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Editor reviews

Veteran actor David Rintoul delivers a superb performance of best-selling British author James Herbert’s The Rats, the first book in the classic The Rats series. His rich voice and charismatic delivery heighten the exciting nature of this audiobook. London comes under attack and a state of emergency is declared. The problem? Rats. Swift, terrifying rodents wreaking havoc in the big city. No one is safe. As the death toll rises, it appears that evacuation may be the only option left - that or war.

Summary

Book One in Herbert's classic "rats" series. 

The terror begins. London is struck by an invasion. Women, children, old and young, none are safe from the deadly menace. The attacks are swift and sure, escape is impossible. A state of emergency is declared. Evacuation seems the only solution in the face of a growing panic and mounting death toll. War is declared on the public enemy number one. The Rats! 

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 bestseller 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.

©1974 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 members say

Average customer ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Dave
  • United Kingdom
  • 17-03-14

As good as I remember....

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

I first read the The Rats probably about 25 years ago, it was the first James Herbert novel I read and it still stand up to the ravages of time. It's quite a short simplistic book, however the subject matter is still pretty scary to most. It's fast paced and graphic but Herbert still takes time to build the characters even if they are potential next victims. Some great references to 70's Britain, unfortunately the victims could not text or tweet, so a phonebox will have to do. Overall a great audiobook.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Epic

Mr Herbert at his best.Love all his books but a revisit to The Rats had to be done.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Very scary!

What did you like most about The Rats?

An exciting story that grips you from the start.

What does David Rintoul bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

He really builds the tension and breaths life into the characters.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Don't worry, they are only rats!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Teenage Kicks That Are Hard To Beat!

Like many I still remember first encountering James Herbert and his books as a teenager. Scary stuff, genuine horror scenes and a guaranteed nightmare or two. Seeing these offered as audiobooks I couldn't resist trying one out again. Certainly as nostalgia this one worked incredibly well and David Rintoule struck just the right tone for me especially given the time period they were set and written in.

Herbert though was never what I would call a literary author, his writing was always direct and to the point. Very much a blunt trauma style rather than surgical precision. What you get is some fine, scary stuff that I think is a thrill to read playing as it does on our primal fears.

As I said, as a bit of nostalgia and as a set of very scary scenes it works splendidly but it's also worth mentioning that this is the first of many books from this author. So taken for what it is, it works splendidly. If, however you are after a finely polished and crafted tale with great structure and serious character development then it's probably going to fall short.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Thoroughly enjoyed.

This was my first audible and i thoroughly enjoyed it. Enjoyed the Narrator, kept me company and made my long walks home more exciting. looking forward to the next one!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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the rats

loved it and can not wait to read the next part

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A very good story and can't wait to listen to the

loved it, can't wait for the next book, so colourful a story, and well read.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Like a zombie novel, but with rats.

Yes, this book has many of the features of a zombie story with rats in place of zombies and that's a good thing. We all know that there is no such thing as zombies, but rats are real. Rats are something that we seem to have an almost instinctive disdain for and has such a special place in our psyche is so much more poignant and than zombies. The very idea of being eaten alive by rats is somehow more disgusting to us than some make believe monster, I say this as a fan of zombie book films and games.

The story itself is extremely well written and imaginative and the narration is perfect. I think this book is a horror classic and should be read by all die hard fans of the genre.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Good story, well narrated

What made the experience of listening to The Rats the most enjoyable?

I enjoyed the novel a lot and this was enhanced by David Rintoul's excellent reading of it.

Who was your favorite character and why?

I didn't really have a favourite character as they were all read really well.

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

This was my first time listening to David Rintoul and I enjoyed the way he gave the characters depth in the story

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

As this is a shorter audiobook I did manage to listen to it in one sitting but the fact that it isn't overly long doesn't take away the fact that is a great story.

Any additional comments?

The Rats is book one of a three book series and I look forward to the second & third instalments even though I have read the actual novels.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Thank You James Herbert (RIP)

Loved It And Read Perfectly By David Rintoul. I Will definitely Follow On The Series

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Kim Venatries
  • 04-11-13

Who Will Survive?...The Rats!

What did you love best about The Rats?

The story captures the mood and feel of London and its suburbs about 30 years ago. A bit dated but as much as you would think. The story is actually pretty well written with realistic characters. Not overly gory but no one is safe. I will definitely get Parts 2 and 3.

Have you listened to any of David Rintoul’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I'm not sure but he does a a good job narrating The Rats so I am sure he did a fine job on other books.

If you could take any character from The Rats out to dinner, who would it be and why?

Considering that many of the characters ended up AS dinner I wouldn't want to say.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Grace
  • 13-12-13

You're right there running from the rats!

If you could sum up The Rats in three words, what would they be?

Worst nightmare ever!

What other book might you compare The Rats to and why?

The closest book I have is,"The Colony" by A.J. Colucci because its another when nature goes wrong book!

Which character – as performed by David Rintoul – was your favorite?

I found the main character extremely brave and very capable! If I were in that situation I would have wanted him keeping me safe!

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Mostly I just cringed!

Any additional comments?

I'm in the process of listening to it now and all I can say is if I'm ever in charge of telling a campfire story I'm bringing this! (I'll get permission first!)

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jim "The Impatient"
  • 29-10-14

THE VERMIN RIVER

SHUN HIS TORCH DOWN THE STAIRWAY
This is British, but not overly British. He does use the often never used word in London, THE, even in the title. The Brits do not go to The University or The Hospital, the just go to University or Hospital, if it fits in their sedule, that is.

I was expecting to not like this and I ended up loving it. I had read Haunted and thought it too slow. This started fast, right out of the gate. The action is fairly constant. I would have liked to have had more mad scientist stuff, but it fits well with the writing of the time. Most of the action is unique and will keep your interest. plus you have the added sometimes comical, keep an upper lip and don't get rattled. I say old boy, I see no reason to get upset, (as a horde of rats are breaking down the door.) Those reviewers that you use the training wheels that audible has, are often asked, Would You Listen to This in One sitting. I did listen in one day. The only problem was around lunch. There are plenty of scenes with half eaten corpses and rats are just creepy doing nothing, much less eating people. Maybe, not real gory compared to what Killborn (Konrath) writes, but for the time it had to be fairly shocking. I was also shocked by the amount of sex in it. It is obvious that Stephen King was inspired by Herbert's writing.

It is not perfect, in the middle around chapter 9 and 10, I was thinking not another rat attack, but after that, he has some rat attacks that were worth exploring, I know I will think twice before going to a theatre again.

I am looking forward to book 2, Liar.

Narrator does a great job.

14 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Erlend Svendsen
  • 18-05-18

Heavy on the gore, light on the story

If you're looking for gore, then look no further. This novel is all about the gore, babies are being eaten, fingers bitten off, and so on and so forth. My trouble with this story is that there is no clear protagonist to focus on. There is a teacher central to the story, but there is not enough to make you care. Long passages (mostly centered on sex) are dedicated to people you know are going to die. I, for my part, didn't care about these characters at all. You get their life story and then they die, to the story they add nothing.
This is a cheap B-movie in the form of a novel. The narration is ok though.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Matthew S. Hill
  • 13-01-17

Wow! Let's get right to the action! Awesome!

This story is nasty great 1970's style horror from beginning to end.

Great character development with full side story lines and then James Herbert uses his Rats to slaughter some of them as if they were just more gristle for his blood thirsty appetite to digest.
I was expecting James Herbert's writing to be more involved in the beauty of the language... nope, it's a beautifully written gore fest.
FUN!!!

David Rintoul reads the story with extreme passion!

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Simon Wood
  • 11-06-16

A life changing book of my youth

What did you love best about The Rats?

I read this book when I was 12 and it blew me away. It made me a lifelong fan of James Herbert. Some 35yrs later the book is still solid, somewhat of an unusual story structure but still an enjoyable read. Thanks for all the stories, Jim.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • coreybeth
  • 30-10-13

boring, what a disappointment

What a waste of time & credit. It really had potential too. The author spends WAY too much time on developing secondary characters that all die. Why bother. Slow, no horror here. Next...................

1 of 12 people found this review helpful