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Publisher's Summary

An instant New York Times best seller! 

2018 Odyssey Honor

2018 ALSC Notable Children’s Recording

The Washington Post Best Audiobook of 2017

Slate Best Audiobook of 2017

Booklist Editor’s Choice Audio for Youth

AudioFile Best YA Audiobooks of 2017 

"Too few things in our world are worth a seventeen year wait: The Book of Dust is one of them." (The Washington Post

Philip Pullman returns to the parallel world of his groundbreaking novel The Golden Compass to expand on the story of Lyra, "one of fantasy's most indelible characters." (The New York Times Magazine

Malcolm Polstead is the kind of boy who notices everything but is not much noticed himself. And so perhaps it was inevitable that he would become a spy.... 

Malcolm's parents run an inn called the Trout, on the banks of the river Thames, and all of Oxford passes through its doors. Malcolm and his daemon, Asta, routinely overhear news and gossip, and the occasional scandal, but during a winter of unceasing rain, Malcolm catches wind of something new: intrigue. 

He finds a secret message inquiring about a dangerous substance called Dust - and the spy it was intended for finds him. 

When she asks Malcolm to keep his eyes open, he sees suspicious characters everywhere: the explorer Lord Asriel, clearly on the run; enforcement agents from the Magisterium; a gyptian named Coram with warnings just for Malcolm; and a beautiful woman with an evil monkey for a daemon. All are asking about the same thing: a girl - just a baby - named Lyra. 

Lyra is the kind of person who draws people in like magnets. And Malcolm will brave any danger, and make shocking sacrifices, to bring her safely through the storm. 

"The book is full of wonder.... Truly thrilling." (The New York Times

Note: This audiobook was recorded from the UK edition. 

©2017 Philip Pullman (P)2017 Listening Library

Critic Reviews

"People will love the first volume of Philip Pullman's new trilogy with the same helpless vehemence that stole over them when The Golden Compass came out." (Slate)

"There’s something pleasingly old-fashioned about Michael Sheen’s narration, which is matched by the pleasure of returning to Pullman’s world of daemons and Dust. Sheen fully inhabits the text... It’s a rip-roaring start to Pullman’s new trilogy, and fans will be impatient to dive into the next installment." (AudioFile)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Story

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Disturbing differences from print text

I really enjoyed Michael Sheen's reading of the book. But I was also reading the Kindle text, using Whispersync to listen to the Audible version as I read along. So any differences between the audio and print versions jumped out at me immediately. And there were a lot of them! At first I thought Michael Sheen must be reading a British text, while Kindle had an American version. But it quickly became obvious that couldn't account for all of the discrepancies (and I don't know whether there are differences between the British and American versions). At one point, a day of the week and the time of day were different. The Audible version had "physicist" in most, but not all, places where Kindle had "experimental theologian." In very many places, the synchronization stopped while the audio continued, only to resume in the middle of the next page. But the most glaring difference came in a tirade from Alice toward Malcolm. In the Audible version, it's long, very violent, and extremely profane--something parents should be warned of. But in the text, it's much shorter, less violent, and not profane. I'm guessing that Sheen was probably reading a pre-publication text that was edited further before publication, and I hope that a new audio version that follows the published text will be forthcoming. In the rush to get both versions out by the publisher's deadline, someone has been exceedingly sloppy. I found the constant discrepancies and interruptions in synchronization to range from irritating to really upsetting, leading me to read the last few chapters without Mr. Sheen's constant distractions. And I find it disturbing that those who experience the oral, but not the written, text will not get the version Mr. Pullman and his publisher intended.

77 of 82 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

decent. not what I expected.

Narrator was great. Story was decent but not up to what I built it up to be. Read His Dark Materials as a kid... so maybe I expected too much as an adult.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Hoping for improvement in the next books.

It's a very weird book with weird structure, and it gets way too surreal at just the wrong time. Definitely not as impressive as the previous trilogy. However, it has great characters, a great villain, and all the savage beauty of the Dark Materials, so I'll definitely be waiting for the next books. It's wonderful to be back in that world again.
The narration is excellent, unlike the horid full cast recording of HDM.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kevin
  • Jersey City, NJ
  • 10-21-17

Great Story! But I miss the full cast.

This was well worth the wait. Michael Sheen does a fine job but it just doesn’t feel like “His Dark Materials” if it’s not read by Pullman and a full Cast. Hope Jo Wyatt reads the next one!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Michael Sheen is superb!

I loved the full-cast experience of the "His Dark Materials" series. For anyone hesitant to listen to a single narrator after listening to the full cast trilogy, do no be concerned. Mr. Sheen is one of the best narrators I've ever listened to in my 25+ year history of audio books. There are several action scenes in this book where the narrator raises his voice and almost shouts. The intensity is incredible. Audible should make one of these scenes be the sample that audio book browsers hear. Sure, this is a great story by Pullman, but he couldn't have picked a better voice actor. Sheen's range of voice characterization is stunning. And if you're an Anglophile like me, you're in for a treat.

16 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Delicious

Absolutely riveting
Wonderful return after17 years!
Michael Sheen’s performance is superb
Hold on
Cannot wait for the next !

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Very Engaging

Michael Sheen does a great job creating tension and distinctive characters with his reading style, and the book itself was one of the more engaging I've read this year. I devoured this book, and will certainly be relistening to it. Prepare to fall in love with Mal and to be genuinely invested in his struggles.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Michael Sheen does this great story justice!

If you, too, are a massive fan of the radio play audio version of Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, you know the work cut out for anyone attempting to narrate this solo. Michael Sheen does a fantastic job and made this audiobook come alive. Huge fan of this story, absolutely adored this presentation!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Mesmerizing story, perfect narration

This book is one I wish I still had to look forward to. Pullman's characters come to live in your heart and their quest for safety nearly stops it!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant beginnings

How it all began is just as thrilling as his previous books. Pieces are linked together so well that His Dark Materials becomes even more wonderfully captivating.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful