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His Dark Materials Omnibus

Philip Pullman



  Book I • The Golden Compass

  Winner of the Carnegie Medal (England)

  Winner of the Guardian Prize for Fiction (England)

  “Superb … all-stops-out thrilling.”

  —The Washington Post

  “Magnificent … a fantasy-adventure that sparkles with childlike wonder.”

  —The Boston Sunday Globe

  “Marvelous … the writing is elegant and challenging.”

  —The New Yorker

  Book II • The Subtle Knife

  Winner of a Parents’ Choice Gold Award

  A Booklist Editors’ Choice

  “Destined to become a classic.”

  —Detroit Free Press

  “As rich and complex a fantasy novel as any adult reader could wish for.”

  —San Francisco Examiner-Chronicle

  “The story gallops with ferocious momentum [and] Pullman is devilishly inventive.”

  —The New York Times Book Review

  Book III • The Amber Spyglass

  Winner of the Whitbread Book of the Year Award (England)

  A New York Times Bestseller

  “Masterful.… This title confirms Pullman’s inclusion in the company of C. S. Lewis and Tolkien.”


  “As complex and dazzling as a kaleidoscope.”

  —The Denver Post

  “A brilliantly written adventure story.… Superbly crafted and breathtaking in scope.”

  —Detroit Free Press

  Also by Philip Pullman

  His Dark Materials:

  The Golden Compass • Book I

  The Subtle Knife • Book II

  The Amber Spyglass • Book III

  Lyra’s Oxford

  The Broken Bridge

  Count Karlstein

  I Was a Rat!

  Puss in Boots

  The Ruby in the Smoke

  The Scarecrow and His Servant

  The Shadow in the North

  Spring-Heeled Jack

  The Tiger in the Well

  The Tin Princess

  The White Mercedes


  This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

  The Golden Compass copyright © 1995 by Philip Pullman

  The Subtle Knife copyright © 1997 by Philip Pullman

  The Amber Spyglass copyright © 2000 by Philip Pullman

  Interior illustrations copyright © 2005 by Philip Pullman

  “Lantern Slides” text copyright © 2007 by Philip Pullman

  All rights reserved.

  Published in the United States by Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House, Inc., New York. The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass were published separately by Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House, Inc., in 1996, 1997, and 2000, respectively. The Golden Compass was originally published under the title His Dark Materials I: Northern Lights in Great Britain by Scholastic Children’s Books, an imprint of Scholastic Ltd., in 1995. The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass were published in Great Britain by Scholastic Children’s Books, an imprint of

  Scholastic Ltd., in 1997 and 2000.

  The title page illustration entitled “Mr. Pullman’s Raven,” copyright © 2006 by John Lawrence, was originally published in The Golden Compass Deluxe Edition by Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House, Inc., in 2006.

  “The Ecclesiast” from Rivers and Mountains by John Ashbery. Copyright © 1962, 1963, 1964, 1966 by John Ashbery. Reprinted by permission of Georges Borchardt, Inc., for the author.

  “The Third Elegy” from Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke by Rainer Maria Rilke. Copyright © 1982 by Stephen Mitchell. Reprinted by permission of Random House, Inc.

  KNOPF, BORZOI BOOKS, and the colophon are registered trademarks of Random House, Inc.

  Educators and librarians, for a variety of teaching tools, visit us at

  Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data available upon request.

  eISBN: 978-0-307-80820-2




  Other Books by This Author

  Title Page







  Into this wild abyss,

  The womb of nature and perhaps her grave,

  Of neither sea, nor shore, nor air, nor fire,

  But all these in their pregnant causes mixed

  Confusedly, and which thus must ever fight,

  Unless the almighty maker them ordain

  His dark materials to create more worlds,

  Into this wild abyss the wary fiend

  Stood on the brink of hell and looked a while,

  Pondering his voyage …

  —John Milton, Paradise Lost, Book II



  ONE The Decanter of Tokay

  TWO The Idea of North

  THREE Lyra’s Jordan

  FOUR The Alethiometer

  FIVE The Cocktail Party

  SIX The Throwing Nets

  SEVEN John Faa

  EIGHT Frustration

  NINE The Spies


  TEN The Consul and the Bear

  ELEVEN Armor

  TWELVE The Lost Boy

  THIRTEEN Fencing

  FOURTEEN Bolvangar Lights

  FIFTEEN The Dæmon Cages

  SIXTEEN The Silver Guillotine

  SEVENTEEN The Witches


  EIGHTEEN Fog and Ice

  NINETEEN Captivity

  TWENTY Mortal Combat

  TWENTY-ONE Lord Asriel’s Welcome

  TWENTY-TWO Betrayal

  TWENTY-THREE The Bridge to the Stars

  Lantern Slides





  Lyra and her dæmon 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 dæmon. “Behave yourself.”

  Her dæmon’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 into the Retiring Room, where she stood up and looked around. The only light in here came from the fireplace, where a bright blaze of logs settled slightly as she looked, sending a fountain of sparks up into the chimney. She had lived most of her life in the College, but had never seen the Retiring Room before: only Scholars and their guests were allowed in here, and never females. Even the maidservants didn’t clean in here. That was the Butler’s job alone.

  Pantalaimon settled on her shoulder.

  “Happy now? Can we go?” he whispered.

  “Don’t be silly! I want to look around!”

  It was a large room, with an oval table of polished rosewood on which stood various decanters and glasses, and a silver smoking stand with a rack of pipes. On a sideboard nearby there was a little chafing dish and a basket of poppy heads.

  “They do themselves well, don’t they, Pan?” she said under her breath.

  She sat in one of the green leather armchairs. It was so deep she found herself nearly lying down, but she sat up again and tucked her legs under her to look at the portraits on the walls. More old Scholars, probably; robed, bearded, and gloomy, they stared out of their frames in solemn disapproval.

  “What d’you think they talk about?” Lyra said, or began to say, because before she’d finished the question she heard voices outside the door.

  “Behind the chair—quick!” whispered Pantalaimon, and in a flash Lyra was out of the armchair and crouching behind it. It wasn’t the best one for hiding behind: she’d chosen one in the very center of the room, and unless she kept very quiet …

  The door opened, and the light changed in the room; one of the incomers was carrying a lamp, which he put down on the sideboard. Lyra could see his legs, in their dark green trousers and shiny black shoes. It was a servant.

  Then a deep voice said, “Has Lord Asriel arrived yet?”

  It was the Master. As Lyra held her breath, she saw the servant’s dæmon (a dog, like all servants’ dæmons) trot in and sit quietly at his feet, and then the Master’s feet became visible too, in the shabby black shoes he always wore.

  “No, Master,” said the Butler. “No word from the aerodock, either.”

  “I expect he’ll be hungry when he arrives. Show him straight into Hall, will you?”

  “Very good, Master.”

  “And you’ve decanted some of the special Tokay for him?”

  “Yes, Master. The 1898, as you ordered. His Lordship is very partial to that, I remember.”

  “Good. Now leave me, please.”

  “Do you need the lamp, Master?”

  “Yes, leave that too. Look in during dinner to trim it, will you?”

  The Butler bowed slightly and turned to leave, his dæmon trotting obediently after him. From her not-much-of-a-hiding place Lyra watched as the Master went to a large oak wardrobe in the corner of the room, took his gown from a hanger, and pulled it laboriously on. The Master had been a powerful man, but he was well over seventy now, and his movements were stiff and slow. The Master’s dæmon had the form of a raven, and as soon as his robe was on, she jumped down from the wardrobe and settled in her accustomed place on his right shoulder.

  Lyra could feel Pantalaimon bristling with anxiety, though he made no sound. For herself, she was pleasantly excited. The visitor mentioned by the Master, Lord Asriel, was her uncle, a man whom she admired and feared greatly. He was said to be involved in high politics, in secret exploration, in distant warfare, and she never knew when he was going to appear. He was fierce: if he caught her in here she’d be severely punished, but she could put up with that.

  What she saw next, however, changed things completely.

  The Master took from his pocket a folded paper and laid it on the table beside the wine. He took the stopper out of the mouth of a decanter containing a rich golden wine, unfolded the paper, and poured a thin stream of white powder into the decanter before crumpling the paper and throwing it into the fire. Then he took a pencil from his pocket, stirred the wine until the powder had dissolved, and replaced the stopper.

  His dæmon gave a soft brief squawk. The Master replied in an undertone, and looked around with his hooded, clouded eyes before leaving through the door he’d come in by.

  Lyra whispered, “Did you see that, Pan?”

  “Of course I did! Now hurry out, before the Steward comes!”

  But as he spoke, there came the sound of a bell ringing once from the far end of the hall.

  “That’s the Steward’s bell!” said Lyra. “I thought we had more time than that.”

  Pantalaimon fluttered swiftly to the hall door, and swiftly back.

  “The Steward’s there already,” he said. “And you can’t get out of the other door …”

  The other door, the one the Master had entered and left by, opened onto the busy corridor between the library and the Scholars’ common room. At this time of day it was thronged with men pulling on their gowns for dinner, or hurrying to leave papers or briefcases in the common room before moving into the hall. Lyra had planned to leave the way she’d come, banking on another few minutes before the Steward’s bell rang.

  And if she hadn’t seen the Master tipping that powder into the wine, she might have risked the Steward’s anger, or hoped to avoid being noticed in the busy corridor. But she was confused, and that made her hesitate.

  Then she heard heavy footsteps on the dais. The Steward was coming to make sure the Retiring Room was ready for the Scholars’ poppy and wine after dinner. Lyra darted to the oak wardrobe, opened it, and hid inside, pulling the door shut just as the Steward entered. She had no fear for Pantalaimon: the room was somber colored, and he could always creep under a chair.

  She heard the Steward’s heavy wheezing, and through the crack where the door hadn’t quite shut she saw him adjust the pipes in the rack by the smoking stand and cast a glance over the decanters and glasses. Then he smoothed the hair over his ears with both palms and said something to his dæmon. He was a servant, so she was a dog; but a superior servant, so a superior dog. In fact, she had the form of a red setter. The dæmon seemed suspicious, and cast around as if she’d sensed an intruder, but didn’t make for the wardrobe, to Lyra’s intense relief. Lyra was afraid of the Steward, who had twice beaten her.

  Lyra heard a tiny whisper; obviously Pantalaimon had squeezed in beside her.

  “We’re going to have to stay here now. Why don’t you listen to me?”

  She didn’t reply until the Steward had left. It was his job to supervise the waiting at the high table; she could hear the Scholars coming into the hall, the murmur of voices, the shuffle of feet.

  “It’s a good thing I didn’t,” she whispered back. “We wouldn’t have seen the Master put poison in the wine otherwise. Pan, that was the Tokay he asked the Butler about! They’re going to kill Lord Asriel!”

  “You don’t know it’s poison.”

  “Oh, of course it is. Don’t you remember, he made the Butler leave the room before he did it? If it was innocent, it wouldn’t have mattered the Butler seeing. And I know there’s something going on—something political. The servants have been talking about it for days. Pan, we could prevent a murder!”

  “I’ve never heard such nonsense,” he said shortly. “How do you think you’re going to keep still for four hours in this poky wardrobe? Let me go and look in the corridor. I’ll tell you when it’s clear.”

  He fluttered from her shoulder, and she saw his little shadow appear in the crack of light.

  “It’s no good, Pan, I’m staying,” she said. “There’s another robe or something here. I’ll put that on the floor and make myself comfortable. I’ve just got to see what they do.”

  She had been crouching. She carefully stood up, fee
ling around for the clothes hangers in order not to make a noise, and found that the wardrobe was bigger than she’d thought. There were several academic robes and hoods, some with fur around them, most faced with silk.

  “I wonder if these are all the Master’s?” she whispered. “When he gets honorary degrees from other places, perhaps they give him fancy robes and he keeps them here for dressing-up.… Pan, do you really think it’s not poison in that wine?”

  “No,” he said. “I think it is, like you do. And I think it’s none of our business. And I think it would be the silliest thing you’ve ever done in a lifetime of silly things to interfere. It’s nothing to do with us.”

  “Don’t be stupid,” Lyra said. “I can’t sit in here and watch them give him poison!”

  “Come somewhere else, then.”

  “You’re a coward, Pan.”

  “Certainly I am. May I ask what you intend to do? Are you going to leap out and snatch the glass from his trembling fingers? What did you have in mind?”

  “I didn’t have anything in mind, and well you know it,” she snapped quietly. “But now I’ve seen what the Master did, I haven’t got any choice. You’re supposed to know about conscience, aren’t you? How can I just go and sit in the library or somewhere and twiddle my thumbs, knowing what’s going to happen? I don’t intend to do that, I promise you.”

  “This is what you wanted all the time,” he said after a moment. “You wanted to hide in here and watch. Why didn’t I realize that before?”

  “All right, I do,” she said. “Everyone knows they get up to something secret. They have a ritual or something. And I just wanted to know what it was.”

  “It’s none of your business! If they want to enjoy their little secrets you should just feel superior and let them get on with it. Hiding and spying is for silly children.”

  “Exactly what I knew you’d say. Now stop nagging.”

  The two of them sat in silence for a while, Lyra uncomfortable on the hard floor of the wardrobe and Pantalaimon self-righteously twitching his temporary antennae on one of the robes. Lyra felt a mixture of thoughts contending in her head, and she would have liked nothing better than to share them with her dæmon, but she was proud too. Perhaps she should try to clear them up without his help.