Samu Salmenkangas

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A Tale well matured served by an orator of sublime talent

5 out of 5 stars
5 out of 5 stars
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 16-11-19

As the first volume in the Book of Dust, The Secret Commonwealth is read by Michael Sheen whose virtuosity in characterisation leaves all other narrators lacking. His characters are amazingly vivid. The characters are rich of subtext and convey layers of meaning as accents and dialects, as well as notes social status carry through the speech of the players in the story. The story itself is a steampunkish saga, invoking memories from Arabian Lawrence and The Orient Express. The themes of the story are gathering darker tones as it develops. It resonates with the now grown up readers of His Dark Materials touching ageless themes of growing up towards the solitude of independent adulthood and finding ones place in the suddenly foreign world. It’s surprisingly current with glimpses to the lifes of refugees and the oppressed interwoven in the tapestry that is the addictive fable dealing with religion and the free will. The societal parallels are on the point and show us a harrying vision of a not so distant society of intolerance and injustice. Philip Pullmans writing has matured magnificently along with his characters.

A great story that leaves me wanting more.

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