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Once Upon a Time in the North by Philip Pullman

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Featured on The Book Show on Sky Arts on 22 January 2009.

A wonderful tale from a master storyteller, giving us, just as Lyra’s Oxford did, more extraordinary insight into the world of Pullman’s ‘Dark Materials’. This one tells the story of the very first meeting in the far frozen Arctic of two legends and friends from the trilogy, Lee Scoresby, the Texan balloonist, and Iorek Byrnison, the armoured bear. It’s a mesmerising episode with wonderfully page-turning qualities and written in just 100 pages and beautifully packaged too complete with a thrilling board game. This title is also availble on CD audio.

If you like Philip Pullman you might also like to read books by Paulo Coelho, Anne Rice and Kathleen McGowan.


Once Upon a Time in the North by Philip Pullman

When Lyra is studying at Oxford University, she comes across the story of Lee Scoresby and Iorek Byrnisson's first meeting, many years ago, along with much evidence of the adventure that brought them together. When a young Texan balloonist, Lee Scoresby, comes down to earth in the harbour of an Arctic town in the North, little does he realise that he is about to be embroiled in an out-and-out political brawl. Lee and his daemon, Hester, find themselves the target of political factions trying to take over the running (and oil) of the town.

And also resident in the town are huge arctic bears, ignored and patronised by the people and treated like second-class citizens. When Lee and Iorek first meet, they cement a friendship that will continue throughout their lives, as the tensions and pressure in town lead to a deadly conclusion...Another wonderful tale from a master story-teller, giving us more extraordinary insight into the world of "His Dark Materials".


Exuberant, intelligent fun . . . Once again Pullman has created a work of art that is enchanting for a child but equally appealing to an adult -- Amanda Craig * The Times * Tantalisingly short, irresistibly snappy and full of dangerous derring-do * Independent * This is a real treat, and easily one of the publishing hightlights of the year that will be devoured by fans old and new * The Bookseller * Small and elegant, the book is exquisitely illustrated with woodcuts by John Lawrence and rounded off with bits of memorabilia including a newspaper clipping giving a different spin on events plus a board game. Fast and powerful, this is an exciting read -- Anne Faundez * Carousel * A short, simple, elegant story . . . cloth-bound, with enhancing woodcuts by master-engraver John Lawrence -- Claudia Fitzherbert * Spectator *

About the Author

Philip Pullman

Philip Pullman was born in Norwich, England, in 1946 and grew up in Zimbabwe and Wales. He has won many awards, including the Carnegie Medal, the Guardian Children's Book Award and the Whitbread Book of the Year Award. His acclaimed trilogy, His Dark Materials, has been published in thirty-nine languages and sold tens of millions of copies. He lives in Oxford with his wife, and has two sons.

Author photo © K T Bruce

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Book Info

Publication date

3rd April 2008


Philip Pullman

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David Fickling Books


112 pages


NewGen - YA Fiction

Fantasy & magical realism (Children's / Teenage)



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