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Summary

The time is World War II. The place is a brutal prison camp deep in Japanese-occupied territory. Here, within the seething mass of humanity, one man, an American corporal, seeks dominance over both captives and captors alike. His weapons are human courage, unblinking understanding of human weaknesses, and total willingness to exploit every opportunity to enlarge his power and corrupt or destroy anyone who stands in his path.

This enthralling masterpiece about life as a prisoner of war will keep listeners spellbound from the first chapter to the last.

©2015 Blackstone Audio, Inc. (P)2015 Blackstone Audio

What members say

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Ranks amongst the best classic historical novels.

If you could sum up King Rat in three words, what would they be?

This is about survival, but the strength of the human spirit surviving horrific conditions. The book focuses on relationships rather than gruesome horrors of war. There are comedic moments within the story and no doubt Clavell brought in elements of his own changi experiences during the war.

What other book might you compare King Rat to, and why?

It's pretty unique, it's certainly no Tenko.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

I love the aside scenes focussing on the women left behind. The effects of separation and not knowing how your loved ones are or whether they are alive, that was particularly poignant.

Any additional comments?

This is the first in clavells Asian series if read, as I am doing, in order of publication. A great read.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Mr
  • 23-09-17

Completely absorbing

A much leaner book than Clavells's other work, this reads like a matinee war movie with its wonderful cast of characters and capers. There is adventure, humour, and towards the end the book provides subtle reflections on the effects internment has had on the men. Simon Vance provides excellent narration as always.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Enjoyed this much better 2nd time around

I remember reading this 30 odd years ago, and not rating it particularly highly when compared to the other big 3 (Shogun, Tai-Pan, Noble House). However, I really enjoyed listening to this, and although remembering most of the story, found lots of new details. I had completely forgotten about the womens' stories, and they gave an interesting twist to the elements I had recalled. The narration was good - there was a very easy switching between the American, English and Australian accents, and all seemed quite authentic. I would certainly recommend this.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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So far my favourite of The Asian Saga

This has been my favourite book The Asian Saga so far. Well fleshed out characters and a brilliantly realised setting.

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A great noval

Loved it, gives an insight to a world I never thought off. Interesting while educating.

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King rat - bravo

Thoroughly enjoyed this story a great tale exposing the human frailties when survival comes hard.

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  • HA
  • 24-05-17

Excellent

Very believable depiction lf life in a Pow camp. Well narrated. Worth listening to.

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Bloody love James Clavell

Another awesome book by the master. Probably my favourite author and the narration is usually awesome. My fav is Tai Pan.

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  • Miko
  • Guildford, United Kingdom
  • 05-05-17

Very good

I enjoyed the earlier books in the Asian Saga and was also interested in this part of Singaporean history so decided to try this book though I'm not really a fan of prisoner of war type stories (or at least, I suppose what I thought of as prisoner of war type stories!) I needn't have been worried as the characters were engaging and it turned into the type of audiobook I couldn't put down. I found it VERY different from the earlier books in the series, more character than plot driven and definitely more of a stand alone novel (no need to have read or listened to the others at all). Also very well narrated; good enough that I know I'll listen again one day.

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Still great

Simple story but populated with such interesting characters. The plot moves along quickly, story never boring. I read the book years ago and watched the film too, but the audio version is read so well by Simon Vance, that this is probably my favourite version. Perfect for a long car journey

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  • Rishi Tiwari
  • 16-01-18

What a Book!

Now this my friends is a book, a story of a lifetime. The heartbreak is real and I suppose I too was a prisoner of the book and just as the prisoners were lost due to freedom so do I feel too.

And really got to hand it to Simon Vance on how to tell a story. Marvellous accents and punctuation. Can’t wait to find another book like this but I suppose it would be hard. It’s not called a Classic for nothing.