When Lyra and her daemon Pantalaimon (a pet animal that is an extension of her very self) decide to spy on her uncle, the intimidating Lord Asriel appears to be flummoxed by the little street-smart girl. She, the bane of the elders of Jordan College, has no idea that she will witness an attempted murder — and even less that she about to embark on a quest unlike anything even Lyra's over-active imagination could conjure.
Raised at a priestly college, Lyra has developed into a wild child. When she finds herself apprenticed to the elegant Mrs. Coulter, she rebels, even more when she comes into possession of a strange device called the alethiometer, a "golden compass" that reads the truth using a series of spinning symbols.
But truth is elusive and has Lyra and her daemon running for their lives. And someone is stealing the children.
Soon the game becomes one of survival as Lyra uses all her wiles to overcome obstacles such as blizzards, bears, witches and the undescribable.
Review by D.