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The Rats (Rats #1)

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  7,295 ratings  ·  312 reviews
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 realised by a panic-stricken city. For millions of years man and rats had been natural enemies. But now for the first time - suddenly, shockingly, horribly - the bala ...more
ebook, 300 pages
Published May 1st 2011 by Pan Publishing (first published 1974)
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The Rats is pure horror goodness. Unrelenting, unapologetic horror. Babies, puppies, giraffes, nothing is safe from the teeming mass of mutant rats that are terrorizing London. 5 squirming stars.
First a bit of background to my penchant for Herbert’s novels… Back in the days of my youth, when I was about thirteen years old (circa 1984 or thereabouts!), I had to do a book review for my English class. A year or two previously I had found a copy of Herbert’s ‘The Jonah’ at a jumble sale, and attracted by its freaky cover, I bought it. It languished on a shelf for the next couple of years, until I decided it would make an excellent book to review. My English teacher took exception to this id ...more
My rating is based upon the general effect this book had on me as a child (I shouldn't really have read it so young) and upon my subsequent reading habits, and not upon the book's literary merits, assuming it has any.

Summer, 1974 (possibly 1975): I went to the Botanic Gardens to see if any of my mates were there, and they weren't. So, I want to the café to get an ice cream, but being a 10-year old bookworm decided to look at the novels in the rotary racks they had just inside the door. I would h
Alexander Dan
Read this for Genre. Lacking in horror and excitement. Lackluster descriptions of the rats, to say the least. Harris, main protagonist, is dull and drawn into saving London for no valid reason it seems. The book is incredibly sexist. His girlfriend is nothing more than a cutout that the main character has sex with and cooks him meals. Twice on the book he commands her to make him a meal, rest of the time he just tells her about the amazing dangers he experienced fighting the rats.

Every other fe
James Herbert's debut horror novel about killer mutant rats terrorizing London may sound somewhat corny, but this slim novel shows an early work but one of the true masters of modern horror fiction. Haven't heard of him? Pity, because until untimely passing last year, Herbert was Britain's top chiller author (think UK's Stephen King) and one of the best ever, period.

The time is the mid 70's and a schoolteacher becomes embroiled in a desperate search by authorities to find and exterminate these l
Jakey Gee
Hey, this was just for fun and out of nostalgic curiosity (he lived in the village next to ours when I was a child). And I liked JH whenever I read him being interviewed.

Kiiiiiiind of interesting as a 1970s museum piece at a superficial level. Socially, it's a point in history where East London still spells WW2 bomb damage, Ronan Point high rises and docks. There's a level of opportunistic sleeze about the relationships that feels very Jimmy Savile-era. And a gay man gets a pretty progressive-f
Alan Toner
The Rats is, without doubt, the BEST horror novel I have ever read in my whole life. I first read this classic novel by James Herbert way back in 1975, and just could not put it down. I honestly cannot voice enough superlatives to describe this truly fantastic shocker of a book. It was just one big roller coaster ride of sheer, unbridled, entertaining horror, from start to finish. I enjoyed it that much that I actually finished it in one whole day!

The Rats is truly the horror novel template whic
Aric Cushing
Totally satisfying! Feels like an 80's B Movie with all the perks of pure action. A few great scenes include an attack on the underground (in England) tube, a school, and the eventual evacuation of London to kill the nasty beasties! If you like horror films from the 80's, this is a must read.
Old school horror fun! This was the kind of book that I read as a teen in the early 80s that caused me to become a life long fan of horror.
A rollicking good time. :)
Jack Ferreira
If this book had been written nowadays I'd have given it 1 star. But since this was written in the mid 70's I'll cut it some slack.

I have to say though, everything in it is pretty bad.

The characters were awful. He did something really annoying which was overdeveloping the minor characters (aka the characters that pop up randomly, have 6 or 7 pages of backstory and then die straight away) and underdeveloping the main characters. I literally know nothing of the main character except where he w
Mika Lietzén
The titular rodents attack in The Rats (1974), the first novel by British horror stalwart James Herbert. Both a classic of the genre and surprisingly modern for its time, The Rats rises above common B-movie trappings due to the quality of Herbert's writing. It's not Shakespeare, of course, but writing good pulp horror doesn't require a bard, it calls for a different sort of writer.

The tale is set in the familiar mold of H.G. Wells' The War of the Worlds (1898); a singular event blooms into a soc
One positive you can always get out of these kind of books is that they don't pretend to be the "literally" type and as a result they are a quick read. But one major drawback that books like these suffer is that they are racist, misogynous by nature and more often than not are filled with cardboard characters.

Ok, understood. All of the above follies could be blamed on the era in which "The Rats" was written. But one thing that I could not understand was that the protagonist (Harris) did not eve
That was gruesomely fun.
London is suddenly besieged by giant rats that start attacking and devouring humans! (it could happen folks…..). The book is really short (les than 200 pages) which is one of the things that I think makes it work. There is no attempt at high brow literature it is just a fast moving plot with gory high spots along the way. If you like horror books this kind of thing is for you.
Lawrence Windrush

Against a backdrop of Seventies violence, terrorism, political unrest, rampart inflation and punk rock bursts this novel kicking and screaming. It's a rollercoaster orgy of sex and violence, intense vivid set pieces, it did for rats what Jaws did for sharks.
Always remember you are only ten feet away from a rat.
The Rats, by James Herbert, was recommended to me by the internet ramblings of low-budget horror author Tim Curran. He has a blog of sorts where he rushes through the trash and detritus of old horror for our amusement and his infectious enthusiasm prompted me to plunge willingly into a schlocky horror-fest nearly 15 years older than I am.

Like a lot of older books, this feels more like a curio from a bygone age rather than something I'd willingly sit down and read on it's own merits. It's gleeful
A fun little horror read, only 197 pages a lot of these taken up by graphic descriptions of people being eaten alive by rats.
The human interactions are not greatly written, a lot of "he did this and then she did that" but lets face it, you don't read this sort of thing for the conversations people have.
I like how we are introduced to each of the people before they are attacked by the rats. Privy to a few short minutes of their lives and what they are thinking before the rats come. It does give
Here we have Herbert's first novel, The Rats, which became the founder of the splatter punk horror genre. Herbert introduced the world to extreme splatter gore and unashamed violence in a style that has produced so many followers. With this one novel alone he has created a whole new aspect to horror novels that will later be saturated by influenced up and coming authors such as Shaun Hutson. But Herbert is the true master of the splatter punk novels. And this novel set it all off!
The Rats brings
Đorđe Bajić
Strah od glodara, prevashodno pacova, jedan je od najrasprostranjenijih. Prljava i okretna stvorenja dugačkog repa i oštrih zuba su noćna mora mnogih i to su u svojim delima iskoristili pisci poput Lavkrafta i Kinga. Herbert podiže lestvicu užasa odlukom da svoje pacove učini većim, krvoločnijim i pametnijim od obične sabraće.

Herbert je već od svog prvenca postao perjanica palp-horora, podvrste koju je 30-iih godina proslavio Robert I. Hauard. On ne troši puno vremena na uvođenje u priču i razra
Owen Adams
"The Rats" brings back a lot of memories for me, which is odd, because I had never read it until recently. Still, everything about "The Rats" took me back to my childhood, family trips to the library and lurid, early 90s book covers. I was the youngest in a house with a lot of sisters, they consumed books like this and other treats such as Shaun Hutson's "Slugs" and a gory tome called "The Dogs" (the author of which escapes me, but the terrifying cover is seared into my brain. I remember encount ...more
MiZzy Miz
Rat's rat's Everywhere!...

For a city worker like Me I often sit on the tube and imagine what is under us on the tube... Or Even below us in London in the sewage system's. I mean everyone Knows rats love the sewers and old derelict houses. Places were people don't necessary live. This book put's The what if?? into total perspective.

For millions of years man and rats had been natural enemies. But now for the first time - suddenly, shockingly, horribly - the balance of power had shifted and the
The Rats (1974) was the amazing debut novel from author James Herbert. On the surface, the story is a simple “animal attack” novel, but Herbert offers up enough social commentary with realistic characters to keep things interesting. Unlike many of the preceding works in the horror genre, Herbert focused on real-life working class characters from the slums of East London. Likewise, themes of absent and cynical authority figures dominate the book and their apathy and underestimation of the threat ...more
What can be said to compliment such a simple and yet such a shockingly fantastic story? Often imitated but never equalled, The Rats remains as THE official hair-raising killer pests story. And what could be more deadly than a mutant strain of the black rat?

Herbert's first book immediately marked him as a number one horror writer, and it is easy to see why. Herbert piles the shocks up in this novel, and keeps the story running at an even and exciting pace. What I found especially good was the way
Zapravo 3.5 stars.
Knjiga je zanimljiva i drži pažnju od početka.
Malo je grozomorna, tu pre svega mislim na opise napada pacova na ljude i slasne detalje koji proizilaze iz tih napada.
Tipična end of the world priča, koja - ipak na moje lično zadovoljstvo - ima još dva nastavka.
Ceinwen Langley
The Rats was written in and set in England, 1974, and it shows. From the post-war paranoia and still recovering landscape of London, the slowly evolving sexual attitudes but still deeply ingrained casual sexism from both characters and author, we're given a vivid representation of life in inner city London by a wide cast of characters, their most common trait being that they are usually killed in gory glory by giant black rats.

The origin of the rats is a bit shaky. In the first chapter it's imp
smutty seventies horror with not a lot to recommend about it
Raw, short, savage. Published in 1974, this was the book that launched the writing career of James Herbert, and spawned many pale imitations. In the character of Harris, Herbert introduced a theme that would recur in many of his novels: that of the Everyman hero; the normal, unexceptional guy who battles alongside, or in some cases, in spite of, the ineffective or culpable authorities. This debut book is the first in his Rats trilogy, followed later by Lair, and Domain. There is also a Rats grap ...more
Interesting that this novel has generated both lovers and haters. I'm in neither camp to be honest, but thought I'd write up a few thoughts in brief.

It's a short story, only 200 or so pages in length, which feels adequate for the Herbert to reach the depths this novel probably aspired to. That is to say a depth that while not especially very deep or meaningful, is no less dark, dank and quite disgusting at times. It is also a depth ridden with a few pointy edges that you might find disagreeable
Paulo "paper books always" Carvalho
Aug 12, 2013 Paulo "paper books always" Carvalho rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who enjoys horror stories
This was undoubtly one of the best books of the year. The rats is a pure horror tale from the seventies.

First of all, what I enjoy most of all were... the rats. The killing frenzy. The history behind each attack. One of the best scenes is when the writer gives us four or five pages about a woman fall from being a true believer through whore and now a hobo. Btw that's the only good female protagonist. There aren't any more.

This is the seventies guys and girls. Things were different. Even Stephen
I was recently given a list of scary books, so far none on that list have done much more than annoy me with cliches, bad writing and worst of all, by there not a being anything remotely scary within them

As a result -I re-read this, because I found it unsettling when I read it at 13 and I wanted to see if it was me at that age or the book...It is a very short book, but obviously the themes and content are disturbing...Despite being first written in 1975, it does not seem very dated - apart from t
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Contemporary Brit...: The Rats 3 23 Feb 02, 2015 02:53AM  
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James Herbert was Britain's number one bestselling writer (a position he held ever since publication of his first novel) and one of the world's top writers of thriller/horror fiction.

He was one of our greatest popular novelists, whose books are sold in thirty-three other languages, including Russian and Chinese. Widely imitated and hugely influential, his nineteen novels have sold more than forty
More about James Herbert...

Other Books in the Series

Rats (4 books)
  • Lair (Rats, #2)
  • Domain (Rats, #3)
  • The City: Graphic novel (Rats, #4)
The Fog The Dark The Secret Of Crickley Hall Haunted (David Ash, #1) Lair (Rats, #2)

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