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  • ‘48

  • By: James Herbert
  • Narrated by: Robert Slade
  • Length: 11 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (190 ratings)

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Editor reviews

With this riveting work of science fiction, James Herbert imagines an alternate history in which Hitler detonates a lethal biological weapon, unleashing an apocalyptic plague known as the Blood Death. The story follows American pilot Hoke, one of the few surviving humans with a natural immunity to the illness. Hoke is chased through war-ravaged London streets by Nazi thugs, desperate to steal his blood so they might escape a slow death from the deadly disease. In his drawling, husky baritone, actor Robert Slade personifies the rugged Hoke, weary and jaded from life on the run, but tough as nails nevertheless. Slade matches the action and suspense of Herbert’s thriller, the urgency in his voice ebbing and flowing as Hoke defies his pursuers time and again.

Summary

The running man. In 1945, Hitler unleashes the Blood Death on Britain as his final act of vengeance. Hoke, an American pilot and one of a tiny minority with a rare blood group unaffected by the deadly disease, has survived alone among the debris and the dead of London for three years. Now, in '48, a slow-dying group of Fascist Blackshirts believe their only hope is a complete transfusion of blood from one of Hoke's kind.

Ever more desperate as their deaths approach, they're after his blood. Running for his life, Hoke is rescued by other survivors and together they're pursued in a spectacular but deadly chase through London's ravaged streets and historic landmarks, reaching a dramatic and explosive climax at the top of Tower Bridge.

James Herbert was one of Britain’s greatest popular novelists and our #1 best-selling writer of chiller fiction. Widely imitated and hugely influential, he wrote 23 novels which have collectively sold over 54 million copies worldwide and been translated into 34 languages. Born in London in the forties, James Herbert was art director of an advertising agency before turning to writing fiction in 1975.

His first novel, The Rats, was an instant best seller and is now recognised as a classic of popular contemporary fiction. Herbert went on to publish a new top ten best-seller every year until 1988. He wrote six more bestselling novels in the 1990s and three more since: Once, Nobody True and The Secret of Crickley Hall. Herbert died in March 2013 at the age of 69.

©1996 James Herbert (P)2013 Audible Ltd

Critic reviews

“Herbert was by no means literary, but his work had a raw urgency. His best novels, The Rats and The Fog, had the effect of Mike Tyson in his championship days: no finesse, all crude power. Those books were best sellers because many readers (including me) were too horrified to put them down.” (Stephen King)
“There are few things I would like to do less than lie under a cloudy night sky while someone read aloud the more vivid passages of Moon. In the thriller genre, do recommendations come any higher?” (Andrew Postman, The New York Times Book Review)
“Herbert goes out in a blaze of glory” ( Daily Mail)

What listeners say about ‘48

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  • Overall
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I so wanted to like this book but...

What did you like best about '48? What did you like least?

The story had great premise, but dwelt far too much and far too much on decaying bodies. Plus the story line has some glaring holes in it about survival of the 'plague'

What was most disappointing about James Herbert’s story?

It was all a bit dull. I did persevere until the end, and I really wanted to like the book, as I think it was James Herbert's last book.

Have you listened to any of Robert Slade’s other performances? How does this one compare?

This is the first Robert Slade performance I've listened to, and thought he did a good job with rather poor material.

3 people found this helpful

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Utterly banal...

Please don't waste your credit on this. I read James Herbert when I was very young and adored The Rats. There's no doubt that he was once the master of the schlocky chiller but I think he went off the boil around 20 years ago. I purchased '48 as the story seemed intriguing and having read The Luminaries I was after a brainless thrill ride. But all I got was the brainless bit. It's shocking stuff like this even gets published. I don't want to speak ill of the dead and I'm sure some people adore Mr. Herbert's more recent offerings. But I honestly think you'd have to be lobotomised to get to the end of this "novel".

5 people found this helpful

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loved it

I loved. the book and the narration was perfect. really brought it the grim life.

2 people found this helpful

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love this book

love this book. the first time i read it was a paperback and it was so well done that i was able to see the events clearly in my minds eye as if i was in the book itself. the audio version is just as good if not better. this book needs to be made into a movie.

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Didn't like it.

I love Herbert's books, but in my opinion this is the worst of them.
Narrated in the style of a 50's American gumshoe just made it worse.

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favourite book ever

this book is my favourite book of all time can't recommend enough give it ago

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Not a favourite

Struggled to finish this one. I've loved many other James Herbert book but not so keen on this. personal choice thats all

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pure phantasy

well written keeps you spell bound great narrative great to listen to on the train brilliant 🦻

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Cracking narration

Perfectly fine story, wonderfully narrated. Accents were spot on! One of the best audiobook I've listened to

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48 great story

loved it, great to read my favourite books again.
very well done, definitely will suggest Audible to family and friends

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Profile Image for Illini Hillel
  • Illini Hillel
  • 04-04-16

Wonderful dystopian story

I read 48 as a teenager after visiting London. because of that story I came back again to see the city in a whole new way. Herbert became one of my favorite novelists. Hearing the book almost 15 years later with Slade's talent makes the book so much more powerful.

2 people found this helpful