The Golden Compass: His Dark Materials

Version: Unabridged
Author: Philip Pullman
Narrator: Philip Pullman , Full Cast
Genres: Fiction, Teen
Publisher: Listening Library (Audio)
Published In: September 2004
# of Units: 9 CDs
Length: 10 hours, 49 minutes
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When Lyra and her daemon Pantalaimon decide to spy on a presentation her uncle, the commanding Lord Asriel, is making to the elders of Jordan College they have no idea that they will become witnesses to an attempted murder—and even less that they are taking the first steps in a journey that will lead them into danger and adventure unlike anything Lyra's unfettered imagination has conjured up.

Though she has been reised at the college in an atmosphere of benign neglect that has allowed her to become a half-wild child of the streets, Lyra soon finds herself apprenticed to the elegant Mrs. Coulter—and in possession of a strange device called the alethiometer, a "golden compass" that reads not true worth, but truth itself.

But truth is a precious commodity, and before long Lyra and Pan are running for their lives, the object of an obsessive hunt by mysterious forces who have been stealing children for dark purposes that no one understands. Lyra will need all her street-learned wiles if she and Pan are to survive.

An international sensation from the moment it was published, The Golden Compass comes to spectacular new life in this unabridged recording, narrated by Philip Pullman himself, with the support of some of the finest actors of the London stage.

Reviews (24)

The Golden Compass

Written by Anonymous from Blaine, WA on February 3rd, 2020

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Excellent! Like having a performance of a play or movie in my car, with the many varied and wonderful voices reading the parts. Often this type of \"performance\" is abridged, but this one is not, making it even better. Highly recommended.

The Golden Compass

Written by Anonymous on April 15th, 2011

  • Book Rating: 4/5

Slow start but great once I got into the middle and couldn't wait for the ending. I immediately went out and got the second book in the serious.


Written by Anonymous on November 7th, 2009

  • Book Rating: 5/5

I really enjoyed listening to this, much better than the movie, the full cast of characters was very well done!

The Golden Compass

Written by Linda on October 4th, 2009

  • Book Rating: 5/5

I truly loved this book. It is the first one I have listened to that had more than one narrator and that made it come alive for. I highly recommend it. As for all the reviews whining about what he says about religion..folks it is FICTION it doesn't have to be what he does or doesn't think it just has to make the story flow that's why it is called FICTION! I can't wait to start book 2.

Good Story, Reader was dry

Written by lnxrulez on June 14th, 2009

  • Book Rating: 4/5

The story was interesting and I felt as though I knew the characters. The reader of the book was dry but that did not take away to much from the story. If you have only seen the movie I recommend listening to this book.

Golden Compass

Written by Anonymous from Kansas City, MO on May 28th, 2009

  • Book Rating: 5/5

What an interesting story line. The narration adds to the story. I was sorry that it didn't last longer. I can't wait to hear the next book!


Written by Anonymous on November 14th, 2008

  • Book Rating: 4/5

I really liked this book. If you like visiting different worlds, you will like this one to visit.

better than i expected

Written by Blair from Cleburne, TX on November 13th, 2008

  • Book Rating: 5/5

This book got tons of bad press when the movie came out (especially in conservative Texas). I wanted to judge for myself and ended up loving the audio book. I tried to read the last book, but did not like it at all (the audio was far superior) and decided to wait for my next cd installment to arrive. The voice acting is excellent and the story is original and exciting. One caveat I found is that the story is marketed toward the Harry Potter crowd, and I thought the amount of death and violence was a little extreme for young kids.

Really impressive

Written by Tracy on November 6th, 2008

  • Book Rating: 5/5

I had expected, as other reviewers have said, a children's fantasy tale, but found this to be a much darker and richer narrative altogether. Pullman draws together a surprising array of science, philosophy, religion, and mythology in crafting his world; the ending of this story, shocking as it is, has left me longing for the next book in the mail. I was also very impressed by the full cast recording and Pullman's narration. It was simply fun to listen to this book, so full of animated, passionate, and interesting voices.


Written by jonathan from Atlanta, GA on July 30th, 2008

  • Book Rating: 5/5

truly a marvelous story. Pullman is great as the narrator the book had me hooked from the beginning. i love the multiple cast in the book as well.

Author Details

Author Details

Pullman, Philip

"I was born in Norwich in 1946, and educated in England, Zimbabwe, and Australia, before my family settled in North Wales. I received my secondary education at the excellent Ysgol Ardudwy, Harlech, and then went to Exeter College, Oxford, to read English, though I never learned to read it very well.

I found my way into the teaching profession at the age of 25, and taught at various Oxford Middle Schools before moving to Westminster College in 1986, where I spent eight years involved in teaching students on the B.Ed. course. I have maintained a passionate interest in education, which leads me occasionally to make foolish and ill-considered remarks alleging that not everything is well in our schools. My main concern is that an over-emphasis on testing and league tables has led to a lack of time and freedom for a true, imaginative and humane engagement with literature.

My views on education are eccentric and unimportant, however. My only real claim to anyone's attention lies in my writing. I've published nearly twenty books, mostly of the sort that are read by children, though I'm happy to say that the natural audience for my work seems to be a mixed one - mixed in age, that is, though the more mixed in every other way as well, the better.

My first children's book was Count Karlstein (1982, republished in 2002). That was followed by The Ruby in the Smoke (1986), the first in a quartet of books featuring the young Victorian adventurer, Sally Lockhart. I did a great deal of research for the background of these stories, and I don't intend to let it lie unused, so there will almost certainly be more of them.

I've also written a number of shorter stories which, for want of a better term, I call fairy tales. They include The Firework-Maker's Daughter, I Was a Rat!, and Clockwork, or All Wound Up. This is a kind of story I find very enjoyable, though immensely difficult to write.

However, my most well-known work is the trilogy His Dark Materials, beginning with Northern Lights (The Golden Compass in the USA) in 1995, continuing with The Subtle Knife in 1997, and concluding with The Amber Spyglass in 2000. These books have been honoured by several prizes, including the Carnegie Medal, the Guardian Children's Book Award, and (for The Amber Spyglass) the Whitbread Book of the Year Award - the first time in the history of that prize that it was given to a children's book.

I was the 2002 recipient of the Eleanor Farjeon Award for children's literature. At the award ceremony for that prize, which I was very proud to receive, I promised to spend my time in future making fewer speeches and writing more books.

When I'm not writing books I like to draw and to make things out of wood. I also like to play the piano. I'd like to play it well, but I can't, so the rest of the family has to put up with my playing it badly."