From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Northern Lights is the first novel in the His Dark Materials trilogy, written by the British novelist Philip Pullman and published in 1995. The superficial resemblance of protagonist Lyra Belacqua's alethiometer (depicted on the book's cover) to a large compass caused the North American publishers of Northern Lights to retitle the book The Golden Compass. The Golden Compasses was an early proposal for the name of the trilogy (instead of His Dark Materials), taken from Milton's Paradise Lost, where it refers to the drawing instrument, rather than the navigation instrument. Northern Lights won the Carnegie Medal for children's fiction in the UK in 1995, and in 2007 it was selected by judges of the Carnegie Medal as one of the ten most important children's novels of the past 70 years. The Observer cites it as number 98 of the 100 best novels. In recent times there has been some controversy about the book's message regarding religion. Pullman wrote the book as a response to the Chronicles of Narnia series written by C. S. Lewis.