Rather, we get what I thought were quite boring meetings of various political factions: there are forest keepers and ratcatchers and scientists and law enforcement and commissioners and secretaries and ministers who bicker and fight over 1) whether the detestable, enormous black rats have returned or not, and 2) whether to do anything about the threat, if it exists, at first or not. You know, because it's such a pain in the ass to take precautions against two-foot long voracious rats with razor-sharp fangs and claws who love to burrow into the meat inside human skulls. That's gonna be expensive.
UK hardcover 1979 New English Library
This time, the vermin that have overtaken the enormous wilderness preserve of Epping Forest, 6,000 acres of woodland just outside London, and are better at hiding themselves after an attack. For awhile, many officials remain skeptical of the danger in the woods of Epping. It's all too much like Chief Brody and Hooper trying convince Mayor Vaughn there is a hungry shark in Amity's waters. I find this is a common problem with "creature horror" post Jaws.
1990 Signet reprint
Despite some well-orchestrated scenes of epic rat violence against our fellows - a troop of Boy Scouts, entwined lovers, a faithless vicar, a squad of soldiers - the kind of thing Herbert does so well, I found myself skimming the final chapters, waiting for the twist I expected, but with no emotional investment whatsoever. The second half is one gory attack after another, so much so that they become numbing and inconsequential, grim and meaningless. Herbert throws in ridiculously graphic sex for (what was once known as) the raincoat brigade and adds a love triangle, but not out of any feeling for human relationships: this is simply for the dictates of pulp. Which is fine, but overall Lair is a bleak, callous affair; Herbert doesn't seem to be having any fun. And that, of course, means no fun for the reader - well, at least this reader.