to be an HBO original series! The third book in the HIS DARK MATERIALS series – soon to be an HBO original series! Set in the same world as HIS DARK MATERIALS - meet Lyra before the events of The Golden Compass! Set in the same world as HIS DARK MATERIALS - discover what happened to Lyra after The Amber Spyglass!

Description

Product Description

The #1 New York Times Bestseller!

Return to the world of His Dark Materials—now an HBO original series starring Dafne Keen, Ruth Wilson, Andrew Scott, and Lin-Manuel Miranda—in the second volume of Philip Pullman’s new bestselling masterwork The Book of Dust.

 
The windows between the many worlds have been sealed and the momentous adventures of Lyra Silvertongue’s youth are long behind her—or so she thought. Lyra is now a twenty-year-old undergraduate at St. Sophia’s College and intrigue is swirling around her once more. Her daemon Pantalaimon is witness to a brutal murder, and the dying man entrusts them with secrets that carry echoes from their past.
 
The more Lyra is drawn into these mysteries, the less she is sure of. Even the events of her own past come into question when she learns of Malcolm Polstead’s role in bringing her to Jordan College.
 
Now Lyra and Malcolm will travel far beyond the confines of Oxford, across Europe and into the Levant, searching for a city haunted by daemons, and a desert said to hold the truth of Dust. The dangers they face will challenge everything they thought they knew about the world, and about themselves.
 
Praise for The Book of Dust

“It’s a stunning achievement, this universe Pullman has created and continues to build on.” The New York Times

 
“Pullman’s writing is simple, unpretentious, beautiful, true. The conclusion to The Book of Dust can’t come soon enough.”—The Washington Post

Review

The Secret Commonwealth is a majestic return to Lyra’s next chapter with all the magic, folklore, and fantasy only Philip Pullman can provide.” – Hypable
 
“A big novel full of big ideas, big characters and big sorrows. . . This book feels like a response to the darkness of our time.”—NPR

Pullman’s best novel so far. A work of extraordinary depth and humanity.” — The Observer

“As always, Pullman’s writing is  simple, unpretentious, beautiful, true. . . . the conclusion to the Book of Dust can’t come soon enough.” — The Washington Post
 
“The novel gallops forward, full of danger, delight and surprise. Pullman is a staggeringly gifted storyteller.” — New Statesman

“Engrossing.”Financial Times
 
“Exhilarating.”Kirkus Reviews
 
“Enthralling.”Readings
 
“Mr. Pullman’s writing is clear, clean and forceful, never striving for effect and all the more effective because of it. He’s also a man of ideas, which gives great savor to his work.” – The Wall Street Journal
 
Coming back to [Lyra] after all these years is such a profound pleasure that I can do nothing but sit back and watch her charge forward into the night, ready as she always was to remake the world in her own image.”— Vox

“Profound and provocative.”Bulletin

The Secret Commonwealth reasserts Pullman’s affection for the wondrous and those pieces of reality which can be seen only by those willing to see.”— Newsweek

“These books, and the intellectual debate they produce,  make Lyra’s world feel more lived-in than ever before.” — Entertainment Weekly

“Not only is it worthy second installment in The Book of Dust trilogy, it continues to prove this sequence will be  every bit as excellent as His Dark Materials.”  Seattle Post-Intelligencer

About the Author

PHILIP PULLMAN is one of the most acclaimed writers working today. He is best known for the His Dark Materials trilogy, which has been named one of the top 100 books of all time by Newsweek and one of the all-time greatest novels by Entertainment Weekly. Pullman was knighted for his services to literature in the 2019 New Year Honours.

The Book of Dust, Pullman’s eagerly anticipated return to the world of His Dark Materials, will also be a book in three parts. It began with La Belle Sauvage and continues with The Secret Commonwealth.

Philip Pullman is the author of many other beloved novels. 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. He has written a magnificent collection, Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm, and his essays and lectures on writing and storytelling have been gathered in a volume called Dæmon Voices: On Stories and Storytelling.

Philip Pullman lives in Oxford, England.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Little Clarendon Street had been adopted by Oxford’s jeunesse dorée as a fashionable destination. Expensive clothes shops, chic coffeehouses, cocktail bars, and colored anbaric lights strung overhead made it seem like a corner of another city altogether—Malcolm couldn’t have known what made tears come to Lyra’s eyes at that point, though he did notice the tears: it was her memory of the deserted Cittàgazze, all the lights blazing, empty, silent, magi­cal, where she had first met Will. She brushed them away and said nothing.
 
He led the way to a mock-Italian café with candles in straw-wrapped wine bottles and red-checked tablecloths and travel post­ers in splashy colors. Lyra looked around warily.
 
“It’s safe here,” Malcolm said quietly. “There are other places where it’s risky to talk, but there’s no danger in La Luna Caprese.”
 
He ordered a bottle of Chianti, asking Lyra first if that was what she’d like, and she nodded.
 
When the wine was tried and poured, she said, “I’ve got to tell you something. I’ll try and keep it clear in my head. And now I know about you and your dæmon, it’s something I can tell you, but no one else. Only I’ve heard so many things in the last couple of days and my mind’s in a whirl, so please, if I don’t make sense, just stop me and I’ll go over it again.”
 
“Of course.”
 
She began with Pan’s experience on the Monday night, the at­tack, the murder, the man giving him the wallet to take to Lyra. Malcolm listened in astonishment, though he felt no skepticism: such things happened, as he knew well. But one thing seemed odd.
 
“The victim and his dæmon knew about separating?” he said.
 
“Yes,” said Pan at Lyra’s elbow. “They weren’t shocked, like most people would be. In fact, they could separate too. She must have seen me up the tree when he was being attacked, and thought it would be all right to trust me, I suppose.”
 
“So Pan brought the wallet back to me at St. Sophia’s . . . ,” Lyra went on.
 
“And that was when Asta saw me,” Pan put in.
 
“. . . but other things got in the way, and we didn’t have a chance to look at it till the next morning.”
 
She pulled her bag up to her lap and took out the wallet, passing it to him unobtrusively. He noticed Pan’s tooth marks, and no­ticed the smell too, which Pan had called cheap cologne, though it seemed to Malcolm something other than that, something wilder. He opened the wallet and took out the contents one by one as she spoke. The Bodleian card, the university staff card, the diplomatic papers, all so familiar; his own wallet had held very similar papers in its time.
 
“He was coming back to Oxford, I think,” Lyra said, “because if you look at the laissez-passers, you can trace his journey from Sin Kiang to here. He’d probably have gone on to the Botanic Garden, if they hadn’t attacked him.”
 
Malcolm caught another faint trace of the scent on the wallet. He raised it to his nose, and something distant rang like a bell, or gleamed like the sun on a snowy mountaintop, just for the fraction of a second, and then it was gone.
 
“Did he say anything else, the man who was killed?”
 
He addressed the question to Pan, and Pan thought hard before saying, “No. He couldn’t. He was nearly dead. He made me take the wallet out of his pocket and told me to take it to Lyra—I mean, he didn’t know her name, but he said to take it to your . . . I think he thought we could be trusted because he knew about separating.”
 
“Have you taken this to the police?”
 
“Of course. That was almost the first thing we did next morn­ing,” Lyra said. “But when we were waiting in the police station, Pan heard one of the policemen speak.”
 
“He was the first killer, the one who wasn’t wounded,” said Pan. “I recognized his voice. It was very distinctive.”
 
“So we asked about something quite different and then left,” Lyra went on. “We just thought we shouldn’t give the wallet to the very man who’d killed him.”
 
“Sensible,” said Malcolm.
 
“Oh, and there’s another thing. The man who was cut on the leg. He’s called Benny Morris.”
 
“How d’you know that?”
 
“I know someone who works at the mail depot, and I asked him if there was anyone there who’d hurt his leg. He said yes, there was a big ugly man called Benny Morris, who sounds just like the man we saw.”
 
“And what then?”
 
“In the wallet,” Lyra said carefully, “there was a left-luggage key—you know, the sort you get with those lockers at the station.”
 
“What did you do with that?”
 
“I thought we ought to go and get whatever was in it. So—”
 
“Don’t tell me you did?”
 
“Yes. Because he’d sort of entrusted it to us, the wallet, and what was in it. So we thought we ought to go and look after it before the men who killed him realized and went to look for it themselves.”
 
“The killers knew he had some sort of luggage,” said Pan, “be­cause they kept asking each other if he’d had a bag, if he’d dropped it, were they sure they hadn’t seen it, and so on. As if they’d been told to expect one.”
 
“And what was in the locker?” said Malcolm.
 
“A rucksack,” Lyra said. “Which is under the floorboards in my room in Jordan.”
 
“It’s there now?”
 
She nodded.
 
He picked up his glass and drained it in one, and then stood up. “Let’s go and get it. While it’s there, you’re in great danger, Lyra, and that’s no exaggeration. Come on.”

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