I love to read. It is my absolute favourite past time. I find nothing better than putting on something comfy, getting a cup of tea or glass of wine, and curling up on the couch with a good book. Being able to escape from the real world and pretend that you’ve fallen down a rabbit hole, or discovered you’re actually a wizard is the best way to de-stress.
I also love to share my favourite books with anyone who will listen to me, which is why I have decided to blog about them. I’ll review books that I have currently read along with old favourites.
The Rats by James Herbert:
James Herbert is a well known English horror author, but this is the only one of his novels that I have ever read. I’m disappointed in myself at that, as I love everything horror, but I intend to rectify that – especially after reading The Rats.
The Rats was James Herbert’s debut novel and in many ways, that is quite obvious. From the sometimes too quick pace to the unlikely working class hero, there are some amateurish mistakes throughout, but that doesn’t take away from the story.
Quite simply, The Rats is set in the 70s and is about large mutant black rats wrecking havoc on the streets of East London. The main protagonist is art teacher Harris who becomes embroiled in the situation when a pupil of his is attacked and bitten by one of the monsters.
As if being bit by one of these atrocities wasn’t enough, but the bite causes you to die an ugly and painful death.
The authorities get involved and, along with Harris, try to wipe out the rats. But nothing seems able to kill these belligerent beasts. Is this the end of mankind?
I’ll leave it there – I don’t want to spoil it for you.
This is a delightful read. What really interested me in the book was the fact that Herbert had taken something as normal as rats and turned them into an actual threat on humanity. Whilst I love the whole zombie apocalypse thing, there’s nothing to suggest that that could actually happen. And zombies aren’t real! Rats, though. . . rats are real.
Now, I’m not scared of rats, so I didn’t really think that this story would affect me. However, I had a really horrible nightmare about dog-sized rats whilst in the midst of reading this book, and it really freaked out!
This is the first in three books in the series – I have yet to read the other two, but as soon as I do i will let you know what I think. In the mean time, if you want an easy read and a gripping story then pick up The Rats and let me know what you think.
Wolf of the plains by Conn Iggulden:
I will be honest, I found this story hard to get into. It started off quite slow and the writing style isn’t what I’m used to. But I kept at it and I’m so glad I did.
Conn Iggulden is an English author who specialises on historical novels. Iggulden has written a series about Julius Caesar called the Emperor series. On completion of those novels he began his research for the Conqueror series.
Wolf of the Plains is the first book in the Conqueror series which consists of four more books. It follows the early life of Temujin, one of five sons of the Khan of the Mongolian Wolves tribe. The Wolves tribe is fierce and honourable and the Khan loves his family, and the sons are fiercely loyal to their father.
However, tragedy strikes! Temujin, his brothers, sister and mother find themselves cast out of the tribe when the Khan’s first bondsman takes over. The are left for dead on the steppes in the harsh winter. However, sheer will and determination gets them through theses hard times and Temujin, hell bent on revenge, fights with the ferocity and cunning of a wolf to become Kahn of all Mongolian tribes and calls himself Genghis.
Once I got into this story i was thrilled with the amount of excitement in it. There are constant battles and bloodshed – Temujin shows no fear and makes for a tough and merciless leader.
Never knowing which character you could trust or which one was going to sneak into another characters ger and slaughter them in their sleep, had me on the edge of my seat.
Iggulden travelled to Mongolia during his research and used The Secret History of the Mongols as his source material. He explains in the Authors Note at the end of the book that he has made some changes to the historical accuracy for storytelling purposes.
If you enjoy learning about historical figures, but prefer to do so in a storytelling fashion, then I suggest you give The Wolf of the Plains a read. I am going to tackle the rest of the series and will keep you updated on my thoughts and views.
I’ve used pictures of the novels from
Google images because I can’t find my copy of The Rats. I wanted to get a photograph of the actual books on their own and side by side, but alas, it wasn’t meant to be.
I researched the authors via Wikipedia.