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Portent  By  cover art

Portent

By: James Herbert
Narrated by: Jonathan Keeble
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Publisher's Summary

The end is beginning. The time is just a few short years from now. But already the signs of global disaster are multiplying. Freak storms, earthquakes, floods volcanic eruptions are sweeping the earth. The last violent spasms of a dying planet. Then a series of ominous events signal the emergence of new and terrifying forces.

While scuba-diving on the Great Barrier Reef a diver watches fascinated as a tiny light floats past him towards the surface. Moments later he is torn to pieces as the reef erupts with shattering power. In the Chinese city of Kashi, travellers bring back reports of a strange light seen shining above the endless dunes of the Taklimakan Desert. And as the city's inhabitants watch for its return the desert rises up like a vast living thing to engulf them in a colossal tidal wave of sand. All have seen a portent: a sign of unimaginable powers about to be unleashed. A sign that something incredible is about to begin.

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.

©1992 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 'he 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)

What listeners say about Portent

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Hasn’t aged well

Can’t put my finger on it but whether it’s the narrator or the author, it just hasn’t made the jump over to the new century.

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I hated this book!!

The author was blatantly racist against black people. His descriptions of them were cringe worthy! I mistook this book for The Portent by Marilyn Harris, a much more entertaining, creepy story. Unfortunately that book is unavailable on Audible. And if the reader referred to gushing mounts of water as "geezers" rather than geysers one more time, I think I would have thrown my phone against a wall.

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  • Dirtyangelmichelle
  • 01-11-21

Jonathan Keeble brings this audio book to life

Loved it. Brilliant story by Herbert brought together by the wonderful English voice of narrator Keeble. Kept me wanting more and more as I listened. Now looking to purchase another Herbert/Keeble book

4 people found this helpful

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  • A. Brunton
  • 10-24-21

Time changes everything.

I read this book first when I was 18. I've been carrying the paperback version from place to place ever since and when my eye rests on it I say to whoever is with me - 'have you read this? It's great. Very pertinent now.' When I was 18 I found this book unputdownable. Not so much now.

I allow leeway for the fact this book was written some time ago. Scarily almost 30 years. There's quite a bit of casual racism. Everyone is white unless pointed out by the author. Anyone of colour is a baddie. The 'baddies' are drawn in crass stereotypes. All the things i notice now that I did not notice then I am ashamed to say. However, setting that aside surely the underpinnings of the book are still sound? Well not really. I didn't actually care that much about the characters besides pogsy and bibi. They are the only two characters who are drawn sympathetically with some understanding of their history. Poor old Mac is almost completely unexplained.

I found the character 'Diana' inexplicable and the reasons she did things and agreed things maddening. The narrator especially made her particularly annoying!

The children were not endearing. You didn't warm to them.

So these are the things I liked. I liked the idea of the Portent. I liked the Gaia affect and the quote by Chief Ottawa. I remembered that these things had led me to do further research when I read it for the first time. I like the huge set pieces and I could see that it could be a humdinger of a disaster movie - I can only think it wasn't picked up due to the cost.

I feel that someone could pick this book up and rewrite it - some of the scenes are boring. The dialogue is often dull. It needs a good re-write. The characters could do with a bit of sophistication. But underneath the book still has an interesting premise.

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  • Miss S.
  • 02-28-21

Not one of his best

Jonathan Keeble always narrates well and gives the story some depth but this story was disappointing. Very long winded but having read a number of James Herbert's books I do wonder how he came up with so much horror.

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  • JoolsR
  • 02-04-21

Not Herbert's best

Reader was too loud at times, and his attempt at women - meh! Story OK but very dated

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  • Wren
  • 04-05-16

Dreadful.

I bought this because I like Keeble as a narrator but what a waste of time this book is. Its complete rubbish and wouldnt even make a channel five movie...oh no wait it would make a channel five movie because at least then no one would watch it.

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  • Cindy
  • 11-17-22

Great story

Well written and narrated. James Herbert had a very vivid imagination and used it to write books that keep us wanting more.

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  • Steve Carter
  • 10-18-22

James Herbert's best book yet

What a read this was..I thought nothing could top Crickley Hall but this one did. Read with great passion by the narrator, you're swept into the apocalyptic world and the characters are memorable. If you enjoy thrillers and a combination of horror and disaster movie plot, this is a must have.

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  • Sha
  • 09-26-22

Quiet hidden racist insertions

The word Nigger inserted unnecessarily and inappropriately. When there's only one woman in the room why repeatedly write the black woman this and the black woman that. Not something I would recommend

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  • Helen - Kindle Customer
  • 09-26-22

Armageddon in words

Although written in the time of Ford Escorts and Granada cars and no mobile phones, the situation with our World that we are experiencing now is described here and what may happen!
The Reader was perfect - wonderful voice.

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  • Harley's Akita Haven.
  • 09-06-22

Disturbingly portentous indeed

Definitely a book for our age. I found myself having difficulty choosing a 'side' in the battle depicted. As per usual, Mr Keeble does a fine job of narrating. He manages accents, genders and age groups with aplomb. Ratchets up the tension and pace where needed & humour when intended. Not really escapism as the world really is in a dire state due to human action and inaction come to think of it. Oh... for a happy ending?!? Great listen