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The Rats Paperback – 23 Apr 1999

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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Pan Books; New edition edition (23 April 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330376144
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330376143
  • Product Dimensions: 17 x 10.9 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (380 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 585,473 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

James Herbert was not just Britain's number one bestselling writer of chiller fiction, a position he held ever since publication of his first novel, but was also one of our greatest popular novelists. Widely imitated and hugely influential, his twenty-three novels have sold more than fifty-four million copies worldwide, and have been translated into over thirty languages, including Russian and Chinese. In 2010, he was made the Grand Master of Horror by the World Horror Convention and was also awarded an OBE by the Queen for services to literature. His final novel was Ash. James Herbert died in March 2013.

Product Description

Book Description

Remember with fear . . .

From the Back Cover

A special 40th anniversary edition of the classic, bestselling novel that launched James Herbert's career

It was only when the bones of the first devoured victims were discovered that the true nature and power of these swarming black creatures - with their razor sharp teeth and the taste for human blood - began to be realized by a panic-stricken city. For millions of years man and rat had been natural enemies. But now for the first time - suddenly, shockingly, horribly - the balance of power had shifted . . .

'The effectiveness of the gruesome set pieces and brilliant finale are all its own' Sunday Times


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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Love Halloween! on 15 July 2011
Format: Paperback
Big black rats that gnaw eat and chew.

The first of the Rats trilogy, I tore through this book in a matter of days. The way it is written is very clever indeed, an easy read that is gripping with the advance of the Rats and the increase in frequency of attacks. No punches are pulled and the writing style is tight and compelling. After reading this you WILL want to read the rest of the series. Lair and Domain bring to the fore a truly apocalyptic series about what life would be like if we were not the dominant species anymore, if we were another creatures food source. Rats are very clever and skilled creatures, adaptable and powerful in packs. When the rats you face are bigger than dogs how quickly do you think you would be overwhelmed? How painful would it be to feel long sharp teeth peeling the skin from your body?

I have enjoyed this book many times. As a reader I will often re-visit a story I've enjoyed and it gives me great pleasure to disappear into the Rats trilogy.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on 15 Jan. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
There was a time was when a book lasted about 200 pages. Kids books were done and dusted in about 100 and only frustrated home counties horse women got to grips with the doorsteps that Jilly Cooper and Jackie Collins turned out.

James Herbert's first novel, would more likely be seen as a novella now: Short and sweet it was a punchy, in-your-face book that scared the proverbial out of me for more than one reason.

Herbert is the product of an East London upbringing. Born at the tail end of WW2, he grew up playing on bomb sites and derelict buildings, wasteland left to ruin. It is these locations that inspired The Rats.

The book deals with a growing number of rat attacks in London. That's a bit obvious really. Starting with the deaths of a vagrant and pest exterminator. Soon the capital is overrun with these deadly carriers of a new plague, whose bite means certain death. We are quickly introduced to Harris, a teacher in East London. The book then begins to follow him through the escalating attacks including one that devastates the school he works in.

For me the trouble is he bases that school on the one he used to attend - St. Aloysius in Highgate. The trouble being I went there. His description of the attack in familiar rooms, corridors and playgrounds is to me truly chilling, especially as I first read the book whilst I was still studying there.

There are subsequent sequels which are good, solid tales but for me it is his first, pacy adventure that holds the reader most - not the flabby written-for-a-film-deal turgid dross that he has produced recently (The Secret of Crickley Hall...Jeez).

Read this. It is a horror story without the unnecessary dressing and so much the better for it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Robert M Fall on 11 Jun. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
After reading The Rats it is easy to see why James Herbert was one of the world's leading horror novelists.
Right from the off you are thrown into a world where the rats have started their attacks which are explained in great detail.
You followers story of Harris the school teacher. Immersed into the horrible underworld of rat infested London you empathise with the characters, willing them on, even those who only play a bit part in the story. From start to finish this novel had me gripped. For his first novel this is an absolute winner, especially at the offer price of 99p.
Will recommend this to all who love a good horror novel.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mark Barlow on 3 Nov. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read this over Halloween and I was actually getting just a little chilled by the experience. Not frightened, certainly, but it made me look at rats in a different way.
In The Rats, Herbert's first published novel, a new breed of rat appears in London, larger and more ferocious with a taste for human flesh. London is attacked by the beasts and it is up to a select few to try to get rid of them.
I'm not scared of rats but there is something in the way that Herbert writes that makes it chilling. His description of people being bitten by the things, skin being torn from bones, eyes being eaten while the person struggles to survive. It was genuinely chilling in a way that horror fiction doesn't normally affect me. I'm quite anesthetized to that kind of horror but James Herbert who can influence me in that way.
The Rats is a short book that is entertaining and chilling in its descriptions. I enjoyed it immensely.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ben Kelly on 6 Jun. 2013
Format: Paperback
When I first read James Herbert's "The Rats" at the ripe old age of 13, I had no idea that the book itself was either Herbert's first book or that it was nearly 40 years old! It doesn't feel like a day over 5 years old to read, that's for damn sure!
This book has everything a spatter-punk horror novel should have: visceral sex; stratospheric levels of violence and the ability to get under your skin with the descriptions of the antagonists and the unbelievable acts they commit.
Herbert influenced the writing styles of a generation of horror authors, such as Richard Laymon; Shaun Hutson; Ramsay Campbell and Graham Masterton. This book is as potent and exhilerating to read now as it was 39 years ago. Buy it; read it; treasure it and thank me for it later! :)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sam Finnigan on 8 Aug. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The rats is a great horror book for young readers eager for blood, guts and other gory topics. The story line is different to usual books but incredibly effective. This is one of my favourite books and I would suggest it to anyone who asks me for a book on the genre of horror. I shall carry on reading many more books by James Herbert and I'm sure I will enjoy them as much as I did this.

The determined character of Harris towards not just the extermination of the mutant rats, but to his strong relationship with Judy makes the reader feel almost passionate about his feelings in life. Also, the death of many people and animals made him feel angry which made his perseverance towards the extermination of the rats stronger. It was so strong that he chose to stay and fight for the safety of his people. This shows great courage which is, in a way, a lesson in life.

The detail in this book caused me to be scared at some points, even giving me nightmares some nights. For the first time I have experienced many jump scares whilst reading this book. I would say this book is easily worth a 5-star rating for the detail and well thought story line. Well done James Herbert. RIP
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