His Dark Materials

Philip Pullman

Illustrated by Peter Bailey

Preface by the author

A magnificent Folio Society edition of a worldwide phenomenon. The award-winning trilogy His Dark Materials in a stunning fully illustrated hardback edition.

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Since the publication of the first volume of His Dark Materials in 1995, Philip Pullman’s trilogy has won millions of  readers, garnered countless awards and accolades and been adapted for stage and screen. The Amber Spyglass, the third volume, was the first ever children’s book to be awarded the Whitbread Book of the Year Award, confirming the trilogy as a work that demands to be read by all. The Folio Society’ incredible fully illustrated hardback edition is illustrated by Peter Bailey with black and white chapter openings by the author.

Production Details

3 volume set

Bound in printed and blocked cloth

Frontispiece and 10 full-page colour illustrations in each volume 

Chapter opening drawings throughout by Philip Pullman

1,168 pages in total

Printed and blocked slipcase

˝ x 6¼˝

A magnificent Folio Society edition of a worldwide phenomenon

The heroine of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy is 12-year-old Lyra Belacqua, who lives half-wild and carefree with her animal dæmon among the scholars of Jordan College, Oxford. Lyra’s guardian, Lord Asriel, has made an enemy of the sinister and all-powerful Church authorities – the Magisterium – and this story unfolds in Northern Lights. Caught up in the conflict, Lyra must travel great distances and she sets out in The Subtle Knife to the frozen Arctic wastes and beyond, towards a fateful encounter with Will Parry, a fugitive boy from another world. When Lyra and Will join forces, their perilous journey leads them to a decisive battle between freedom and authority in the final novel of the trilogy The Amber Spyglass, in which Lyra will play the ultimate part.

‘Rarely, if ever, have readers been offered such a rich casket of wonders’

  1. Independent

A fantasy novel of incredible scope

The emotional and intellectual range of Pullman’s narrative is astonishing. In the words of the Times Literary Supplement, ‘the prose is muscular and musical, the emotions uncensored, the ideas tantalizingly complex’. Lyra and Will are realistically flawed, but they grow in strength and wisdom, and the trilogy’s conclusion sees them make a heartbreaking sacrifice for the greater good. Drawing on influences from Blake to Milton, and brimming with fascinating ideas about creation, consciousness, childhood and free will, His Dark Materials is above all a triumph of storytelling.

‘A trilogy that promises to live alongside the works of Tolkien and C. S. Lewis as an icon of imaginative writing’

  1. The Times

Illustrations that exemplify the text

Peter Bailey’s illustrations provide the perfect window into Pullman’s thrillingly inventive world. With his delicate, shadowy images, reminiscent of the work of Edward Ardizzone, he captures the story’s mystery and complexity.

The Folio Society is delighted to publish his illustrations, together with the drawings by Philip Pullman from the original editions. Also included is a preface commissioned exclusively for the Folio edition from Philip Pullman, providing an exclusive insight into the inspiration behind His Dark Materials.

‘One of the supreme literary dreamers and magicians of our time’

  1. Guardian on Philip Pullman

About Philip Pullman

Sir Philip Pullman was born in Norwich and grew up in Wales, though he also travelled extensively due to his father’s work as a pilot in the Royal Air Force. He graduated from Exeter College, Oxford, with a third-class BA in English in 1968 (Oxford later honoured him with a D.Litt. in 2009). As a schoolboy and student he discovered John Milton’s Paradise Lost and the poetry of William Blake, both of which have been significant influences on his own writing. He began publishing children’s fiction while working as a teacher in Summertown, north Oxford, a job he left after the success of Northern Lights (1995; published as The Golden Compass in the United States), the first book in the trilogy His Dark Materials (Folio edition 2008). The trilogy won the Carnegie Medal and, later, the ‘Carnegie of Carnegies’, as well as the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize. It has been adapted for stage and TV, and the first book was also the basis for a major feature film. The Book of Dust, another trilogy with some of the same characters and deepening the exploration of Pullman’s ideas, includes La Belle Sauvage (2017; Folio 2021) and The Secret Commonwealth (2019; Folio 2022). Pullman is also known for the Sally Lockhart series and as an editor of fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm. He has served as President of the Society of Authors and is a notable campaigner for public libraries in the UK.

About Peter Bailey

Peter Bailey is one of Britain’s best-known book illustrators, who has worked with authors including Allan Ahlberg and Dick King Smith. He is best known for his work on children’s fiction but has also undertaken commissions for adult books – including several commissions for The Folio Society. He was born in India and grew up in London, where his father worked at the Victoria & Albert Museum. Bailey has said that time he spent there as a child influenced his development as an artist. He studied at Brighton School of Art and taught illustration at Liverpool School of Art for 20 years until 1997. Particularly recognised for his long-time collaboration with Philip Pullman, for whose novels he produces extraordinary, intricate ink drawings, he has illustrated Folio editions of His Dark Materials (2008), La Belle Sauvage (2021) and The Secret Commonwealth (2022).


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