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Publisher's 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

What listeners say about King Rat

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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.

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  • Manda N
  • 25-05-16

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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  • Kamawan
  • 29-09-18

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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  • Solaire
  • 23-09-17

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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  • Jockette61
  • 03-06-17

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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  • Miko
  • 05-05-17

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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  • Ziri
  • 21-09-20

master piece

just read it ! a wonderful story of human savagery, endurance and survival, This Audio book rates as one the most astonishing books I have ever read

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  • warwick manning
  • 25-08-20

Moving and Inspiring

Overall this book is truly a piece of history. I think at times the exact direction the narrative is headed is uncertain. However in the end this is reflected in the minds of the POWs and their own uncertainty. This book doesn't preach and it isn't overly pessimistic. Just true to life with its ups and downs. I was left with a sense of hope that the human spirit can endure so much, if only we can remember to treat out fellow man with the dignity we would wish upon ourselves. Self preservation is important but don't forget to preserve the good within your own soul.

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  • dan Bassett
  • 04-06-20

so good

the whole series is great 👍 ratking the NYC hip hop group named after this book

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  • Villa Girl
  • 22-02-20

Not as good as the hype

Firstly, the narrator is fantastic and absolutely makes this audiobook. Well done Sir!

The actual story is a bit disjointed and for me personally it made it hard to fully invest in the process of listening. The last third of the book was actually my favourite.

Overall I’m glad I persevered but I won’t be recommending this to anyone.

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  • Leecifer
  • 11-06-19

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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  • Richard
  • 14-11-18

King Rat: the best Clavell novel.

Sat up last night listening to the last 5 hours. A horrific tale, unfortunately true. Mans inhumanity to man shows through streaked with human misery and compassion. In 2018 we don’t understand the significance of the book. I am not sure I will be able to sleep tonight.

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  • Owen Cleverton
  • 22-01-18

Superb

A superb rendition of a great story. What's more to be said? Highly recommended, listen to it!

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  • Aleksandar
  • 09-01-21

Another incredible piece

Clavell is a literary genius. Whilst not my favourite of the series, it’s still an amazing story and compels me to want to read the next.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 19-04-20

Great tale.

I really liked the Ralph Lister readings of Shogun and Tai Pan, and I was a bit dubious about changing narrator but this is a great reading of a great novel. Just give it a go, you can also return it!

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  • Elijah Chen
  • 09-06-19

not as good as first three

first three books in Asian saga were better. this one I found a bit lacking but it was still worthwhile

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  • Anonymous User
  • 14-10-18

Wonderful

Excellent story, very well read. Definitely recommend this story to people who enjoyed other James Clavell stories.