A page-turning adventure in a world very much like our own

Northern Lights by Philip Pullman

With the publication of book one of the long-awaited The Book of Dust in October, and 22 years after I first read, and was blown away by, this book, I decided it was time for a re-read. This is a book set in a world that is very much like our own, and starts in an Oxford that is almost like ours except that we all have dæmons that shadow us.

Like all good stories, this is one that pulls you in from the very beginning, through the streets of Oxford and over the roofs of Jordan College. There is the alethiometer too – an object that has to be one of the finest literary creations of the 20th century – that enables Lyra to read what is happening in the world.

When her friend is kidnapped by Gobblers the action shifts to London, and to the waterways of England, before moving still further to the north, and to Svalbard where armoured bears roam, and experiments with Dust are carried out.

Book One was always my favourite of the trilogy, whilst I liked book two, and respected book three at the same time as getting overwhelmed by the ideas behind it. In contrast, Northern Lights is pure story and adventure, and a joy to read and to immerse yourself into.