His Dark Materials
Part 2 - The Subtle Knife (Unabridged)

Author: Philip Pullman
Starring: Philip Pullman, Ray Fearon, Emma Fielding, Peter Marinker and Jack Klaff
BBC Audio
RRP: £39.99
ISBN: 978 1 855 49193 9
Available 05 November 2007

Will is twelve years old and he's just killed a man. On the run, he steps through a window into another world, and finds a companion - a strange, savage little girl called Lyra. Both children have a mission, and they decide to help each other. But the world of Cittągazze is a strange and unsettling place, where deadly soul-eating spectres roam. And the mysterious Torre degli Angeli lurks Cittągazze's most important secret-an object which people from many worlds would kill to possess...

This eight CD collection of Philip Pullman's The Subtle Knife is an unabridged audio presentation of the second book in the His Dark Materials trilogy. This collection expands the BBC Radio 4 full-cast dramatisation, which is also available separately as a 2-disc abridged collection, by including additional narration that fleshes out the story fully, as in the original book.

The Subtle Knife introduces Will Parry - a young boy in search of his long-lost explorer father. Will's discovery of an extraordinary 'window in the air' near the Oxford ring road leads him out of our world into the strange and unsettling Cittągazze. There he meets Lyra, a girl who is herself searching for something: the secret of the mystical substance Dust. Moving back and forth through the portal, Will and Lyra join forces in their quest.

As they make allies and enemies along the way, they also learn of the subtle knife. An object which many would kill to possess, the knife has incredible powers, and Will finds himself reluctantly in a fight for its possession. The subtle knife is a tool that was forged hundred of years previously by scientists. The knife has two purposes. It can create portals between worlds, and can also cut through any known material. Will is hoping that it will come in useful in his quest to track down his missing father.

The Subtle Knife has an all-star cast including Ray Fearon, Emma Fielding, Peter Marinker and Jack Klaff, with a linking narration by the author. While the 2-disc collection is incredibly well realised (and a must for all fans of the trilogy), this unabridged collection is even more engaging. The hours will fly by, and once you've listened to it once you'll be itching to buy the other two collections.

While £40 may seem a lot to spend (and if you are planning on buying all three unabridged tales the full collection will set you back a tidy £146) it does represent almost nine hours of quality entertainment which vividly brings to life Pullman's story. Fans of the book will find that this is a must buy.

Pete Boomer

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