The Dark Materials Trilogy...
Drew bought me Northern Lights (aka The Golden Compass) for a Christmas present last year and I'd not got round to reading it until recently. I had noticed however that's it's author Philip Pullman recently won the £30,000 Whitbread Book Of The Year Award for The Amber Spyglass - book three in a Dark Materials trilogy of which Northern Lights was the first book. This was the first time a children's book had won the main Whitbread award. Coupled with the fact that two weeks ago in the pub everyone was talking about daemons (and essential feature of Northern Lights) and Ian is lending another Philip Pullman book (The Ruby in the Smoke - book one of a completely different trilogy featuring a character called Sally Lockhart) to Drew to read I thought I'd give him a whirl. Well to put in mildly I'm hooked. I've read three of his books in the last week alone. Starting with The Ruby in the Smoke I moved on to the Dark Materials Trilogy (Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass).
Pullman is basically a children's fantasy writer akin to J K Rowling but his books deal with far more serious themes such as opium addiction, theology, science, murder, puberty, death, child abuse, mental illness and even castration (!) His hero/heroine are often aged 11 or 12, are all gutsy fighters from broken homes and often end up killing someone within the first few pages. The books are an easy read and have that page-turning quality that makes any book hard to put down.
The Dark Materials trilogy will now be made into a film by the production company behind The Lord of the Rings. New Line Cinema has bought up the rights following the success of its first Tolkien film, according to industry site Variety.