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The Ruby in the Smoke
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The Ruby in the Smoke [Unabridged] [Audible Audio Edition]

by Philip Pullman (Author), Anton Lesser (Narrator)
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (182 customer reviews)

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Editorial Reviews

An unabridged reading of Philip Pullman's nerve-shattering thriller, set in the murky streets and opium dens of Old London.

When 16-year old Sally's father drowns in suspicious circumstances, she is left to fend for herself in Victorian London. Although she doesn't know it, she is already in terrible danger.

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Product Details

  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 6 hours and 33 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Audible Studios
  • Release Date: November 11, 2008
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0054YRJBK
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (182 customer reviews)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
91 of 93 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A keeper - here's proof May 17, 1998
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
It's been nearly ten years since I first read this book... I'm 22 now, and it remains one of my favorites. Pullman tells the story of a desperate teenage girl's search for the truth about her father's death without pulling any punches or talking down to his audience (which is probably between the ages of twelve and fifteen or so); there are allusions to sex and violence, but they are not explicitly descriptive. The novel's mystery is intricate and pervasive, but almost as important to its texture is the look we are given at how several lonely and unhappy people become a family for each other, even in the face of danger and loss. Sally Lockhart is a wonderful protofeminist heroine, whose bravery, intelligence, and independence should inspire most readers; the secondary characters, such as Fred and Jim, are charming and more than up to the challenge of being Sally's associates. The conclusion is stunning, and readers who enjoy this novel will want to read the other books about Sally and her friends (Shadow in the North is particularly heartrending). I find the Sally books generally more emotionally-involving than _His Dark Materials_, but the high quality of the writing remains constant. I still make a point of picking up Pullman's newest books when they come out, and _The Ruby in the Smoke_ is the book that started it all.
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58 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Keep your powder dry" July 10, 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
After being blown away by "His Dark Materials," I went questing for more books by Philip Pullman. I found Sally Lockhart.
"Ruby in the Smoke" is a very different style of book. There is no fantasy in this series, no armored bears or magical implements. This is straight historical mystery, set in England of 1872. Sally Lockhart is our young hero. She is an amazingly well-rounded character, at times a plucky, spirited lass, at times a shy young woman. She is looking for facts about the death or her Father. Someone else is looking for her, and her connection to the lost Ruby of Agrapar.
While this book does not have the sense of wonder and captivation of "His Dark Materials," it does posses it's own strengths. Pullman has gone very deep into accuracy and social relevance with this trilogy. The story is as much Sally Lockhart's battle with women's conventions of the time, as it is with the villains of the series. The story is very dark, and the opium trade and the Indian Mutiny are all major story points. (In fact, anyone taking up "Ruby in the Smoke" would do well to review this historical events.)
A very good, intelligent book. I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series.
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as His Dark Materials, but still gripping November 9, 2000
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This trilogy is the story of Sally Lockhart, a young woman who overcomes obstacles and enemies to build a life in Victorian England, where young ladies should be seen and not heard. In this book, she discovers the true story of who her father is, and how her mother died. She will also hunt for a fabulous ruby, and travel through the lower depths of the East End of London.
I think that this is the best of this trilogy, although the last book is very good. The mystery is very compelling, and Pullman is brilliant at drawing you into the world of Victorian England. This will have you on the edge of your seat! Sally Lockhart is an attractive character, and takes everything that is thrown at her by Pullman in good heart. I definitely wanted to read the whole series after this one.
I came to this story after The Golden Compass and the Subtle Knife. I think that His Dark Materials is much richer and deeper than this series, but maybe the Sally Lockhart books are easier for a younger audience to read. They are set in a more familiar world, and the stories do not interwind. At the same time, Philip Pullman is a cut above most children's storytellers, as his characters and stories are more original and modern - Sally is definitely a feminist heroine. Will definitely keep this one for my daughter to read.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A thrilling page-turner! October 23, 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I probably would have never read any of Philip Pullman's books if it had not been for my language arts teacher, who handed me a copy of the Ruby in the Smoke when I asked to borrow a reading book that I was supposed to have for an upcoming class but didn't. I had tried reading The Tin Princess last year but didn't get very far at all. It was confusing, being the last book of a trilogy and not very interesting at the beginning . . . But the Ruby in the Smoke caught my attention right away. It introduced me to pretty, determined Veronica (Sally) Lockhart and cruel, greedy Mrs. Holland in a fast-paced world of pirates and convicts all wrapped up tightly around a mystical ruby and the opium trade . . . This is the best mystery I have read yet and you can bet that I will give the Tin Princess another try and take up the entire Sally Lockhart Trilogy! Don't risk missing this thrilling story like I nearly did!
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39 of 45 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but don't expect "His Dark Materials" November 27, 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Straightforward teen historical mystery, as Sally Lockhart must overcome her orphanhood, her enemies, and Victorian ideas about what is and is not suitable, to figure out the mystery surrounding the death of her father.
Pullman is a powerful storyteller, and one can feel that engine purring along just below the surface of this book. Yet there is not the depth as in the "His Dark Materials" series. He's not making any major point (other than, perhaps, that Victorian England could have used a good dose of feminism). Perhaps Pullman had not yet realized that teens could be told a story with adult ideas and concepts. Still, there are flashes of brilliance.
Pullman's Victorian England is well-researched, but there is the occaisonal gaffe, as when he has a character in a cheap dockside pub drink a GLASS of gin--it would almost certainly have been made of pewter, due to breakage and the expense of proper glassware.
I'm always a bit disappointed in historical novels when characters introduce concepts from later times. Sally does so, both with feminism, and with introducing marketing concepts unheard of in Victorian times. In a way, she acts like a character in a time travel novel, and it is a bit grating.
Worth reading to trace the development of Pullman's writing.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A fun read
A good read, strong women character, the plot never drags. Kind of a combination of Dickens, Sherlock Holmes, and Nancy Drew. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Theresa May
2.0 out of 5 stars I don't like swearing in children's books.
I know Mr Pullman thinks he is superior to such writers as Tolkien, CS Lewis, Enid Blyton... who didn't need to use swearing... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Fillyjonk
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it
A gift for my niece who loved it - but I had read it previously and loved it too. An unforgettable story and never ages!
Published 16 months ago by L Kirby
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun book, great for young reader
Riveting, exciting and creative. My 10 yo loves it. Pullman is a great writer. This is complex enough to be a bit challenging, but light enough to be fun and engaging.
Published 18 months ago by mteague
1.0 out of 5 stars I started it... but didn't finish.
I read the preview, and was intrigued by the plot, but wasn't sure it was enough to get through all the extra fluff he puts in there. Read more
Published 19 months ago by mpj7
5.0 out of 5 stars A beguiling story of beauty, poise...
Phillip Pullman presents a beguiling story of beauty, poise, ruby, stolen opium, craftiness, the British Seal, and chilling deaths. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Yvette Sheron Mingo
4.0 out of 5 stars Unfathomable Adventure
Phillip Pullman is the author of several bestselling books. His book called "The Times" named Pullman one of the 50 greatest British writers since 1945. Read more
Published 21 months ago by JM
5.0 out of 5 stars fun and entertaining
Its a very entertaining story! I couldnt stop reading until the end.
It's for everybody not just kids. The characters are very differents and attracting.
Published 21 months ago by Claudia Schneider
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book! YA? Well....
This is the first of Philip Pullman's Victorian mystery novels featuring Sally Lockhart. She is 16-years-old in this story, her father has just died in a shipwreck, and she finds... Read more
Published on September 12, 2012 by Nash Android
4.0 out of 5 stars A terrific adventure!
This is the first Sally Lockhart story that I have read, and it probably won't be the last.

In the beginning, it was difficult for me to believe in the strength and... Read more
Published on May 29, 2012 by Lance Mitchell
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