Annotations for Subtle Knife


Baker & Taylor
As the boundaries between worlds begin to dissolve, Lyra and her daemon help Will Parry in his search for his father and for a powerful, magical knife

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Baker & Taylor
In the sequel to The Golden Compass, Lyra and her new friend, Will, tumble into the strange tropical otherworld of Citta+a6gazze, where adults are absent and children run wild, as they search desperately for Will's missing father.

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Random House, Inc.
"The most magnificent fantasy series since The Lord of the Rings." --The Oregonian

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
A Newsweek Top 100 Book of All Time
An Entertainment Weekly All-Time Greatest Novel

"The story gallops with ferocious momentum." --The New York Times Book Review
"Pullman's imagination soars. . . . A literary rollercoaster ride you won't want to miss." --The Boston Globe
"Destined to become a classic." --Detroit Free Press
"The Subtle Knife is as absorbing and irresistible as The Golden Compass--and even more so, as powerful forces are set in motion. A brilliantly conceived work." --Lloyd Alexander, author of the Prydain Chronicles, and Newbery Medalist for The High King

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Random House, Inc.
The questions, discussion topics, and author information that follow are intended to enhance your group's reading of The Subtle Knife . The Subtle Knife is Book Two of Philip Pullman's trilogy 'His Dark Materials'. In Book One, The Golden Compass, young Lyra Belacqua journeys through 'a universe like ours but different in many ways.' The most striking difference between Lyra's world and ours is the existence of daemons. These spirit-creatures, physical manifestations of the human soul, can change shape until their human companions reach adolescence. Then each daemon settles into the animal form that best reflects the inner nature of its human counterpart. In The Golden Compass, Lyra discovers that her mother, Mrs. Coulter, is conducting experiments in which children are severed from their daemons, turning them into emotionless, almost inhuman beings. Mrs. Coulter and her colleagues are doing this to learn more about a substance called 'Dust, ' which seems to accumulate on humans when they reach maturity. While many fear Dust, both Mrs. Coulter and Lyra's father, Lord Asriel, see it as the source of great power. The Golden Compass concludes with Lord Asriel harnessing the power of Dust to create an opening in the atmosphere of his world, forging a bridge to another universe. This he fearlessly crosses, leaving Mrs. Coulter behind. Lyra perceives that Dust is good and vows to discover its secrets with the help of her 'golden compass', or alethiometer, a truth-seeking device. And so Lyra and her daemon, Pantalaimon, follow Lord Asriel into the other world. The Subtle Knife begins in our own world, where Will Parry, driven by curiosity about his mysterious, missing father and concern for his vulnerable, disturbed mother, accidentally kills an intruder. While fleeing, he finds a 'window' into a sunlit otherworld. What could be a better refuge than a hidden universe? But this universe is a strange, empty place: a city that seems to have been abandoned in such haste that food is left rotting on plates at a sidewalk cafe. The inhabitants of the city, Cittágazze, have fled from the invading Specters, ghostlike creatures that devour the souls of adults. But Specters are harmless and invisible to children, and soon Will meets another fugitive child in Cittágazze: Lyra. Although he does not know it, their lives are soon to become forever intertwined when Lyra's alethiometer gives her one simple command: Help Will find his father. The richly imagined world of Book One seems almost quiet and simple when compared to the turmoil of Book Two. Here 'Dust' is called 'dark matter' and has been joined by a myriad of other complex phenomena, including the Specters and bene elim (angels). One protagonist has been replaced by two, Lyra and Will. Most significant of all, Lyra's truth-giving compass seems to pale in comparison to the power of Will's new acquisition, the subtle knife, the Æsahættr, the knife that will cut ANYTHING. What can it mean to be the bearer of such an instrument?

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