The Amber Spyglass – extract

“Come down by the fire,” he sald .”There is food enough and plenty if you are hungry. Will, you began to speak about the knife.”

“Yes,” said Will, “and I thought it could never happen, but it’s broken. And the alethiometer told Lyra that you’d be able to mend it. I was going to ask more politely, but there it is: can you mend it, Iorek?”

“Show me.”

Will shook all the pieces out of the sheath and laid them on the rocky floor, pushing them about carefully until they were in their right places and he could see that they were all there. Lyra held a burning branch up, and in its light lorek bent low to look closely at each piece, touching it delicately with his massive claws and lifting it up to turn it this way and that and examine the break. Will marvelled at the deftness in those huge black hooks.

Then Iorek sat up again, his head rearing high into the shadow.

“Yes,” he said, answering exactly the question and no more.

Lyra said, knowing what he meant, “Ah, but will you, lorek? You couldn’t believe how important this is if we can’t get it mended then we’re in desperate trouble, and not only us”

“I don’t like that knife,” Iorek said. “I fear what it can do. I have never known anything so dangerous. The most deadly fighting machines are little toys compared to that knife; the harm it can do is unlimited. It would have been infinitely better if it had never been made.”

Back to the top

Listen to an audio extract