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Publisher's Summary

The running man. In 1945, Hitler unleashes the Blood Death on Britain as his final act of vengeance. Hoke, an American pilot and one of a tiny minority with a rare blood group unaffected by the deadly disease, has survived alone among the debris and the dead of London for three years. Now, in '48, a slow-dying group of Fascist Blackshirts believe their only hope is a complete transfusion of blood from one of Hoke's kind.

Ever more desperate as their deaths approach, they're after his blood. Running for his life, Hoke is rescued by other survivors and together they're pursued in a spectacular but deadly chase through London's ravaged streets and historic landmarks, reaching a dramatic and explosive climax at the top of Tower Bridge.

James Herbert was one of Britain’s greatest popular novelists and our #1 best-selling writer of chiller fiction. Widely imitated and hugely influential, he wrote 23 novels which have collectively sold over 54 million copies worldwide and been translated into 34 languages. Born in London in the forties, James Herbert was art director of an advertising agency before turning to writing fiction in 1975.

His first novel, The Rats, was an instant best seller and is now recognised as a classic of popular contemporary fiction. Herbert went on to publish a new top ten best-seller every year until 1988. He wrote six more bestselling novels in the 1990s and three more since: Once, Nobody True and The Secret of Crickley Hall. Herbert died in March 2013 at the age of 69.

©1996 James Herbert (P)2013 Audible Ltd

Critic Reviews

“Herbert was by no means literary, but his work had a raw urgency. His best novels, The Rats and The Fog, had the effect of Mike Tyson in his championship days: no finesse, all crude power. Those books were best sellers because many readers (including me) were too horrified to put them down.” (Stephen King)
“There are few things I would like to do less than lie under a cloudy night sky while someone read aloud the more vivid passages of Moon. In the thriller genre, do recommendations come any higher?” (Andrew Postman, The New York Times Book Review)
“Herbert goes out in a blaze of glory” ( Daily Mail)

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What listeners say about ‘48

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Wonderful dystopian story

I read 48 as a teenager after visiting London. because of that story I came back again to see the city in a whole new way. Herbert became one of my favorite novelists. Hearing the book almost 15 years later with Slade's talent makes the book so much more powerful.

2 people found this helpful

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  • the typist
  • 05-16-14

Utterly banal...

Please don't waste your credit on this. I read James Herbert when I was very young and adored The Rats. There's no doubt that he was once the master of the schlocky chiller but I think he went off the boil around 20 years ago. I purchased '48 as the story seemed intriguing and having read The Luminaries I was after a brainless thrill ride. But all I got was the brainless bit. It's shocking stuff like this even gets published. I don't want to speak ill of the dead and I'm sure some people adore Mr. Herbert's more recent offerings. But I honestly think you'd have to be lobotomised to get to the end of this "novel".

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  • Arky
  • 08-19-16

loved it

I loved. the book and the narration was perfect. really brought it the grim life.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-23-14

I so wanted to like this book but...

What did you like best about '48? What did you like least?

The story had great premise, but dwelt far too much and far too much on decaying bodies. Plus the story line has some glaring holes in it about survival of the 'plague'

What was most disappointing about James Herbert’s story?

It was all a bit dull. I did persevere until the end, and I really wanted to like the book, as I think it was James Herbert's last book.

Have you listened to any of Robert Slade’s other performances? How does this one compare?

This is the first Robert Slade performance I've listened to, and thought he did a good job with rather poor material.

3 people found this helpful

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  • B COOK
  • 04-26-21

love this book

love this book. the first time i read it was a paperback and it was so well done that i was able to see the events clearly in my minds eye as if i was in the book itself. the audio version is just as good if not better. this book needs to be made into a movie.

2 people found this helpful

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  • fuzzyhead
  • 02-07-18

Shame about the end

Love James Herbert books. Really Confused witj he ending on this one as to me it ended rather strange. I was waiting for more to happen. Still miss he talent of this man and his loss was such a shock to the literary world. RIP JAMES

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  • Kez
  • 09-03-22

British horror at it’s lurid sensational best,

Eugene Nathaniel Hoke is an American pilot, part of the Eagle squadron who volunteered to fight for the allies in World War II before the Americans officially entered the conflict. But this isn’t the World War II we are familiar with, ‘48 is an alternative history. In this version Adolf Hitler, just before his defeat, unleashes a biological weapon using V-2 rockets that wipes out most of the human race. Hoke is stranded in a dystopian London, mainly a loner apart from a dog, Cagney.

‘48 reminds me of Richard Matheson’s ‘I Am Legend’ in which the protagonist Robert Neville also befriends a dog in a world stricken by a virus after a war. Hoke joins a group of other survivors, Cassie, a poor Cockney girl, Muriel, a rich girl, Albert Potter, an air raid warden and Stern, a German navigator who had escaped from a POW camp in Wales.

For Herbert it’s a return to a post-apocalyptic setting that’s reminiscent of Domain, even the dreaded rats make an appearance, ‘I took pleasure in watching the rats burn’ confesses Hoke. Herbert hits the ground running with ‘48, literarily for Hoke as he is chased through the streets of London. It’s a fast paced desperate charge full of action, energy and tension that doesn’t slow down until we are almost a third way through the book. It’s a good start. The post apocalyptic backdrop is painted in a vivid brutal manner, desolate and stark with menace hidden in the shadows of the crumbling buildings that also harbour the handful of survivors. Hoke’s nightmare world has a glimmer of hope/normality in the form of a love interest, in another nod back to classic Herbert ‘48 contains the graphic sex and violence that was a trade mark of his earlier novels. There is even the obligatory mad man roaming the streets with his army of black shirted henchmen and a hair brain scheme that involves death and torture. This is a return to the pulp fiction of The Rats and The Fog. Although Herbert provides back stories for all the main characters Hoke is the most developed , full of conflict and painful inner turmoil verging on the edge of collapse, another similarity with ‘I Am Legend’s’ Neville. After the breather of the middle section ‘48 ups the pace again as it hurtles towards it’s dramatic and violent end.

The alternative World War II history of ‘48 isn’t unique, other writers have confronted it, Len Deighton’s SS GB, Robert Harris’ Fatherland and Dominion by CJ Sansom for example, but non have approached it in this way. With ‘48 Herbert delivers, it’s British horror at it’s lurid sensational best, it’s fast, violent, thrilling, energetic, chaotic, bleak and full of desperation.

The narration is passable, it’s not the best or the worst I have heard. I played it at 1.2x speed as I felt the original speed it was read at didn’t keep up with the speed of the action, but that’s just my preference.

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  • Rebecca Bircham
  • 09-01-22

enjoyable .

i enjoyed this book playing in the background while i clean. initially i didnt take to the characters much but by the end i was rooting for them

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  • Lexa T Cardew
  • 08-06-22

How surprising

Could be Bison in a parallel universe but it was a Zebra.
Gripping story. Thanks for the ending.

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  • mixed feelings
  • 07-16-22

Great read

Fast paced story relevant to current circumstance, we a pandemic virus, with good historical context..

Would recommend if you enjoy, also read Lockdown, by different author.

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  • K.MITCHELL
  • 06-24-22

Too close to a possible reality

Was a good book overall but for a James herbert book I was expecting /hoping for more of a horror lean to the story. Nevertheless a very thought provoking read given the current world situation.

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  • Josh Tual
  • 11-10-21

fantastic story and memories

I first read this book as a teenager, and this, along with Stephen King,s the stand really filled my imagination and appreciation of post apocalyptic fiction.

the narrator was great, and helped me revisit this fantastic story

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  • Mikhail
  • 11-25-17

American bastard hero

The novel is about typical American hero from 80x, who does not respect women, blunt, shoots first and asks questions later. If you westerns and police action movies of the period is your thing, you gonna like this too.
Won’t recommend otherwise.