The Tiger in the Well : Sally Lockheart

  • by Philip Pullman
  • Narrated by Anton Lesser
  • Series: Sally Lockheart
  • 13 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Sally Lockhart, trying to put her troubled past behind her after her fiance's death, has settled into a comfortable life with her daughter, Harriet, her career, and her London friends. But her world comes crashing down around her when a complete stranger claims to be both her husband and Harriet's father, casting doubt on her spotless reputation. Seeking the answers to this terrible dilemma, Sally realizes with growing horror that there is a guiding hand behind all this deceit; someone who hates her so passionately that he has devoted years to bringing about her ruin. She has no choice but to escape with her child into the crime-ridden slums of London's East End. Suddenly it isn't only Sally's reputation that is in danger.

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What the Critics Say

"The writing style is lively and direct, and there's lots of action. While Sally's story is for mature readers, it is never sordid or sensational. This is a suspense novel with a conscience, and a most enjoyable one." (School Library Journal)
"A suspenseful, textured mystery. Especially fine is his use of details, 19th-century London comes alive here. Remarkable, too, is the way Pullman interweaves subplots....Those who have enjoyed Sally's adventures before, as well as those new to the series, will find this a fascinating read, pulsing with life." (Booklist)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Dark, but compelling

This very well read (Anton Lesser) edition of the third of Philip Pullman's Sally Lockhart trilogy is, like the other works in the series, rather darker than one quite expects, and not everyone or everything is better in the end. In other words, far more like real life than most. The story is compelling, the characters (mostly new in this book) are interesting and unexpected. The book can certainly be read standalone - there's really no requirement to read the earlier volumes - but some of the context is, obviously, lost.

This suspensefull and compelling novel is set in 19th century London, with a back drop of the pogroms in Eastern Europe and the non-entity of women. Sally is an independent financial advisor, with a child and no husband, who is thrust from her relatively privileged position into the East End. Her determination to survive, to protect her child and her reputation, and to overcome her enemy are mixed with the learning process of a privileged Londoner suddenly finding herself very much a part of the open sewer that was the East End. Where she makes new friends and unexpected allies in her fight.

Compelling listening, I found myself finding excuses to go on long drives so I could listen to this book. Highly recommended.
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- Charlie

Propaganda at the expense of character and plot

The first two books in the trilogy were enjoyable. This is a very poor third. Much of the appeal of the earlier books lies in the character of Sally, who is independent, resourceful, and clever. In this book, however, Sally is faced with a grave personal crisis and instead of trying to help herself, leaves matters in the hands of a condescending do-nothing when it is glaringly obvious to both the reader and Sally that his course of action is going to plunge Sally further into disaster. After her spineless inaction has placed Sally in the necessary jeopardy, Sally's character is permitted to be less inert. Unfortunately, this is when the socialist propaganda takes over. At the culmination of the book, Sally makes an impassioned speech proclaiming that the villain is not evil -- it is the owners of the means of production, and the lawyers and doctors and bishops, who are Truly Evil. Sally's oration comes not long after another character has declaimed on the unfairness of making negative judgments about groups of people rather than considering them as individuals. Pullman either fails to note the inconsistency of the positions his characters advocate, or intends to send the message that persons lower on the socioeconomic scale must be treated fairly as individuals, but that persons with property or authority may be demonized en masse. The story does not compensate for the sermonizing. As noted by other reviewers, any half-awake reader will have figured out who the villain is many frustrating chapters before Sally works it out.
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- Agrippina Frogbottom

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-10-2005
  • Publisher: Listening Library