Thursday, January 11, 2018
#tbt: The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman. 399 p. Alfred A. Knopf, 1996. 9780679879244. (Own.)
The Golden Compass was originally published as Northern Lights in the UK in 1995. It is the first book of a trilogy called, His Dark Materials. Twelve-year-old Lyra lives at Jordan College, Oxford in an alternate universe where everyone has a bonded daemon and Lyra's is called Pantalaimon or Pan, for short. Her uncle, Lord Asriel is about to visit and Lyra witnesses her guardian poison the wine that would be served to Asriel. She warns her uncle, then eavesdrops on his lecture about "dust" and she learns of his research in the north. When Lyra is adopted by a socialite named Mrs. Coulter, her guardian gifts her an alethiometer, a truth divining device also known as the golden compass. Lyra uses it intuitively and learns that Mrs. Coulter is working against her uncle and heading an evil organization that is kidnapping children. She flees hoping to find her uncle in the north, but is pursued by Mrs. Coulter.
This is fantasy literature at its finest with vivid world building, memorable characters, nail-biting suspense and thrilling adventure. One would think the story would translate into a great film. Alas, the 2007 adaptation was a disappointment. I read the three books before I started blogging. Perhaps a reread is due while waiting for The Book of Dust Volume 2.