Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Rats” as Want to Read:
The Rats
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Rats (Rats #1)

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  11,950 Ratings  ·  494 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)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Rats, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Alexandra Ashworth well if you look at it we did hate rats in the Victorian times because of the illness that were going around but i was shocked too
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Paul Nelson
Aug 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
OMFG this is about rats, lots of fucking rats, not just your average normal run of the mill rats but super big fucking rats that have taken a liking to human flesh. I listened to this on audio and have to say it's pretty entertaining, in an upper class, hoighty-toighty kind of narration, we get to know various characters some very quickly as they get, well, eaten and a few others that are in it for the long run.
Decent story, enjoyable horror, plenty of cringing and I have to say, where would we
Jeffrey Keeten
Oct 08, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
By gnawing through a dike, even a rat may drown a nation.
Edmund Burke

There are rats and then there are RATS.

 photo Rats_zpsct1oqnji.jpg

A scientist has brought back an oversized rat from a radioactive island, and he begins breeding it with the local London rats. These rats are famous in their own right for bringing down London more than once with plague in the long, distant past.

Obviously, we all need bigger rats, right?

That would be a negatory.

Rats do what rats do best which is out rabbit rabbits in the area of fornic
Apr 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: a-to-z-challenge
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.
Nov 25, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: not-loanable
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. :)
Nov 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, horror
This is a old fashioned Horror book and just having revisited in perhaps 30 years time makes me realise how weel it is written and how good a scribe James Herbert actually is.

There is this little house in a lane that gets forgotten and overgrown and after some time people forget about the house and that it ever was there. The last person who lived there was taken away and put in home for the insane.

Years later London finds out what probably has driven her insane when the attacks start by a new
Adam Light
Dec 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: james-herbert, own-it
Good old fashioned mutant animals run amok horror. The writing was somewhat thin, but the story was fun, and there are two sequels to look forward to. As far as Herbert goes, this is only the fourth or fofth of his sizeable canon I have read. I enjoyed The Fog was similar in construct and plot, and I liked it a little better.
Aug 13, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned

In this horror story by James Herbert rats have mutated to the size of dogs and kill off humans. It follows multiple characters living in London trying to survive the attacks from these super rats. I read the special 40th anniversary addition which is absolutely gorgeous.

I like that it starts with the first kill, that means you are with the story from the start and see how these rats evolve. It also shows very many aspects off the story, the people who are attacked, the bystanders, the scientis
Feb 21, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
This is the fourth book by James Herbert I've read and it's easily my favourite.

The premise couldn't be more simple in setup. A new breed of rat, which is larger, more intelligent and far more vicious, starts to appear in London, England. These new rats start their killing from the very start of the book to the end. It's a cast of characters trying to figure out where the rats are coming from and trying to eliminate them. Easier said than done however.

The book is dark and brutal all the way thro
Jul 14, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Alan Toner
Apr 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Randolph Carter
Classic old school 1970s creature horror served up in a simple and direct style. Pure entertainment. London is menaced by giant intelligent rats. Whatcha gonna do about it? You don't have to apologize for liking it but you do have to wonder about those who look down on you for reading it. What's wrong with them?
Jul 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
Rats by James herbert is horror at its very best i loved this book sent chills down my spine i hate rodents & reading this i hate RATS even more.

well written no wonder this book sent Herbert career sky rocketing blood sucking rats devour everything in their wake even a baby that made me sick what else can i say BLOODY BRILLIANT 5 big stars
Jan 28, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 Stars

Read all my reviews on

I found this book at a large book sale recently, and my edition has a cover that looks like rats ate half of it. Immediately intrigued by this, I just had to buy it.

While I'm not a big fan of rats, they do not really terrify me. Or at least, they didn't use to. The story features an infestation with very large rats that are working together to slaughter humans. This is the stuff of nightmares.

My edition features an introduction
Jakey Gee
Mar 31, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
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
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
The first of the Rats trilogy, A special 40th anniversary edition of the classic, bestselling novel that launched James Herbert's career.

I read this book many years ago in some form of paperback and quite enjoyed it. This is a beautiful hard cover edition with a die cut cover published by Pan Macmillan, so how could I pass it up.

6/1/15 Update.

I purchased the Centipede Press set also which are a set of 3 Herbert books.

This is number 40 of 300 signed numbered copies, signed by:

James Herbert
Jason C
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.
Oct 31, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
4.5 Stars

Classic horror.... with critters! *shudders*
Rebecca McNutt
Jan 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is really great, from the cover (I bought the 1980 edition with the giant rat on the front) it looks kind of like a cheesy cult horror movie poster but this book has a lot of action, the story moves quickly but makes you want to read more, it's fact-based and well researched (there were never giant killer rats but it does provide some credible info on the times when rats were spreading the plague back in the middle ages), the characters are likeable, there is never a dull moment in thi ...more
Apr 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
That was gruesomely fun.
Jan 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a graphic gore-fest! Proper relentless horror.
Aug 24, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, horror, 2016

Let's see if I can get a good pictorial reference here for The Rats...

Obviously not even close. Remy just wants to make you a meal, not make you the meal.

Closer...but still, Jenner was really just evil all on his own.

We've got the size going for us here...but comparatively to Herbert's rats, this guy is just down right adorable.

Ah. Here we go.

The Rats is about big friggin' rats. Really big rats. Dog sized rats that eat people. And they don't discriminate like some horror books. They don't JU

Paulo "paper books always" Carvalho
Aug 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Baal Of
Jul 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's been a long time since I've read a book in one sitting, or in this case, actually lying down in bed, and it is for this fact that I give it four stars rather than the three stars that would be a more objective rating. But then, I don't really think it is possible for a person to give an objective rating for a piece of fiction. Which is all beside the point. When I started this book just after 10 PM, I figured I would do my usual read for about 30 to 45 minutes before getting too sleepy to c ...more
Jan 31, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
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
Dec 05, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller, horror
This is the opener to the Rats series and damn it is a good one. It starts off fairly innocuously before hitting you right between the eyes with grotesque creatures and some serious potentially stomach churning gore (if you are of a sensitive disposition you probably shouldn't read this). The story is fast paced and combines man's fear of being part of the food chain with one of the most common and most familiar animals found within our cities. Not only that he gives them a certain level of evil ...more
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Contemporary Brit...: The Rats 3 28 Feb 02, 2015 02:53AM  
  • Slugs (Slugs, #1)
  • Quake
  • Feeding Ground
  • Charnel House
  • The Concrete Grove
  • The Conqueror Worms
  • Midnight's Lair
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 19 novels have sold more than 42 million
More about James Herbert...

Other Books in the Series

Rats (4 books)
  • Lair (Rats, #2)
  • Domain (Rats, #3)
  • The City: Graphic novel (Rats, #4)

Share This Book