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The Borribles Mass Market Paperback – June 23, 2005
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No one can deny that de Larrabeiti has written a modern epic. It's a brilliant invention. (Publishers Weekly on The Borribles)
With considerable ingenuity and finesse, de Larrabeiti has projected a grim, violent futureworld...he presents an alien culture with its own folkways, legends and taboos. The Borribles won't win friends among the starry-eyed or squeamish, all the same they are the offspring of a singular imagination. (The New York Times on The Borribles)
May be regarded as a moral satire on the consequences of violence and cupidity or a cynical recognition of the times in which we live. Either way this Clockwork Orange projects a gripping story through slam-bang action. (The Los Angeles Times on The Borribles)
The adventures of The Hobbit and the rabbits of Watership Down are more than once called to mind...and de Larrabeiti has brought something of these mythologies to the street markets and the back-alleys of South London and the thronged waterway of the Thames itself. (The London Times on The Borribles)
A strong and vivid fantasy, much recommended. (The Observer on The Borribles)
About the Author
Michael de Larrabeiti was brought up in Battersea. He is the author of two more books about the Borribles--The Borribles Go For Broke and The Borribles: Across the Dark Metropolis--as well as many other books. He has three grown-up daughters and lives with his wife in Oxfordshire.
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Top Customer Reviews
This book from 1976 in an underground classic of English young adult literature. It never really achieved wide success, most likely because of the surprising amount of violence in a book directed to children and teens. There are passages with brutal beatings and several bloody deaths.
But the book is fun, there is no denying that. The Borribles have a tribal structure in their society, with different neighborhood leaded by informal representatives. In this first book, the Borribles get together after scouts capture a Rumble, anthropomorphic rats that the Borribles hate, and they decided to assemble an elite group to assassinate the rat leaders in the town of Rumbledom.
Writer Michael de Larrabeiti, who died in 2008, build his narrative in a fast and evolving way. The characters are interesting individually, but the group in the end form bonds of friendship that seemed to me similar to the fellowship of the ring of Lord of The Rings. The idea of the journey was equally epic, as the group faced several dangers until they get to Rumbledom for a final showdown. The book is centered on the actions rather than the descriptions, and that gives a welcome speed to the story.
There are two more books on the Borrible series: The Borribles Go For Broke and The Borribles: Across the Dark Metropolis.
The Borribles are descended from children who have run away -from their parents, from the schools, from authority in London. The only difference between the way an ordinary child looks and a Borrible is their ears. Borribles' ears grow long and pointy, and if they're caught and their ears are snipped back to normal size, they revert to being boys -captive, subservient, dull , normal boys again -how unexciting! Borribles live around the edges of city life. They live in abandoned buildings and snitch food to eat from open air fruit and vegetable stalls. They spend a lot of their time avoiding getting caught because once you're a Borrible, nothing is more horrifying than the thought of stopping being one.
The Borribles' enemies are the Rumbles, giant rat-like creatures who can't pronounce the letter "r" (they say "w" instead) and live in burrows beneath the streets of London. When a Rumble is caught in Borrible territory, the word is out -the Rumbles are planning to invade. Thus starts the Great Rumble Hunt, which is the subject of this book. Eight Borribles are assembled, one from each of the eight tribes of Borribledom, to infiltrate Rumbledom and kill its leaders. Borribles don't get named until they've done a great deed so the eight Borribles are sent off on this mad crusade are psyched up. At last, they can win their own names.
One adventure after another follows. There are heroes , there are villains. There is trickery and deceit, even betrayal. There are long drawn out battles, lovingly detailed in the describing. Not all the Borribles return and not all is as it seems. But what an adventure it has been for them all.
What surprised me was how exciting it was to read this book --even for me, at seventy-six. The Borribles is ... epic.