The Subtle Knife Background

The Subtle Knife Background

The Subtle Knife is a novel written by Philip Pullman that was published in 1997. This book is actually the second installment of Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. Pullman is an English author whose writing is based heavily on religion and Christianity, and one of his most famous works is a fictional biography of Jesus. Though his works are based on religious subjects, they target young adults and are actually extremely well received in Great Britain and all around the world.

His Dark Materials is a series of three fantasy novels that follows the adventures of Lyra Belacqua and Will Perry as they travel through parallel universes and also come of age during these wanderings. The novels in this trilogy have won quite a few awards, including the Carnegie Medal in 1995 and the 2001 Whitbread Book of the Year. The first book in this trilogy, Northern Lights, was adapted into a film named The Golden Compass, and follows the journey of Lyra and Will as they travel through their multiverse, in which there is a world that is essentially Great Britain during the Victorian era, similar in terms of dress and society, as well as technology.

The Subtle Knife, the second novel, continues following their journey through the universe as companions. Though she is looking for her father, Lyra is increasingly drawn to the Dust phenomenon and chooses to investigate the mystery. The religion in this world is quite similar to modern day Christianity, with explicit Biblical references such as the Adam and Eve story with the temptations of the devil’s serpent, though Jesus himself never appears in The Subtle Knife. Moving away from a world so similar to Earth and into another realm, the city of Cittàgazze, Lyra and Will continue their journey of growth in The Subtle Knife.

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