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Summary

The time is World War II. The place is a brutal prison camp deep in Japanese-occupied territory. Here, within the seething mass of humanity, one man, an American corporal, seeks dominance over both captives and captors alike. His weapons are human courage, unblinking understanding of human weaknesses, and total willingness to exploit every opportunity to enlarge his power and corrupt or destroy anyone who stands in his path.

This enthralling masterpiece about life as a prisoner of war will keep listeners spellbound from the first chapter to the last.

©2015 Blackstone Audio, Inc. (P)2015 Blackstone Audio

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What listeners say about King Rat

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Ranks amongst the best classic historical novels.

If you could sum up King Rat in three words, what would they be?

This is about survival, but the strength of the human spirit surviving horrific conditions. The book focuses on relationships rather than gruesome horrors of war. There are comedic moments within the story and no doubt Clavell brought in elements of his own changi experiences during the war.

What other book might you compare King Rat to, and why?

It's pretty unique, it's certainly no Tenko.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

I love the aside scenes focussing on the women left behind. The effects of separation and not knowing how your loved ones are or whether they are alive, that was particularly poignant.

Any additional comments?

This is the first in clavells Asian series if read, as I am doing, in order of publication. A great read.

3 people found this helpful

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Great read

Great book I've read so many times I've lost count. Narration is superb.
Anything by James Clavell is worth reading.

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Not the best in the series, but good enough

Narration was good, story was just alright, no moments that really shocked or amazed but good to read if you're into this kind of storyline. Can't see how it relates to the rest of the Asia saga, it's definitely no Shogun or Gai Jin, but easier to listen to and entertaining enough.

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Completely absorbing

A much leaner book than Clavells's other work, this reads like a matinee war movie with its wonderful cast of characters and capers. There is adventure, humour, and towards the end the book provides subtle reflections on the effects internment has had on the men. Simon Vance provides excellent narration as always.

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Enjoyed this much better 2nd time around

I remember reading this 30 odd years ago, and not rating it particularly highly when compared to the other big 3 (Shogun, Tai-Pan, Noble House). However, I really enjoyed listening to this, and although remembering most of the story, found lots of new details. I had completely forgotten about the womens' stories, and they gave an interesting twist to the elements I had recalled. The narration was good - there was a very easy switching between the American, English and Australian accents, and all seemed quite authentic. I would certainly recommend this.

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Very good

I enjoyed the earlier books in the Asian Saga and was also interested in this part of Singaporean history so decided to try this book though I'm not really a fan of prisoner of war type stories (or at least, I suppose what I thought of as prisoner of war type stories!) I needn't have been worried as the characters were engaging and it turned into the type of audiobook I couldn't put down. I found it VERY different from the earlier books in the series, more character than plot driven and definitely more of a stand alone novel (no need to have read or listened to the others at all). Also very well narrated; good enough that I know I'll listen again one day.

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Outstanding Story of Humanity at its worst and best

Men hate rats for they are so alike. If a human touches a rat it cleans and grooms itself to get the smell of man from it.

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TRULY exceptional book....

I am enjoying all of Clavell's Asian saga, one after the other....but THIS one....this one has had a profound effect on me. It is an incredible look at humanity. How the strong survive and the weak are trampled on or devoured by circumstances. In a truly unimaginable place and time... it has made me think of my Grandfather's generation who fought this terrible war ... How did anyone ever return to normal after such experiences? This is an INCREDIBLE story and I was captivated by every second of it... It is very moving in places and horrifying in others.... I hope you enjoy it as much I have ...it will leave its mark on you...of THAT I am very sure...

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Classic Book

read this book in the 70s could not put it down this time could not turn it off. Well read. Very descriptive of difficult subject

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Excellent!!

What a fantastic story. It really sucks you in until you are living the prisoners lives with them.

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  • Carin
  • 11-05-21

Brilliant!

Typical Clavell characters, intrigue and plotting. Hard to stop listening as the tension and plot is maintained throughout. Excellent natration from Simon Vance as always.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-12-18

An amazing experience

Loved it! Couldn't stop listening until the end. The story is very engaging and the narrator is a great inpersonator. I would recommend it to anyone.

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  • Rishi Tiwari
  • 16-01-18

What a Book!

Now this my friends is a book, a story of a lifetime. The heartbreak is real and I suppose I too was a prisoner of the book and just as the prisoners were lost due to freedom so do I feel too.

And really got to hand it to Simon Vance on how to tell a story. Marvellous accents and punctuation. Can’t wait to find another book like this but I suppose it would be hard. It’s not called a Classic for nothing.