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Paperback The Ruby in the Smoke: A Sally Lockhart Mystery Book

ISBN: 037584516X

ISBN13: 9780375845161

The Ruby in the Smoke: A Sally Lockhart Mystery

(Book #1 in the Sally Lockhart Series)

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Format: Paperback

Condition: Good

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Customer Reviews

6 ratings

The must read Foundation of the Sally Lockhart Series

Hey Ruby in the smoke is the first four books and the Sally Lockhart series. I really enjoyed observing the progression in character building and storytelling along the way for Pullman. Sally especially, though I believe it to be true in the case of all his characters and how they are written. There is such a comfortable familiarity with them that you feel you’ve been friends for years!

"Keep your powder dry"

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.

Pullman can do no wrong

I admit I am biased! Philip Pullman writes books that are readable, entertaining, educational and, sometimes, controversial. This one fits easily into the first three categories. In later books (his Dark Materials Trilogy) Pullman becomes more controversial and has opened himself up to criticism from various religious extremists who see his novels as an attack on thier own personal beliefs. The Ruby in The Smoke is NOT controversial (though doubtless some fundamentalists who have found fault with his later books will now be trolling through his earlier writing to try and find a politically-incorrect sentence they don't agree with and give it the big thumbs down).The heroine is 16 year-old Sally Lockhart and she lives in Victorian London. Her father has been murdered and her life is about to be turned upside down by a legacy she doesn't want. Pullman does an excellent job of describing Victorian London (the educational concept). He also makes an exceptional job of plotting and holding the reader's attention (the entertainment). In terms of writing, his style is clear, often amusing, and he has the ability to draw settings in just a few brief words (the readability).Pullman's London is full or rogues and scoundrels and vagabonds and neer-do-wells. And it seems they're all on the side of the opium dealers (who really DID exist in Victorian London). But Sally Lockhart draws loyalty from some borderline characters of her her own. People who are street-wise, and know how to help her through her problems.If you've not yet read a Philip Pullman book, start with this one and see how you get on. They're a lot of fun and they're extraordinarily well written.

A thrilling page-turner!

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!

This book ROCKS!

This is such a great book; I'd recomend it to ANYONE (non-readers: read it anyways!). The plot, starting with dozens of seemingly random threads, weaves its way in and out of Sally's life. I normally don't like pure mystery books, and I despise books set in historical times (ex: Victorian England), but this book is at the top of my list of favorites. When the story first starts out, Sally leads a normal life; as normal as life can be for a 16-year-old girl living alone! But her life changes abrubtly: imagine never knowing your mother, imagine your father mysteriously dying in a shipwreck, and imagine uttering a few simple words with so much power, a man who hears dies of shock and fear! I cannot emphasize enough how appealing this book is. Please, please READ THIS BOOK! You'll be glad you did.

A keeper - here's proof

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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