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The Secret Commonwealth

The Book of Dust, Volume Two
Narrated by: Michael Sheen
Series: The Book of Dust, Book 2
Length: 19 hrs and 43 mins
Categories: Young Adults, Ages 11-13
5 out of 5 stars (1,937 ratings)

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Summary

It is 20 years since the events of La Belle Sauvage: The Book of Dust Volume One unfolded and saw the baby Lyra Belacqua begin her life-changing journey. 

It is seven years since listeners left Lyra and the love of her young life, Will Parry, on a park bench in Oxford’s Botanic Gardens at the end of the ground-breaking, best-selling His Dark Materials sequence. 

Now, in The Secret Commonwealth, we meet Lyra Silvertongue. And she is no longer a child.... 

The second volume of Sir Philip Pullman’s The Book of Dust sees Lyra, now 20 years old, and her daemon Pantalaimon, forced to navigate their relationship in a way they could never have imagined, and drawn into the complex and dangerous factions of a world that they had no idea existed. Pulled along on his own journey too is Malcolm: once a boy with a boat and a mission to save a baby from the flood, now a man with a strong sense of duty and a desire to do what is right.

Theirs is a world at once familiar and extraordinary, and they must travel far beyond the edges of Oxford, across Europe and into Asia, in search for what is lost - a city haunted by daemons, a secret at the heart of a desert, and the mystery of the elusive Dust.

The Secret Commonwealth is truly a book for our times - a powerful adventure and a thought-provoking look at what it is to understand yourself, to grow up and make sense of the world around you. This is storytelling at its very best from one of our greatest writers.

©2019 Philip Pullman (P)2019 Penguin Audio

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

I can not wait for the third installment.

If you loved his dark materials you will love this book.

Faster paced that La Belle Sauvage, and left on a cliff hanger. Lots of characters from his dark materials make an appearance and the story does require you to have read that trilogy first.

Michael Sheen is excellent reading this.

15 of 15 people found this review helpful

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Listened In One Go

MESMERISING.

Listened in my car on journey from Fort William to Berlin. We flew!

Narration is incredible.

23 of 25 people found this review helpful

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Supenseful and dark, skillfully narrated.

I felt Pullman was trying to tie together many difficult ideas in this addition to the chronicles of Lyra, and some connections were tenuous. This installment also marks a much more mature and socially dark change of direction, with a much more violent and adult array of themes. Nevertheless I enjoyed it greatly and continue to be emotionally invested in Lyra's world.

Michael Sheen is as astonishing and committed narrator, whose range of accents and tones brings the book vividly to life. He understands the material intimately and delivers it with passion and vigour. I'd love to hear more from him.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Exceptional performance

This is the best performance of an audiobook I've ever heard. Fabulous continuation of the story too.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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I really liked it but

I really liked it but it's an awfully long book to just set up for the third and final book.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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I don’t get what all the fuss is about! Did I listen to a different book?!

I have read his dark materials many times which I love; the characters, the plot, the magic... but this! I’m just not quite sure what this is! Firstly what happened to the Lyra we love, where’s the plot to keep us enthralled. I feel like i have just listened to over 19hrs of Michael Sheen telling me a story which doesn’t really go anywhere! For the love I bare for the first trilogy I will persevere and carry on with the next book but I do hope it leads somewhere good!

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Not up to standard

It really could be better. Shouldn't have brought Lyra back into the world without an amazing storyline.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Terrific Book. Great Narration!

This is a great book. Honestly though, it is really made so much better by the narration. Michael Sheen is terrific. I really wish that Philip Pullman would get him to narrate the original three books in His Dark Materials. They deserve it. Can’t wait for the next book!

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Good narration but awful story

As a fan of the His Dark Materials trilogy I was looking forward to this book and I also really enjoyed La Belle Sauvage. However I wish I could erase this particular book from my memory. The relationship between Malcom and Lyra is inappropriate with him initially lusting after her when she is his underage pupil he went from being a protective almost parental figure in the previous book to a creepy older man incredibly quickly. I can’t help but think Lyra deserved better than this.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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One star off for being half a book.

Abruptly ends without tying up any of the plot lines. I'm completely frustrated to think I might have to wait years to find out what happens next!

12 of 16 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Grace
  • Grace
  • 23-10-19

Expectations were high

After the volume one , the expectations were high, and so was the disappointment.
Still OK, but stretched out thinly, and narrator ruins it by exaggeration.
The end is missing,
I presume that sooner or later the story will continue in a Volume 3, but still, it feels like the the book ends midd sentence, leaving me disappointed.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Trex
  • 06-11-19

I Didn't Love It

Missing a lot of the charm shining from La Belle Sauvage

Not a great deal happens

Once upon a time not having a daemon was unthinkable now it's everywhere.

Lyra goes on a journey bouncing from one person who helps her to another

Political Commentary is very thinly veiling (The evil petrol company is called TP)

Malcolm's position is borderline disturbing

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  • Nikola Vranic
  • 08-11-19

Exquisite!

Once again, Philip Pullman masterfully told a story that I personally, waited patiently since “La Belle Sauvage”, and, I’ll be waiting patiently for the third book as well. I expected nothing less from one of the greatest writers of our time. You just have to read this book!

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-11-19

En god fortsättning av serien.

Jag är mycket road av även denna serie av herr Pullman. Denna rekommenderas varmt till beundrare av hans tidigare alster.
S.Nilsson

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Kate Hoole
  • 16-10-19

Thrilling, disturbing story breathtakingly well read.

A thrilling new chapter in the story of Lyra Silvertongue, and one quite unlike the ones that have come before, being far more akin to our world of struggle and political horrors and adult pain, as it must be, being the story of a young woman caught in events far broader and more evil than any she has encountered before. The vast cast is brilliantly given voice by Michael Sheen, probably the best audiobook narrator I have listened to. Every character has their own voice, every scene is described with tenderness, or humour or in breathtaking vivid action.
A triumph whose conclusion cannot come soon enough.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Holle TechNolle
  • 11-10-19

Excellent and long awaited

Devoured this audiobook in only a few sessions.
Can't wait to hear the next one.
Only flaw: A Pine Marten is a canivore, not a rodent.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful