His Dark Materials is an epic trilogy of fantasy novels consisting of Northern Lights (1995, published as The Golden Compass in North America), The Subtle Knife (1997), and The Amber Spyglass (2000). It follows the coming of age of two children, Lyra Belacqua and Will Parry, as they wander through a series of parallel universes.
The three novels have won a number of awards, most notably the 2001 Whitbread Book of the Year prize, won by The Amber Spyglass. Northern Lights won the Carnegie Medal for children's fiction in the UK in 1995. The trilogy took third place in the BBC's Big Read poll in 2003. The fantasy elements include witches and armoured polar bears, but the trilogy also alludes to ideas from physics, philosophy and theology.
In addition to the trilogy there are also two short novels: Lyra's Oxford and Once Upon a Time in the North. Lyra's Oxford is a sequel to The Amber Spyglass, and tells the story of a witch who seeks revenge for her son's death in the war against the Authority. She draws Lyra into a trap, but birds mysteriously rescue her and Pan and she makes the acquaintance of an alchemist who was formerly the witch's lover. Once Upon a Time in the North is a prequel to His Dark Materials and focuses on the 24-year-old Texan aeronaut Lee Scoresby. After winning his hot-air balloon, Scoresby heads to the North, landing on the Arctic island Novy Odense, where he finds himself pulled into a dangerous conflict between the oil-tycoon Larsen Manganese, the corrupt mayoral candidate Ivan Poliakov, and his longtime enemy from the Dakota Country, Pierre McConville. The story tells of Lee and Iorek's first meeting and of how they overcame these enemies.
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