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Publisher's Summary

An unabridged reading of Philip Pullman's nerve-shattering thriller, set in the murky streets and opium dens of Old London. When 16-year old Sally's father drowns in suspicious circumstances, she is left to fend for herself in Victorian London. Although she doesn't know it, she is already in terrible danger.
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Customer Reviews

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By Andreas Hofmeyr on 04-30-17

Heart wrenching, thrilling and darkly mysterious!

With the aid of fantastically tactile narration, Pullman captivates us with a dark and intense, yet at times upliftingly jovial, tale of mystery and grimey suspense set against a cruel and industrial Dickensian backdrop, where danger lurks behind every alley way corner.

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By Francine on 01-23-15

Another excellent Philip Pullman series!

Any additional comments?

Although historical novels are not usually my forte, this series is lively, interesting, full of well-developed and likable characters and, of course, well written. It's promoted as a "young adults" series but it really isn't. Not for the younger kids for sure as the stories are quite gritty and do not always end well. Philip Pullman has a knack for original writing. Love him!

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By Barry on 09-08-16

A layered and satisfying listen

I was not sure what to expect after "His Dark Materials" which I enjoyed with my children several years ago. There has been a rash of badly written Victorian detective novels throwing shapes at Sherlock Holmes but this is not one of them. As the series unfolds you realise that you are experiencing the work of a master craftsman. Philip Pullman knows how to tell a story and what's more he knows how to write, and then some. The main character is multi dimensional and fully realised maturing and taking responsibility as the books hold an impressive character arc across the stories in each novel. We listened to the first book on a car trip and on reaching our destination purchased the next two available on Audible and consumed over meals and evening relaxation. There is a fourth and we await its recording. The history, social observation, ethical concerns and impacts of technical progress and violence are so skillfully interwoven that you are enlightened before you notice. A rare set of books with perfect narration like this does not come along often so grab it. This series provoked great discussions with my teenage kids. Months later we are still discussing the story, the characters, the ethical questions and the thoroughly enjoyable experience listening to this book and its sequels gave to us as a family. A layered and satisfying listen for everyone.

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17 of 17 people found this review helpful


By Liz on 11-25-08

Smoke Clarified

As an adult I approached this novel with some reservations. Anton Lesser's rendition (as always)was brilliant so I needn't have worried. I can recommend this audio book without reservation for both adults and older children alike.

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24 of 25 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By stuart on 12-20-17

brilliant enthralling dramatic and sweet. l loved it and can't wait to read the next book!

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