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Publisher's Summary

Lyra and Will, the two ordinary children whose extraordinary adventures begin in The Golden Compass and The Subtle Knife, are in unspeakable danger. With help from Iorek Byrnison the armored bear and two tiny Gallivespian spies, they must journey to a dank and gray-lit world where no living soul has ever gone.

All the while, Dr. Mary Malone builds a magnificent amber spyglass. An assassin hunts her down. And Lord Asriel, with troops of shining angels, fights his mighty rebellion, a battle of strange allies and shocking sacrifice.

As war rages and dust drains from the sky, the fate of the living, and the dead, finally comes to depend on two children and the simple truth of one simple story. The Amber Spyglass reveals that story, bringing Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials to an astonishing conclusion.

Listen to the rest of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials series.
©2000 Philip Pullman (P)2001 Random House, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Absorbing...Like Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling, [Pullman] invents a world filled with strange divinations and wordplays." (Newsweek) "A literary masterpiece...[that] caps the most magnificent fantasy series since The Lord of the Rings and puts Harry Potter to shame...A page-turning story that builds to a powerful finish." (Oregonian) "As the rich tale unfolds, Pullman's voice, elegant with a hint of both whisper and rasp, thoroughly enthralls, sounding by turns forceful and tender. The talented, extensive cast gives a dynamic, nearly flawless performance." (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Jim
  • Chicago, IL, USA
  • 03-16-05

Sophisticated and Thought Provoking!

Just when you thought this series of books couldn't get any more fantastic, the author steps up to an entirely new level, introducing characters and concepts that are admittedly pretty advanced for youngsters (although my 7 and 11 year olds absolutely love these books). For early teens, it is a perfect introduction to philosophical and ethical ideas that require some serious thought. The nature of religion versus dogma, the concept of self, the idea of power of self-sacrifice, the portrayal of multiple realities, all are explored in new and fascinating ways.

The audio production of the entire series is top-notch and riveting, and has resulted in my driving around the block many times just to get to the end of the next chapter.

Contrary to claims that this book is anti-religion - it is more a criticism of political authority, ignorance, and power. This is not the God of our world - this is an alternate universe. The church in this story is a repressive political entity that relies on fear and intimidation.

It is frightening to see how many people fear these books and wish to ban them rather than to see them as a starting point for discussion of ideas (do not underestimate your children and their ability to comprehend these ideas). These books do not challenge anyone's faith - it really points out the the pitfalls of blind faith versus the true power of actual deeds. Pulling these books out of libraries as some wish to do would be a tragedy, and it seems to reflect more of a lack of faith in one's own beliefs than anything else.

27 of 30 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

an exceptional story that's had bad press

Forget the political reviews of this series as an atheist anthem. This is simply a wonderful story with rich characters, fantastic worlds and heartwarming themes about friendship and loyalty. The full cast reading is worth every penny-a must listen!

23 of 26 people found this review helpful

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  • Andrea
  • Calgary, Alberta, Canada
  • 07-29-10

A worthwhile but somewhat disappointing end

Pullman continues to add complex twists and turns to his final novel in this trilogy, do not miss the first two before you listen to this one! I enjoyed this final novel, but there were MANY more characters than usual, and though I enjoyed the complexities of them, there seemed like too many to all be properly developed. The religious (or arguably anti-religious) overtones become much more of a focus here, which I did not like even though I am not religious. Though it is still very suspenseful and full of adventure, twists and unpredictable turns like the other two novels I walked away feeling a little disappointed. Perhaps that is because this believable fantasy trilogy is now done.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Disappointing End

After the first two books, I was a little disappointed with the third. The ending was somewhat anti-climatic and a little too theological for my taste. It would have been more appropriate if this book ended three-quarters of the way through.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Wendy
  • vista, CA, USA
  • 03-29-09


after the first two books its hard not to fall in love with the ending of this one, even though its sad, you know it has to happen.

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

A great finish to a fabulous trilogy!

His Dark Materials ends with this book (although there is a follow-up, _Lyra's Oxford_, which includes a short story, a map of Lyra's Oxford, and some other materials), the longest of the three.

The various storylines are tied up nicely, though some may not care for how things are left with the two main characters. Despite this, I loved it - this book and the series - and would love for additional stories from Pullman about the characters and places he's brought to life in these books (as he did with the above-mentioned book).

Great books for children or adults of all ages!

17 of 21 people found this review helpful

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  • Hawk
  • Wagoner, OK, USA
  • 02-29-08

Imaginatioon People

Since when did imagination go by the way of a fallen leaf from the big tree? I have heard so much of how bad this series seems to be but as a Pastor I have heard nothing but happiness and excitement from what comes out of this story. Nobody says anywhere in these books that you have to beleive what you hear. The fun of these types of books is to bring you out of such a hard way of living and go into a world that just takes your mind off your own worries. Love the books and gosh - there are only three in the series. I look forward to more.

13 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

A wonderful, spell binding listen!

This is the third and final installment of the series "His Dark Materials" and is very different from the first two which are clearly aimed at the young (in mind at least) but nevertheless, an enjoyable listen for those who like me are chronologically challenged!! This third book however, is a different kettle of fish and frankly, I wouldn't reccommend it to anyone under the age of 15. For those of us past this age, it is wonderful. Full of adventure, cliff hanging moments, it is one of few books that have brought tears to my eyes on at least two occasions. Masterfully written, this audio version is superbly narrated by a whole cast who bring light and life to the story. An intense and emotional ride, this final chapter of the trilogy kept me spell bound throughout.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Jenn
  • Gardnerville, NV United States
  • 03-10-13

An Unsatisfying Ending to the Trilogy

I really didn't enjoy the wrap-up to this series as much as I enjoyed the set-up to this series. I can't really articulate why, though; I just didn't enjoy it.

Update: I've spent some time trying to figure out exactly what it was about this book that was unsatisfying. One might suggest that it's the blatantly anti-religion aspects of the third installment. I mean, God (or The Authority as he's know in the book) literally dies in the course of the plot. In addition, Mary Malone explains in great detail to the children why she stopped being a nun and became a physicist (and mind you, these things are certainly mutually exclusive in the worldview the author presents). Her rationed speech is full of sentiments along the lines of 'why waste our time on earth not enjoying ourselves when there is nothing to go to afterwards.' With these anti-religion aspects and many more, it is possible to see how they would be the root of someone's dislike of the book. The thing is, they didn't really bother me; atheism has been a theme from the beginning of the series and is organic to the story being told.

For me, it was the Mulefa (forgive my spelling; I listened to the audiobook and thus am not sure how to spell it). I'm good with an alien race of sentient beings that don't look like humans (check out my review of Out of the Silent Planet for proof). Not just the Mulefa, though; The Mulefa, the Gallivaspians, the journey to the world of the dead. The plot just seemed over the top, and not in an exciting way. One can almost picture the author at his desk saying to himself, "I can't think of what should logically happen next so I'm going to invent a new thing and go from there." There was no real goal for the story as there had been in the previous books. Golden Compass: find Roger. Subtle Knife: get the alethiometer back. Amber Spyglass: ???.

So there it is, this book was unsatisfying because it really didn't have a goal. Without accomplishing a goal, it's impossible to have a satisfying ending.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

An amazing journey, and amazing characters

I initially read the "Dark Materials" trilogy a few years ago. I wanted to refresh my memory, with the first book coming out in movie form late this year (2007). I just finished listening to all three books (The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife and finally, The Amber Spyglass). The story is so rich with wonder and the characters are so unique. The narration by Pullman and the full cast made the story really come to life. The armored bears, the witches, the mulefa - all so a part of the universal connections of all beings. The daemons continue to fascinate me, and make me wonder if I'll even realize my own. The worlds and there parallel relationships are intriguing. I only hope there could be a continuing story some day.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Becci J
  • 10-25-15


I wouldn't have guessed the ending in a million years; what an amazingly beautiful story this is!

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  • "ddowns27"
  • 06-18-15


I think there it could have Gina less lovey dovey towards the end but that aside, fantastic trilogy. Would recommend to anyone into fantasy, Harry Potter, LoTR, and terry pratchett type books.

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  • Mr
  • 04-13-13

Completes the set

Really excellent narration of all three books by Pullman and this brilliant cast. You need to listen to the first two first but I can't think of any reason why you would not then go on and download this one. They should probably be reviewed altogether but as a set well worth the five stars.