The Rats

By James Herbert,

Book cover of The Rats

Book description

A special fortieth anniversary edition of The Rats, the classic, bestselling horror novel that launched James Herbert's career.

With a foreword by Neil Gaiman, author of Norse Mythology.

It was only when the bones of the first devoured victims were discovered that the true nature and power of these swarming…


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Why read it?

4 authors picked The Rats as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

The Rats is not only my No. 1 all-time favourite horror novel, but it is also the novel that inspired me to become a horror writer myself. James Herbert’s debut novel is just an absolute horror masterpiece, telling the terrifying story of a plague of giant mutant rats that terrorise London. Their attacks are swift, deadly, and extremely bloody. No one is safe as the hordes of flesh-eating creatures swarm through houses, cinemas, schools, and other public places. I enjoyed the novel that much that I read it in one day, as I was absolutely gripped by all the gruesome…

What if rats went from carrying diseases to being a plague themselves? This is the premise Herbert explores in his seminal animal attack novel. The only thing worse than one monster is thousands of them attacking all at once. Herbert’s vivid descriptions of the rats and their attacks mirror the cold and vicious setting of the East London suburbs. Poverty and neglect provide the perfect breeding ground for these man-eating rats. Herbert uniquely focuses upon English society’s underbelly—vagrants, alcoholics, and other undesirables—as the victims, allowing proper society to turn a blind eye to the growing rat threat. Part horror novel…

From Drake's list on animal attacks.

They say that in London you are never more than 6ft away from a rat, and if that isn’t horrifying enough, what if those rats began attacking people in droves. That’s the premise of James Herbert’s novel, The Rats. This book is a wonderful example of creature horror, and its short length and fast pace make it a great entry point into Herbert’s work.

Where there are people, there are rats (except in Alberta, apparently, which I find suspicious). Rats have been known to spread plagues, most famously the Black Death in the 1300s, because of the fleas on their backs. But Herbert made the rats themselves the plague. I’ve always had a fondness for any animal with fur, rats included, but Herbert’s made me look at them twice. This novel is a violent tearing of the dominance humans have over our small neighbors, as well as the flesh of several characters. It makes you think about all the little creatures we unknowingly share…

From Kristal's list on featuring plagues.

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