Lyra's Oxford

Lyra's Oxford


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Lyra's Oxford is an exciting tale set in the world of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials saga. This collectible hardcover volume includes a short story by Mr. Pullman, plus a fold-out map of Oxford and various "souvenirs" from Lyra's world and beyond. The book is illustrated throughout with woodcut illustrations by John Lawrence.

This charming edition is a must for Pullman fans.

Don't miss Philip Pullman's epic new trilogy set in the world of His Dark Materials!
La Belle Sauvage—now in paperback
The Secret Commonwealth—coming October 3

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780375828195
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication date: 10/28/2003
Series: His Dark Materials Series
Pages: 64
Sales rank: 164,329
Product dimensions: 4.40(w) x 6.80(h) x 0.50(d)
Lexile: 910L (what's this?)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

PHILIP PULLMAN is one of the most acclaimed writers working today. He is best known for the His Dark Materials trilogy, which has been named one of the top 100 books of all time by Newsweek and one of the all-time greatest novels by Entertainment Weekly. Pullman was knighted for his services to literature in the 2019 New Years Honours.

The Book of Dust, Pullman’s eagerly anticipated return to the world of His Dark Materials, will also be a book in three parts. It began with La Belle Sauvage and continues with The Secret Commonwealth.

Philip Pullman is the author of many other beloved novels. For younger readers: I Was a Rat!, Count Karlstein, Two Crafty Criminals!, Spring-Heeled Jack, and The Scarecrow and His Servant. For older readers: the Sally Lockhart quartet (The Ruby in the Smoke, The Shadow in the North, The Tiger in the Well, and The Tin Princess), The White Mercedes, and The Broken Bridge. He has written a magnificent collection, Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm, and his essays and lectures on writing and storytelling have been gathered in a volume called Dæmon Voices: On Stories and Storytelling.

Philip Pullman lives in Oxford, England.


Oxford, England

Date of Birth:

October 19, 1946

Place of Birth:

Norwich, England


Exeter College, Oxford University

Read an Excerpt

LYRA didn’t often climb out of her bedroom window these days. She had a better way onto the roof of Jordan College: the Porter had given her a key that let her onto the roof of the Lodge Tower. He’d let her have it because he was too old to climb the steps and check the stonework and the lead, as was his duty four times a year; so she made a full report to him, and he passed it to the Bursar, and in exchange she was able to get out onto the roof whenever she wanted. When she lay down on the lead, she was invisible from everywhere except the sky. A little parapet ran all the way around the square roof, and Pantalaimon often draped his pine-marten form over the mock battlements on the corner facing south, and dozed while Lyra sat below with her back against the sun-drenched stone, studying the books she’d brought up with her. Sometimes they’d stop and watch the storks that nested on St. Michael’s Tower, just across Turl Street. Lyra had a plan to tempt them over to Jordan, and she’d even dragged several planks of wood up to the roof and laboriously nailed them together to make a platform, just as they’d done at St. Michael’s; but it hadn’t worked. The storks were loyal to St. Michael’s, and that was that.
“They wouldn’t stay for long if we kept on coming here, anyway,” said Pantalaimon.
“We could tame them. I bet we could. What do they eat?”
“Fish,” he guessed. “Frogs.” He was lying on top of the stone parapet, lazily grooming his red gold fur. Lyra stood up to lean on the stone beside him, her limbs full of warmth, and gazed out toward the southeast, where a dusty dark-green line of trees rose above the spires and rooftops in the early evening air.

She was waiting for the starlings. That year an extraordinary number of them had come to roost in the Botanic Garden, and every evening they would rise out of the trees like smoke, and swirl and swoop and dart through the skies above the city in their thousands.
“Millions,” Pan said.
“Maybe, easily. I don’t know who could ever count them. . . . There they are!” They didn’t seem like individual birds, or even individual dots of black against the blue; it was the flock itself that was the individual. It was like a single piece of cloth, cut in a very complicated way that let it swing through itself and double over and stretch and fold in three dimensions without ever tangling, turning itself inside out and elegantly waving and crossing through and falling and rising and falling again. “If it was saying something . . . ,” said Lyra.
“Like signaling.”
“No one would know, though. No one could ever understand what it meant.”
“Maybe it means nothing. It just is.”
“Everything means something,” Lyra said severely. “We just have to find out how to read it.” Pantalaimon leapt across a gap in the parapet to the stone in the corner, and stood on his hind legs, balancing with his tail and gazing more intently at the vast swirling flock over the far side of the city.
“What does that mean, then?” he said. She knew exactly what he was referring to. She was watching it too. Something was jarring or snagging at the smokelike, flaglike, ceaseless motion of the starlings, as if that miraculous multidimensional cloth had found itself unable to get rid of a knot.
“They’re attacking something,” Lyra said, shading her eyes. And coming closer. Lyra could hear them now, too: a high-pitched angry mindless shriek. The bird at the center of the swirling anger was darting to right and left, now speeding upward, now dropping almost to the rooftops, and when it was no closer than the spire of the University Church, and before they could even see what kind of bird it was, Lyra and Pan found themselves shaking with surprise. For it wasn’t a bird, although it was bird-shaped; it was a dæmon. A witch’s dæmon.
“Has anyone else seen it? Is anyone looking?” said Lyra. Pan’s black eyes swept every rooftop, every window in sight, while Lyra leaned out and looked up and down the street on one side and then darted to the other three sides to look into Jordan’s front quadrangle and along the roof as well. The citizens of Oxford were going about their daily business, and a noise of birds in the sky wasn’t interesting enough to disturb them. Just as well: because a dæmon was instantly recognizable as what he was, and to see one without his human would have caused a sensation, if not an outcry of fear and horror. “Oh, this way, this way!” Lyra said urgently, unwilling to shout, but jumping up and waving both arms; and Pan too was trying to attract the dæmon’s attention, leaping from stone to stone, flowing across the gaps and spinning around to leap back again. The birds were closer now, and Lyra could see the dæmon clearly: a dark bird about the size of a thrush, but with long arched wings and a forked tail. Whatever he’d done to anger the starlings, they were possessed by fear and rage, swooping, stabbing, tearing, trying to batter him out of the air.
“This way! Here, here!” Pan cried, and Lyra flung open the trapdoor to give the dæmon a way of escape. The noise, now that the starlings were nearly overhead, was deafening, and Lyra thought that people below must be looking up to see this war in the sky. And there were so many birds, as thick as flakes in a blizzard of black snow, that Lyra, her arm across her head, lost sight of the dæmon among them. But Pan had him. As the dæmon-bird dived low toward the tower, Pan stood up on his hind legs, and then leapt up to gather the dæmon in his paws and roll with him over and over toward the trapdoor, and they fell through clumsily as Lyra struck out with her fists to left and right and then tumbled through after the two dæmons, dragging the trapdoor shut behind her.

Customer Reviews

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Lyra's Oxford 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 90 reviews.
Inward_Jim More than 1 year ago
It was a good story, I was expecting more than 30 pages though (most of which were illustrations). It made me want more, but the fairly inconsequential story, the length, and the price make the nook download somewhat of a disappointment. The hard copy would have been nice for the extras and the illustrations and such, but since booksellers don't carry much niche anymore (unless it's vampire stuff) this was nowhere around me. Not a bad story, but you'll be happier with the physical copy.
AnnieBM More than 1 year ago
This short book was an interesting side story to the Golden Compass series. But I found the book a bit disappointing. I enjoyed it but Pullman set high standards with his other books and this one did not quite measure up. If you enjoyed the others, you will enjoy this as well. Recommended for Pullman and Golden Compass fans.
name99 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I just didn't get this short story.The book version comes with a whole lot of visual material that, for obvious reasons, isn't in the audiobook, so perhaps it makes more sense in that context. I have also heard a claim that Pullman is writing a successor to The Amber Spyglass and perhaps this will make more sense in the context of that book.
phoebesmum on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Hardly a book at all, just an odd chapter of Lyra-fic that Pullman apparently wrote and couldn¿t find a home for. Artistically pointless, but probably profitable.
isabelx on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
They stood still. Their city lay quietly around them, and the only voice was the bird's, and they couldn't understand what it said.This book is a very nice as an object, with a tactile red cloth cover and a few extras including a fold out street map of Lyra's Oxford with the location of some of the landmarks of our Oxford scribbled on it. Unfortunately the short story it contains, called "Lyra and the Birds", is rather disappointing.
TheoClarke on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A novella that is a cloaked introduction to semiotics. "Everything means something. We just have to find out how to read it."
matto1990 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A nice little story however so short that it is almost not worth reading. The entire book took me about an hour to read and only adds a little to the overall story of Lyra. I would have loved more from this book but there isn't that much in it.
wyvernfriend on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Cute story and map of the Oxford Lyra lives in. Not a story to read if you're not familiar with the stories themselves but an interesting look at Lyra and her world.
ed.pendragon on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Don't read this expecting the epic grandeur of the final battle in The Amber Spyglass. Instead, take this for what it is: as the title suggests, this is a glimpse of Lyra Silvertongue's home town. So, we get a map, which it is instructive to compare with its modern fold-out, full-colour relief counterpart in this world. We get the deliciously realistic post-cards and brochures and cruise timetables that support what we know from the trilogy and hint at what we don't. And we have, almost incidentally, a short dream-like story that shows that, for Lyra back in her own world, things aren't as happy ever after as we might have expected. Yes, it is a mild disappointment if you were looking for more action. But, on the plus side, the hardback is a handsome volume to own, to hold, to peruse; and, along with Once Upon a Time in the North, it shows that Pullman has not abandoned the worlds that, God-like, he has created and that in time we may hope for something a little more substantial than these tasters.
BeeQuiet on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Given the spectacular nature of the His Dark Materials trilogy, I was expecting something far greater than this. The story hardly semed to get started at all and ended up seeming like the first chapter of a book as opposed to a short story in itself. I was left thinking "Is that it?"
rincewind1986 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is truely dreedful, compared to his dark materials it is just not playing the same game let alone in the same league. the story is ill coneived and poorly written. i really wish i had never read this book.
ameyers on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a great book for fans of Pullman¿s His Dark Materials series. I would not recommend it for those who want to read the series later, because it is set after the other three books. In this novel, Lyra saves the daemon-bird of a witch and tries to help it get where it is going. The plot is filled with twists and turns and a surprise ending (though you can see it coming). It is good for an older reader (male or female) who has already read the other fantasy of Pullman. It also features a cool fold out map of Lydia¿s Oxford.
06nwingert on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Lyra's Oxford is an ancillary of Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy. Fans of His Dark Materials will enjoy this book, as it sheds new light on some of the character from His Dark Materials in a short story format.
earthlistener on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Lyra¿s Oxford was an interesting and nice add on to Lyra¿s world and story. While the story is very short, it still is a good story to read for those who are fans of the series, His Dark Materials.
pocketmermaid on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this little novelette follow-up to the His Dark Materials series. No, it nowhere near matches the depth and breadth that the HDM series covered, but it was really nice to visit Lyra and Pan again.
if0x on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is astonishingly expensive for what little there is of it. Because I bought it in a '3 for 2' deal, I got something of a discount on it. I s'pose. It still probably ended up being near-enough £7 in real terms, though, and for a VERY short story (it took about ½ an hour to read) that's nothing short of completely scandalous.The basic story is rather like the curate's egg: good in parts, although the conclusion's mystifying (perphaps intentionally, as it seems to be a reference to decoding the different levels of symbol meaning on the altheiometer), and strangely weak. The central plot is also somewhat trite, and is much more reminiscent of the contrived, direct plot of, say, The Ruby in the Smoke, Pullman's earlier work.Nonetheless, what we're given is still good. It's two years after the end of The Amber Spyglass, and we get a much richer description of Jordan College and, as the title might imply, Lyra's Oxford. Not particularly comprehensive, perhaps, but enough little details squirreled away in the text to flesh the world out quite nicely.However, aside from the short story, the book also contains a fold-out map of Lyra's Oxford, together with some other oddments from Lyra's world, and whilst these are ridiculously thin in terms of canon-development, they flesh things out considerably (I highly recommend reading the full list of available publications listed on the back of the map, for example - some amusing references in there).What puzzled me, slightly, was that Mary Malone's flat was marked on the map of Lyra's Oxford. Now, obviously, Mary's in Will's world, but we never really saw her flat, did we? I wonder why it was felt necessary to indicate its location...There's a Steamer itenary, too, which gives hints at the naming of other countries and stuff, so that we can do the mapping to build up a still bigger picture of the world of anbaric lights and naptha flames, gyptians and armoured bears.In summary, then, Lyra's Oxford is a diverting ½ hour's story that is ridiculously over-priced. I can only hope that The Book of Dust, if it ever arrives, proves more substantial.
rocalisa on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I've given this a mediocre rating. It was a nice little story about Lyra and Pan, but didn't feel particularly necessary. Either there's very little substance here, or Pullman is being so clever (and the included postcard, maps etc etc certainly imply he's trying to be clever) that I don't get it. I'm left feeling a bit disappointed, stupid or possibly both. I liked the story about Lyra, but the thing we learned from this short tale doesn't seem worth the effort. Yes, it might be important, but for us the readers to see that Pullman will need to write more books, something he hasn't yet given any indication he plans to do. And if he did, that tiny scrap of information could just as easily, and probably should be, included in that. I guess I feel vaguely cheated. I was looking forward to more about favourite characters and while I did get that, it was a short tale without the strength and substance I know Pullman can write. It read like a prologue for a book but there's no book and while this story is complete, it doesn't feel finished.
wiremonkey on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A cruelly tantalizing, brief glimpse into Lyra's world after the events of His Dark Materials
beckybose on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Resembled an early chapter from the Northern Lights. We seem to regress to the character of Lyra before she embarked on her adventure - full of the same naivity and positive aggressive spirit. Where's the memory of sadness and the lessons learnt by the indescribable loss suffered and the astonishing and illuminating revelations of the trilogy?
thequotidian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Lyra's Oxford is another excursion into Phillip Pullman's world of the His Dark Materials Trilogy.Lyra's Oxford is composed of one 50-odd page story, as well as a map and some other tidbits of information relating to the HDM world.While the story, Lyra and the Birds, is interesting and well written, it did not quite live up to what I have come to expect from Pullman after reading HDM. It seems a little if Pullman was writing this for popular demand instead of his own desire to write.Although the tale is set only two years after The Amber Spyglass, Lyra seems to have forgotton all about Will. So much for their devotion to each other.This is still worth reading, but I hope that Pullman will give us more full length stories to add to HDM.3.5 Stars.
Mountain-girl More than 1 year ago
I wish I had read the reviews before purchasing on my Nook. I didn't expect 30 pages of story for $7.99 and the short blurbs about characters at the end isn't formatted correctly, so you can only read half of them. The photos are nice if it was included in a novel, but too much for a super short story. Very disappointing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Here, Howl.
Brigitte725 More than 1 year ago
It's just a nice little story to show us that Lyra is still up to her same shenanigans. The included map also allows us a small glimpse into her world. I hope that Pullman will continue Lyra's adventures.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great series for teens and young adults
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This quick read was not what I expected.