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Portent Hardcover – 1 Apr 1993

4.1 out of 5 stars 68 customer reviews

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Hardcover, 1 Apr 1993
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: BCA; First Edition edition (1 April 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0771040717
  • ISBN-13: 978-0771040719
  • Product Dimensions: 3.2 x 15.9 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,572,784 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Book Description

Another classic James Herbert chiller, reissued by Pan

About the Author

James Herbert is not just Britain's No. 1 bestselling writer of chiller fiction, a position he has held since publication of his first novel, but is one of our greatest popular novelists, whose books are sold in thirty-five other languages, including Russian and Chinese. Widely imitated and hugely influential, his twenty novels have sold more than 50 million copies worldwide. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 15 Sept. 2003
Format: Paperback
Yet another brilliantly written book by Herbert. Once again his focus is on the future mankind may bring upon itself by it's blatant disregard for the world we live in. After thousands of years of mankind's abuse of mother earth, she finally rebells. Yet even mother earth is reluctant to rid itself of it's torturers completely; there are a selected few who are shown the signs and the way mankind and mother earth can live in harmony. But will the powers that be take any notice of these lone voices or will they continue to avoid the obvious signs that something is badly wrong.
The book might as well have been glued to my fingers as I couldn't put it down!
A must read for all Herbert followers.
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Format: Kindle Edition
It isn`t long since I read ONCE..., Herberts recent fairy book, and I quite liked it. Now, I`ve jumped into his back catalogue and read PORTENT, an apocalyptic horror story, where the weather is the main antagonist.

All across the world the weather is going crazy; there are hurricanes and cyclones, huge tsunami, unseasonable droughts and snowstorms; volcanoes too are erupting everywhere and earthquakes rock the planet. Before each of these disasters unfolds, strange earth-lights, portents, are seen, but few see the portents and live.

James Rivers is a climatologist who sees a portent while in a plane. He hits bad weather and the plane crashes. Most of his crew die, but he survives, although with a very painful leg injury. During his convalescence from work, he gets involved with Hugo Poggs, an old eccentric who is clinging to Lovelock`s ideas of Gaia, a living mother Earth. Within Poggs` family are two young children who have some kind of pyschic ability, and they link up with an old hermit in Scotland who holds the key to what is happening with the climate. Also, they are antagonised in their dreams by Mama Pitie, a huge grotesque black woman from New Orleans. Born with the power to heal, Mama Pitie is the matriarch of a religious cult, but behind closed doors she enjoys killing and necrophillia; Mama Pitie senses that the children are somehow the key to the weather problem, and, perhaps unreasonably, sets off for England to kill them. Meanwhile, the weather gets worse; geysers erupt all over the world, and hurricanes descend to make a truly stormy atmosphere.

I liked PORTENT. It is good to read a book where the weather is the bad guy, and Herbert describes its ferocity very well.
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Format: Paperback
No, Chris Hall, you are not alone in giving this two stars. This novel was originally published in 1992 and, to me, reads like it. Had I read it at the time I might have found it better than I did but, having read many other books containing an end of the world as we know it scenario, it felt decidedly lame. Which is a great shame as James Herbert is very good at making the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. Not all the time but this book neither worried nor enthralled me. There is very little sense of genuine atmosphere, or dread, here and I didn't care enough about the characters to be concerned about what may eventually happen to them.

The story is basically very simple. A climatologist suffers an unusual accident, the world is in the grip of major natural disasters, there are two unusual children who can help the world and a nasty Louisianian priestess who wishes them ill. Even the descriptions of the natural disasters are lacklustre. No, I wouldn't particularly want to be caught in an earthquake in London but he doesn't even manage to make that sound particularly horrible. For a writer who has given such graphic descriptions of rats eating babies, dogs crawling along corridors on the stumps of their legs (see - I remember all of those very well and I no longer even have the books) he does a very poor job here.

It is certainly not a horror story. I read "The Rats", "The Dark" and "The Fog" at an impressionable age and can recall even now how unnerved they made me feel then. Indeed, I can still remember a great many of the details, as written above. I will struggle to remember anything much about this and certainly won't be having any sleepless nights. At least I'm not in a total minority. I finished it but only because I try to make a point of finishing books, just to see how it pans out. Had I lost the book in the middle of reading it it wouldn't have bothered me.
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By A Customer on 22 April 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
After reading this book you will panic! The events, while perhaps fanciful, are definitely some of the most graphically described and richly portrayed of any from books of a similar ilk. So much so, that you can easily envisage elements of this story being fact rather than fiction. The characters' descriptions are great - each one is really brought to life, even those who appear for mere moments; and I can guarantee you will visualise people you know as some of them! (Particularly the lead character's work colleagues!!) The plot unfolds gently and intriguingly throughout and the central story is evenly broken up to a manageable pace by some excellent sideline events that come together as one dramatic and enjoyable whole.
There are no clumsy misplaced speed-ups - the pace is only altered when the writer emphasises the dramatic tension, which is so well done that your blood will chill! And you are thrown into the action so there is no "when will it get to a good bit?" feeling.
James Herbert captures the imagination and throws you into a world chaotic, savage, but strikingly real, leaving you feeling very much in-the-moment, the savagery only serving to increase the beauty once you know why it is that the events are happening.
The style is excellent, the descriptive writing when introducing new characters and locations is second to none, and the moments of tension will grasp you leaving your heart racing.
Though regarded as horror, this book is much, much more. It does have genuinely mouth-drying moments, but there is also an under current of love, hope and heroism - though none of which are in over-kill. The cleverly thought up fictional side is well balanced with enough perfect imagery and factual base to invoke dread and more than a little concern for the world around you, but above all it will complete capture you - "Portent" is a thrilling and enthralling, very, very clever book.
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