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Lair (Rats, #2)
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(Rats #2)

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  5,521 ratings  ·  191 reviews
The mutant white rat had grown and mated, creating offspring in its own image. They dominated the others, the dark-furred ones, who foraged for food and brought it back to the lair. Now the dark rats were restless, and the white slug-like thing that ruled them remembered the taste of human flesh.
Paperback, 272 pages
Published November 1st 1999 by Pan Macmillan (first published 1979)
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3.92  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,521 ratings  ·  191 reviews

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Paul Nelson
Sep 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
OMFG more fucking rats and this time these 2ft critters are now climbing trees and launching leapfrog style ninja attacks.
Lesson 1.
Stay in built up areas to avoid potential of vermin dropping from trees in surprise ambushes.
One of these mutant rats will of course go on to rescue and train the teenage mutant ninja turtles but that's another tale set a few years in the future. Ok, to the story, the rats that survived the gas attack from the first book decided a holiday was in order and disappea
Jun 21, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the second in the famous Rats trilogy (in fact there is a forth called the City written 10 years after Domain but thats a different story - literally)

Anyway I digress this is part of my nostalgia tour of the early books and authors I read as I was getting in to reading while at school. Being one of the earlier Herbert's the book is graphic, visceral and violent, just want an impressionable mind wants. But seriously now such book may not have met the same fame as it did back then but none
 (shan) Littlebookcove
Jan 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Nothing quite like reading a book where the whole plot is based just outside your doorstep! Apart from that, this book blew my mind. This is the second installment of James Herberts "The Rats" based five years later, after the carnage the rats caused in London they are back.. Bigger and bolder and much more cunning than before. I Absolutely loved this book! Like most of James Herbert's book's I've read so far I couldn't put it down. Well worth the read.
Grady Hendrix
Dec 08, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The rats were fresher in THE RATS.
Oct 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’d been excited about reading The Rat series for quite some time, and although I wasn’t crazy about the first book, I was eager to dive into Lair. Personally, I enjoyed Lair a lot more than I enjoyed The Rats.

Lair takes place a few years after The Rats, dropping us back into the wonderful horror of the monstrous creatures. It takes all the creepy aspects of the first book and amplifies them, taking what we were introduced to in the first book and making it even creepier. It is more than just th
Rebecca McNutt
Aug 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The white rat that survived Herbert's first novel brings a whole new meaning to musophobia as it attacks humans and eats them. Really chilling and creepy novel, definitely worth reading.
Sep 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The second in the Rats trilogy, this middle book takes place five years after events in the first novel. The Outbreak that plagued London was over, but the horror was about to begin again, this time in a forest preserve outside the city. Epping Forest is about to be awash in blood and torn, mutilated bodies, but the real horror is worse than imagined.

James Herbert is one of the best ever, bar none, and one of my all-time favorites. While, sadly, he passed away a few years ago, his backlist is re
Marie Helene
The rats are back and they are on top form.

A very few managed to escape the ‘cleansing’ of London, and moved to Epping forest to hide. Four years have passed, they are still hiding and staying away from the humans that they fear, but they have reproduced and evolved. The question is: how long are they going to be able to resist to their craving for the human flesh?

Lair was written in 1979. It is and old school, rock-solid horror book that still delivers.

And I’m really not into creature feature b
Nov 19, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, horror, owned
Another fine entertainment in the rodent trilogy. Actually better than its predecessor as Herbert gets his bearings aligned and full steam on so to speak. Herbert is no craftsman of metaphor; this is a straight ahead story full of suspense, romance, and most of all grue, so don't think you are going to come out of this a better person for it.

This beautiful Centipede edition is rather too high class for the writing which is better housed in one of those stinky mass market paperbacks printed on c
David Brian
Feb 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
LAIR follows on from James Herbert's early bestseller THE RATS, and in some ways it is just more of the same. That being said, personally I thought this was an even better book than THE RATS.

A few years after the earlier outbreak, a new plague of rats begins to run amok, this time in the Epping Forest. It falls to a rodent control expert named Pender, to try and incite 'the powers that be' into taking an early and proactive action against the marauding animals.

The carnage doesn't start immediat
Jul 17, 2013 rated it liked it
Lair is about what you would expect from your average sequel. The plot is bigger and badder, but the overall gist of the action remains the same. There were new characters and a few allusions to old ones. Except for a few especially intense or creative moment, I felt like I had been there and done that. I think ill wait about a year before tracking down the third book, and maybe that will keep things feeling more fresh. The overall quality of the writing was excellent. Where else are you going t ...more
Steve Parcell
Feb 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Rollicking sequel to Rats. Didn't think you could make giant killer rats hunting down humans scary but boy was I wrong. Better than Rats and very exciting and terrifying
Sep 07, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: horror
I don't know why but I have such a weakness for animals turn on people books and movies (from great ones to The Birds to terrible fun ones like The Swarm). This one is part 2 of The Rats trilogy--and is very solid but The Rat books are more schlock than high literature. For a 40 year old series it's held up very well I think. I read earlier about how some think Herbert modernized horror and was an innovator and I have to agree. They're crude but very effective and almost impossible to put down ( ...more
Oct 27, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: horror
In the second book of this trilogy rats seem to have acquired a taste for human flesh after having fled from London and after having found the sanctuary in Epping forest. It could have also been a good standalone novel since the writing style is slightly better than the one of The Rats and there is a lot more gore. If you hate rats and fear them and if you additionally fear being eaten alive, these pages might give you nightmares.
Mutant rats origin is also explained and we discover there is a hi
Mar 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The second book in the Rats series is just as good as the original.
Moving the setting from the busy city to the quiet countryside doesn't change the carnage or the pace of the story- in fact it adds to it more.
The characters are actually pretty similar to the previous protagonists but obviously if the formula works, why change it?
Again, I thoroughly love this trilogy and I really thought this book stepped it up from the first- giving a bit more story to the "real" mutant rats, attempting to almo
Jeff French
Mar 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: creatures
If you've read the first one, you will have a good idea of what to expect from this book. It starts out a little more slowly, but had no problem holding my interest. The rats are just as just as vicious, clever and disgusting as ever. The setting has changed from London to a wooded area outside of the city called Epping Forest. The characters are new, but overall, it feels very similar to Rats. I would recommend not reading this book directly after the first. The ending of Lair sets up the third ...more
Ross Armstrong
Mar 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
The second book in Herbert's Rats trilogy, picks up a couple of years later and has a completely different cast of characters from the first book.
Some giant, mutant rats that survived the first book flee London to a nearby forest where they regain their numbers. They begin to terrorize the countryside, including a police academy that is in the vicinity.
This shows Herbert's growth as a novelist. The story is more concisely told and the ending is more satisfying than the Rats.
Jan 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
The second in the Rats trilogy. This one takes place four years after the Outbreak of the first book, the setting now transferred from the squalor of urban London to the idyll of rural Epping Forest. Harris, the hero of the original story is absent from this sequel, getting only a name check. The story begins with a slow-building, hidden menace, before erupting into the familiar frenzy. If you liked The Rats, this is more of the same.
Alan Toner
Jun 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Lair is a truly brilliant sequel to my all time fave horror book, The Rats. This time, the rats infest Epping Forest, and once again the poor humans become helpless rat meat! Even more spine-chilling and gory than the first, Lair will send the hairs on the back of your neck prickling with sheer terror. The greatest sequel to the greatest horror novel ever. Read it . . . if you dare!
John Adams
Mar 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror

There's something uniquely special about the books you read as a young adult if they're actually set in your hometown. It doesn't take much for the imagination to go to work. And it bumps it up a notch when the author throws a hoard of highly intelligent and super-aggressive vermin predators into the mix. I grew up very near to Epping Forest, so when James Herbert's Lair was published in 1979 it pressed all the right buttons.

Four years before the action starts, almost all the mutant giant ra
Benjamin Stahl
Sep 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
An unnecessary and unjustified sequel to a pretty shitty novel. Contains all of James Herbert's usual inputs: well-written but unstirring horror, boringly normal protagonists, gratuitous and cliched sex and the ominous promise of another one.
Mark Hodder
This sequel to THE RATS was written five years and four novels later, by which time Herbert's style had definitely improved, though it still feels extremely clunky in places (for example, his characters keep calling each other by name every few sentences). Yet, whatever his shortcomings, Herbert had a fantastic talent for setting up and executing set pieces, and there are plenty of them here, some nastily gory. There are also moments of extreme silliness. So no literary merit but plenty of blood ...more
Carl Timms
Jul 16, 2012 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: fans of gory creature/animal horror
Recommended to Carl by: My wife
After really enjoying The Rats, I found Lair to be a bit of a step backwards. There was some good rat violence as you'd expect but overall this was a weaker story with weaker characters than the first one. However it does further the evil rats storyline and throws in an unexpected twist at the end which leads to the triumphant Domain.
Feb 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
The 2nd in the trilogy, after I'd read the 1st some 30 years ago. There is a new protagonist, and I enjoyed his view, along with a blossoming love story.

This novel is set 4-5 years after the first, with the surviving mutant rodents relocating to a peaceful forest area outside London.
Calum Futty
May 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
This series should be made into a movie
Ben Flay
Aug 21, 2011 rated it liked it
you will be put off rats forever well written constructed and thought provoking ,out and out simple no frills horror that will leave image sin your mind to haunt you well described
Emma Carrig
Jul 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Thoroughly enjoyed it- classic Herbert, build up of suspense then a crescendo of gore, guts, blood and senseless killing....utter joy....can't wait to get my teeth into domain now
Colin Garrow
Mar 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
After the Outbreak in London, the mutant white rat has grown and mated, creating offspring that, like itself, crave human flesh. But the city is too dangerous for them now, so the vermin need a new place to hide. When the creatures are sighted in Epping Forest, ratcatcher Pender is sent to assess the situation. Unfortunately, with conflicting witness statements, the authorities are reluctant to take his word that the woodland must be evacuated…

This is book 2 of the Rats trilogy, and it’s a crack
Aug 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
OMG!! I just finished #Lair by James Herbert. What a book!!! Filled with gore, and terror I was completely captivated (and scared s***less!). Not sure I am quite ready for Domain yet.
Apr 02, 2019 rated it liked it
This is not a great book.

But then I knew that going in.

As a teen, I read all three of James Herbert’s ‘Rats’ books and, while I didn’t remember much about the characters or narrative, I did recall that none of them are particularly brilliant.

I’ve read this again now as I wanted to see how you build on a first book to create an epic horror trilogy. (There’s a project of mine coming in 2020 which, ahem, will have something of that.) However, a good example of world/mythos building this really isn’
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Horror Aficionados : James Herbert's The Rats trilogy 112 97 Feb 09, 2016 06:17AM  

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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 19 novels have sold more than 42 million

Other books in the series

Rats (4 books)
  • The Rats (Rats, #1)
  • Domain (Rats, #3)
  • The City (Rats, #4)
“Still, that was the city, a great big filthy breeding-place for vermin – animal and human.” 1 likes
“Why anyone should do so, knowing full well the dangers, was beyond the soldiers’ comprehension, but they had learned from past experience never to underestimate the imbecility of certain individuals on occasions like these.” 0 likes
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