King Rat Audiobook | James Clavell | Audible.com
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King Rat | [James Clavell]

King Rat

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.
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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.

©1962 James Clavell; (P)1999 Books on Tape

What the Critics Say

"Highly recommended." (Library Journal)
"Scintillating...vibrant...expert." (Washington Post)
"A dramatic, utterly engrossing novel...harsh and brutal in its revelations...James Clavell is a spellbinding storyteller, a brilliant observer, a man who understands much and forgives much." (New York Times)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (156 )
5 star
 (83)
4 star
 (43)
3 star
 (20)
2 star
 (8)
1 star
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Overall
4.5 (88 )
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2 star
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Story
4.3 (89 )
5 star
 (48)
4 star
 (24)
3 star
 (10)
2 star
 (6)
1 star
 (1)
Performance
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  •  
    John Seattle, WA, USA 08-06-09
    John Seattle, WA, USA 08-06-09 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
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    8
    1
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    1
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    "King Rat"

    I knew I liked King Rat, but after listening to the audiobook I seem to like it even more than I thought I did! The inclusion of the womens' chapters provides a striking improvement on the only version I knew about before looking up the audiobook. I never thought Clavell wrote particularly compelling female characters, but these go some way to dispelling that feeling. I'm surprised that they were left out of any version of the book.

    I have mixed feelings about the reader. I very much like his voice when he's reading narration, or Marlowe or some of the other more educated English or Australian characters. I think I'd like to listen to him read non-fiction, if he's done any. When he reads character voices far removed from his own though, like the American or Japanese accents, or any of the women, sometimes it comes across as cartoonish, almost embarassing to listen to. In general I think it's perfectly acceptable not to try character voices, if the result would not be extremely good. There are many readers who can pull it off, but it's an extra; a poor character voice or accent is more detrimental to a reading more than a nonexistent one.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bruce Dublin, OH, United States 09-26-08
    Bruce Dublin, OH, United States 09-26-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    106
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    121
    34
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    FOLLOWING
    1
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    Overall
    "great, but not what I remember"

    David Case does an excellent job narrating this book. There are some problems with the production and occasionally there is a substantial variation in volume. It is, nonetheless, easy to listen to.

    This is a wonderful rendition of the horrors of the Japanese imprisonment of its prisoners of war during World War II. You will remember to hate to Japanese of that era after finishing this book. It is not just a book reminding us of the malevolence of Imperial Japan; it is a wonderful story of the ability of certain men to succeed in awful circumstances where they might otherwise not succeed in more normal circumstances.

    I read his book 40 years ago as a teenager. It seems to be the case that my memory of books read many years ago is flawed, in general. I did not remember how "black" this book was.

    After listing to this, I intend to purchase all of Mr. Clavell's books. Parenthetically, since the 2 other Clavell books available on Audible cost 3 credits, I will borrow them from my local library.

    I highly recommend purchasing this book (2 credits).

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    david Katy, TX, United States 12-20-13
    david Katy, TX, United States 12-20-13 Member Since 2011

    “the book I was reading turned out to be crack” ― Elizabeth Norris, Unraveling

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    9
    8
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Just couldn't get into it."

    I decided to give this one a listen after listing to Shogun. Unfortunately I just couldn’t get into this one. I’ll probably give it another try sometime, but for now it just didn’t do it for me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    val Libertyville, IL, United States 06-01-13
    val Libertyville, IL, United States 06-01-13 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    85
    10
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    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Performance
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    "Devastating in its effect"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I have already


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The complex King Rat and Grey


    Have you listened to any of David Case’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Yes - he's consistent and a joy to listen to


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes


    Any additional comments?

    Going back to read the entire Asian series

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Peggy Lafayette, Louisiana, United States 09-04-12
    Peggy Lafayette, Louisiana, United States 09-04-12 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    116
    5
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    "Great story, excellent storyteller"
    Would you listen to King Rat again? Why?

    seldom listen to any book again because I know the storyline.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of King Rat?

    when the japs found the radio, and Marlow and his 2 pals were left in their hut instead of being taken away?????


    What about David Case’s performance did you like?

    adds to, rather than detracts from the story. Very fine dialects


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    yes


    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
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