James Herbert has been the only horror writer that has grabbed my interest. This was from the very first book "THE RATS", which I read whilst working in Woolwich, and frequently passing those huge gasometers, more so when it was foggy. I wish to thank the vendor for their first class service, as this was a used book, that looks almost brand new. This was the last book that I needed to complete the whole horror book collection of James Herbert.
The Rats was a fearsomely successful debut, so much so that even after several other novels Herbert felt compelled to go back and write a sequel, but Lair suffered from a 'seen it all before' law of diminishing returns - in true Hollywood sequel fashion the action may have been bigger but it certainly wasn't better. Thankfully with Domain, Herbert's 3rd Rats novel, the author has come up with a new angle to work with - nuclear holocaust. The novel starts at a breathtaking pace and barely lets up - 5 nuclear bombs fall on London, and its an immediate battle for survival as the population struggles to get underground and away from the fallout. Totally unprepared, most of the inhabitants are killed, with London almost completely destroyed. The novel follows the fate of typical Herbert loner hero Culver, and government employee Dealey, who knows the location of a secret underground survival shelter but having been blinded in the nuclear blast needs Culver's help to get there. Meanwhile, the long dormant mutant rats seize their chance to emerge from hiding and start feeding on human flesh again... The addition of the nuclear holocaust material massively expands the scope of this novel, as even without the rats the cast face diverse threats from disease, floods, fire, rabid dogs and lawless gangs who roam the wasteland of a devastated London. The destroyed capitol makes for some startling imagery, with Domain containing the best descriptive writing Herbert has yet produced. Herbert gradually brings together a varied cast, with the novel peaking in an extended mid-book action sequence when their temporary bolthole is flooded, then attacked by rats. Aside from the books obvious hero it's difficult to tell who will survive, as the band is slowly whittled down by adversity, with death at every turn. Non-stop tension and action coupled with some startling imagery makes Domain not only the best of the Rats trilogy (though Herbert would later revisit the setting of Domain for his graphic novel The City), but Herbert's best book up to that point.
This is book three of the rat trilogy and I recommend reading them in sequence. The whole series is a brutal social commentary about London's governing body. The cover ups, the filth that breeds from negligence, the bad judgement of the establishment and those left to fight for survival. Written over 30 years ago the underlying narrative is as fresh and relative as it was when my parents read it.
The biggest frustration for me is the portrayal of women within the books, as helpless frail and silly, destitute or as baggage being transported with only one women standing out as being slightly self sufficient or educated. A sign of the times from when it was written, Herbert's underlying feelings towards women or another sub context of the social commentary? I'll let you decide.
The rats themselves are scary in their description, the narrative gripping and compelling, but the context of it being set in London (throughout the series) where I have lived made it or the more thought provoking and chilling. Do not be put off by the sub meanings underlying in the narrative, as the concept of the rats at face value are pretty horrific and terrifying enough.
I recommend this book to horror readers, those who can immerse themselves in apocalyptic survival and individuals who can relate to feeling like a small fish in a big sea of sharks.
This is the third book in Herberts Rats trilogy (The Rats being first and Lair second) and this time a new twist is added to the story: a nuclear holocaust.
The first few chapters are very gripping and brilliant as the book starts out with London being hit and destroyed by 5 nuclear bombs. Few lucky survivors manage to stay alive by getting to the shelter of the London Underground before they are destroyed the the bombs and their devestating aftermath.
Once the bombs are over and all has settled, some people return to the streets or come out of hiding, only to succumb to the horrific effects of radiation poisoning as after the bombs highly radioactive nuclear ashes fall and the streets wont be safe for at least four weeks.
Culver is protected by a pratically falling building from the damage by the bombs and manages to get into a governemnt shelter - along with a blind government agent who he happened to be with at the time - in the little time they have before they radioactive ashes fall to earth.
However, our survivours are not as lucky as they think as they find themselves being brutally attacked and killed by killer black rats, who have lived underground since the events of Lair, but now that their home has bee invaded they are back with a vengeance. Now nowhere is safe Culver and the other survivours as they cannot go above ground for the radiation and are trapped with the Rats underground.
I really loved this book and didnt want it to end. Even though it's almost 500 pages it is a quick read as it's so addictive you find it very difficult to put down.
Reccomended to fans of the rats books, James Herbert, or horror in general.
The Rats was a good short creepy, violent read. Lair, was a longer, gory more vicious sequel. Just when you thought that things couldn't get any better. Boom! Mr Herbert hits you with this awesome piece of post apocalyptic horror. As most of the reviews tell you, London is hit by several atomic bombs. Who dropped them? It isn't very clear, but what we do know is that our main characters are in for a very bad day. Imagine the sort of day John McClane has, but times it by ten and add in a few hundred dog sized rats, that will stop at nothing to rip tear and devour the unlucky survivors of this nuclear holocaust. As I mentioned, once the carnage of the bombs stops, the survivors will wish they had died in the blast. Like in the last two books, Herbert Rats are vicious creatures that have two things on there mind. Kill & eat, kill & eat, Kill & eat. And they will stop at nothing to wipe the humans from the face of the earth. Similar to the first two books are the deaths of many characters. I think at the start of this book, you are introduced to at least six or seven characters, who are all killed in many different horrible ways. Its a sigh of relief when we are introduced to two characters that finally survive. And similar to the last two books, Herbert creates characters that we love and characters that we hate. Most of them meet grisly fates, even the characters we love. People are burned, drowned, stabbed, crushed, shot and eaten. No-one is safe from Herbert's evil mind. And just like Lair and The Rats, anyone that does survive is usually missing a body part and are severally traumatized in some shape or form. The book is very action orientated more than horror orientated, but don't let this put you off, it still contains all of Herbert's traditional gore soaked writing. Domain is an excellent finish to a very good trilogy. Read the first two and then read this. You will not be disappointed. 14/12/12 :)
Domain, James Herbert, the master of horror. I've tried Dean Koontz, I've tried Stephen King - yuck, this book is the best and most haunting horror story I've read. It's a complex tale, weaving an old fashioned monster story with a very modern horror. Nuclear war. Perhaps, now, it seems an unlikely scenario as this was written during the cold war, but the terror and fear of such a war is created so perfectly you are dragged effortlessly into the confines of the tunnels, bunkers and claustrophobic fear. The mutant rats are so real, so mindless and relentless in their pursuit of food they dominate once the first horror is over. The way this book touches ordinary lives, follows the misery involved, is heartbreaking. English writers create urban horror in such a wonderful way, we need more terrifying reads that touch our lives forcing us to think about the darkness in a man's soul. Bring horror back to the UK through writers such as Shaun Hudson and Christopher Fowler.