The Dead (Higson novel)

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The Dead (The Enemy 2)
Author Charlie Higson
Country United Kingdom and the rest of Europe
Language English
Series The Enemy
Genre Horror, Young Adult, Thriller
Publisher Puffin Books
Publication date
September 16, 2010
Media type Print (Hardcover)
Pages 450
ISBN 978-0-14-138465-8
Preceded by The Enemy
Followed by The Fear

The Dead is a post-apocalyptic young adult horror novel written by Charlie Higson. The book takes place a year before the events in The Enemy. It was published by Puffin Books in the UK on 16 September 2010. The third novel in the series, titled The Fear, was published on 15 September 2011 and the fourth novel, The Sacrifice was released on the 20 September 2012.

The Dead begins a year before the events in The Enemy and two weeks after a worldwide sickness has infected all adults, turning them into zombies. Two fourteen-year-old boys called Jack and Ed are trapped with a group of other schoolboys in the Rowhurst boarding school, in a remote village, a few miles from London.

After escaping from an adult siege of their school, Jack and Ed rescue the French teacher's daughter, Frederique, and attempt to contact several boys inside a church. Alarmed that there is no reply from inside the church, they break in and find that the boys hiding inside are unconscious from carbon monoxide poisoning. They manage to revive them. Matthew, a boy who has possibly suffered brain damage from the carbon monoxide, believes himself to be the messenger of the Lamb of God and believes that he must go to St Paul's Cathedral in London. The group splits, with Matt and his "acolytes", including Jack, who wishes to visit his family's house, attempting to go to London, and the rest deciding go deeper into the countryside.

The group heading for the countryside are attacked by older, infected teenagers shortly after parting from the rest. They are saved by the timely arrival of a motor coach driven by an adult named Greg Thorne. He is a butcher who claims that he is immune to the disease. With his young son Liam, Greg has acquired a bus and is collecting children to transport them all to London. Himself and Liam want to visit Arsenal Stadium, revealed to be an adult nest in The Enemy. Several other children are on the bus. Greg turns the bus around to find Jack, Matthew, and the Lamb of God believers, who are all still journeying towards London.

Greg explains that, before the epidemic, he was staying with a farmer and his family, but he had had to kill a father and the older children, and indirectly remarks that he had to kill a crazy child because of the loss of his family and is seen to be eating dried meat. The bus halts for the night. Liam realizes that Greg has become infected and can no longer protect him. Greg strangles Liam in the night.

The next morning, Greg is inexplicably wearing Liam's glasses. Jack and Ed confront Greg about Liam's death. The bus is assaulted by several adults, and the group escapes from the bus and make it to the Imperial War Museum in south London.

The kids clash with the leader of the museum group, Jordan, who refuses to let them stay in the museum, but he compromises and lets them stay as long as they collect food for themselves. A group sets off, and they explore until they find a Tesco truck with a partially decomposed corpse inside. Whilst they are attempting to get the truck to run, Frederique comes under attack by several adults. They fight off the adults and are surprised to find that she is unharmed. The group manage to drive the truck back to the museum while Jack, Ed, and another boy, Bam, set off to find Jack's home, where he has been planning to go since the beginning of the infection.

Meanwhile, Matt's religion has gained believers in the museum. They rename the religion Agnus Dei, Latin for "Lamb of God". Matt foretells that the Lamb will look like a boy and will have a shadow that is another boy, who must be sacrificed. The new religion attempts to make a banner, but the maker misspells Agnus Dei Angus Day Meanwhile, Frederique attacks Froggie, biting into his arm. She reveals that she is sixteen years old and has been infected the entire time, with her diseases taking longer to infect her. She is locked in a storeroom by several of the kids.

Jack, Ed, and Bam make their way to the Oval Cricket Ground. Outside the cricket ground are ambulances, army trucks, and skips filled with dead bodies. The boys explore, finding and keeping several weapons. The entire stadium is full of diseased corpses that were going to be burned, but the soldiers were themselves infected or killed before they had a chance. The boys are then pursued by adults through the stadium. Jack has a sub-machine gun he found from a dead soldier and, whilst trying to fend off an adult, he shoots a propane tank, causing it to explode and causing an avalanche of bodies. Jack and Bam are buried underneath the bodies and debris. Bam mistakes Jack for an adult and shoots him with a shotgun. Jack is badly wounded but able to stand. Ed finds them, and the three boys leave, continuing their search for Jack's house. They continue towards Jack's home but are ambushed by adults in the street. The three boys manage to kill all the attacking adults, but Greg appears, now fully infected, and kills Bam with a meat cleaver. He then slashes Jack's chest open and cuts the side of Ed's face from forehead to chin. Greg is about to finish off Ed, but Greg flees when Ed mentions Liam.

Ed drags a dying Jack to his home and tries to heal his friend's wounds. However, Jack is beyond repair, and Ed takes Jack to his bedroom and spends the night with him. In the morning, Jack has died from his wounds. Ed cremates his friend's body and leaves, headed back to the museum.

Soon Ed is ambushed again by adults. He is rescued by David King, Pod, and their group. They all travel to the museum. David warns Ed that a fire, caused by the fire at the Oval is spreading northward, towards the museum and that they should move.

At the museum, Ed confronts the infected Frederique, who attempts to attack him. She escaped from captivity by gnawing through her own thumb to get out of the handcuffs. He defeats her and manages to banish her to the streets rather than killing her. He holds council with David and Jordan, and they decide to move to North London. Jordan decides to stay in the museum with several others.

Ed and David lead their kids in the Tesco truck and attempt to cross north across the River Thames, fleeing the rapidly spreading fire. Every other kid in South London is also trying to cross the river, and they all struggle to do so due to a commotion between kids further up the bridge. But a huge wave of adults come up behind the kids from the south, and Ed and several other fighters hang back to fend off the infected to protect the other kids. Frederic reappears and attacks Alisha, injuring her, and Ed shoots Frederic with a pistol. Ed is helped by another boy named Kyle, and, although the fighters initially seem to be overwhelmed, they are rescued by Jordan and his crew, who had been forced to abandon the museum by adults and the fire.

They realize that they must flee, but the way back to the bridge is blocked by a horde of adults. The kids manage to take control of a sightseeing cruise boat moored in the river. They pilot it downstream towards the Tower of London, but Matt hijacks the boat in an attempt to reach St Paul's. He accidentally crashes the boat into the bridge, and it splits in half, causing a number of kids to drown, including Alisha. Matt and the survivors of his acolytes are last seen disappearing under a bridge, standing on the top of half of the ruined boat.

Jordan, Ed, Kyle, and the survivors find lifeboats and make it to the river's north bank. They make their way to the Tower of London and enter it by climbing the drainpipes. Inside they find a group of about thirty kids already inhabiting the castle. Frustrated at the leadership of the current leader, Jordan takes control, with Ed as his right-hand man. Of the original group from the bus, only Ed and Courtney remain. The others are either dead, missing, or still with the Tesco truck.

Greg finds himself in Trafalgar Square, where he has lost his shirt. He puts on a St George t-shirt from a souvenir stand and decides to get revenge on those who he holds responsible for Liam's death. It is also revealed that he intends to raise an army of adults, setting him up as the 'Saint George' adult of The Enemy

One year later, Ed, Kyle, and Jordan are guarding the Tower of London. Small Sam and The Kid arrive. The Tower group are shocked to see that Sam and The Kid resemble the Lamb and the Goat as portrayed on the Angus Day banner.


  • Aleisha – A girl student on Greg Thorne's coach, best friends with Brooke and Courtney. Aleisha drowns after being bitten and left behind when the cruise boat sinks.
  • Archie Bishop – A member of "The Lamb" religion formed by Matthew. At the end of the novel, his fate is unknown.
  • Arthur – Wiki's best friend. Arthur is nicknamed "Jibber-Jabber" because he talks constantly.
  • Brooke – A girl student on Greg Thorne's coach, best friends with Aleisha and Courtney. Brooke becomes emotionally close to Ed Carter until he got his scar from Greg. At the end of the book, she tells Justin to keep driving after they witness David shoot a kid on the bridge
  • Chris Marker – A boy who never stops reading, and believes he sees ghosts. He appears to be schizophrenic, as he mentions therapy and "doctors" from earlier in his life.
  • Courtney – A girl student on Greg Thorne's coach, best friends with Aleisha and Brooke. Courtney travels with Ed to the Tower of London.
  • David King – A posh boy from a private school in Surrey. He rescues Ed and escorts the Rowhurst students across London with his own group.
  • DogNut – a boy in the Imperial War Museum group. DogNut is ratty and wiry and deeply respects Jordan Hordern, for whom he appears to serve as second-in-command.
  • Ed Carter – One of the main chacters in the book.A popular boy from Rowhurst. He is left with a facial scar after being attacked by Greg Thorne with a meat cleaver.
  • Frederique Morel – A French girl whom the Rowhurst students find as they escape their school. Frederique develops a romantic connection with Jack, but this is never fully established because she becomes infected due to her mature age. The Rowhurst students expel her from the Imperial War Museum, and later she reappears at the battle on the bridge and bites Aleisha. Immediately after this, she regains control of herself long enough to let Ed shoot and kill her.
  • Froggie – Zohra's brother. The two cute little siblings enjoy chatting with Arthur, Justin, and Wiki. Froggie is bitten by Frederique Morel, but he is fine afterward.
  • Greg Thorne/"Saint George" – Father of Liam Thorne, later calling himself "Saint George". Greg is an adult who claims he is "immune" to the disease. He is driving a coach bringing Aleisha, Brooke, and Courtney back to England after the disease breaks out on their school trip to France. South of London, he picks up the Rowhurst students and Frederique Morel. Later he becomes infected, puts on a shirt decorated with a St. George cross, and becomes a leader for infected adults.
  • Harry "Bam" Bamford – A student from Rowhurst. Bam is a strong, powerful, enthusiastic rugby player, much respected by everyone because he is the best fighter of the group. He is killed in a fight with Greg Thorne, who attacks him from behind with a meat cleaver.
  • Jack – A main character in the book.A student from Rowhurst. Jack is Ed's best friend and dies from multiple wounds he attained.
  • Johnno – One of the Rowhurst rugby players who is killed during the ambush at the Fez.
  • Jordan Hordern – The leader of the Imperial War Museum group. Jordan is very interested in war and strategy, and he takes control when his group arrives at the Tower of London.
  • Justin – The last of the three nerds. He is put in charge of driving the Tesco truck. He later in the book is in charge of driving with Brooke across the busy bridge.
  • Kwanele Nkosi – A fashion-obsessed African student from Rowhurst. Kwanele is cowardly and unwilling to help out with anything for fear of ruining his clothes. Ed Carter is greatly annoyed by this behaviour.
  • Kyle – A boy whom Ed meets during the battle on the bridge. He joins Ed trek through London and serves as his right-hand-man in the Tower of London.
  • Liam Thorne – Son of Greg Thorne. When Greg realizes that he is not immune from the disease and, because he has become infected, he cannot care for Liam, he strangles Liam. Greg then carries Liam's body wherever he goes, until it drops from a bridge.
  • Malik – A Muslim friend of Ed Carter. Malik is killed in the ambush at the Fez.
  • Matthew – A boy from the church. Suffering carbon monoxide poisoning and the emotional trauma from the disease epidemic, Matthew forms a religion about a boy known as "The Lamb" who make things right. He hijacks the sightseeing boat but crashes it, then floats downriver on its remains. At the end of the novel, his fate is unknown. However, it is likely he survived since the fourth book in the series, The Sacrifice, is stated to focus on Small Sam and 'The Kid', who bare resemblance to 'The Lamb' and 'The Goat'. Furthermore, it is said by Matthew that 'The Goat' must be sacrificed so 'The Lamb' would have no shadow.
  • Piers – A student from Rowhurst. Piers is one of the Rugby players and a friend of Bam. He is injured early in the novel and dies when Kwanele and Ed leave him at the bus.
  • Pod – A boy who serves as head of security for David King.
  • The Sullivan Brothers - Twin rugby players from Rowhurst named Damien and Anthony. Both are killed at the Fez.
  • Wiki – A small boy who seems to know everything.
  • Zohra – Froggie's sister. The two cute little siblings enjoy chatting with Arthur, Justin, and Wiki.


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