The Enemy (Higson novel)
|Genre||Horror, Young Adult, Thriller, Adventure|
|Publisher||Puffin Books (UK), Disney Hyperion (US)|
|September 2, 2009 (UK), 2010 (US)|
|Media type||Print (Hardcover)|
|Followed by||The Dead|
The Enemy is a post-apocalyptic young adult horror novel written by Charlie Higson. The book takes place in London, after a worldwide sickness has infected adults turning them into something akin to voracious, cannibalistic zombies. Puffin Books released The Enemy in the UK on 3 September 2009, Disney Hyperion in the US on 11 May 2010.
The Enemy is the first book in a planned series of seven. Puffin Books released the second novel in the series, titled The Dead, on 16 September 2010; the third novel, titled The Fear, on 15 September 2011; the fourth novel, The Sacrifice, on the 20 September 2012; the fifth novel, The Fallen, on 12 September 2013; the sixth novel, The Hunted, on 4 September 2014; and the final book, The End, is scheduled to be released in 2015. Disney Hyperion released Higson's short story companion book in the series, titled Geeks vs. Zombies, on June 5, 2012; it portrays an exclusive scene from The Fear, on World Book Day.
||This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (March 2014)|
Original, British publication
The story takes place in London, a year after a worldwide sickness has infected all of the adults, turning them into voracious, cannibalistic, zombie-like creatures. The surviving children have formed a number of groups throughout England in order to better combat the threat posed by the adults and to increase their odds of survival. Several children have made a base within the confines of a Waitrose supermarket. Led by a boy named Arran and his second-in-command, Maxie, the group has grown increasingly frustrated because children are being kidnapped and killed by infected adults. The adults are becoming smarter; consequently, the children are being picked off more frequently.
A scavenger party, composed of Arran, Achilleus, Ollie, Freak, and Deke, becomes trapped by infected adults while exploring a building. During the ensuing fight, Deke is killed, and Arran is bitten by an adult female zombie he thinks might have been his mother. The bite sickens him, and the group only just manages to escape.
Later that night a boy in a patchwork coat, named Jester, arrives at the gates of Waitrose and asks for the group's help. He says he has come from Buckingham Palace, where a group of kids is based in a safe environment. He claims that if they all travel there, Arran's group will be safe as well. The majority of the group likes the idea and soon sets off through Camden to the palace, along with another group of kids from a nearby Morrisons supermarket, who share the same feeling. A loner named Callum decides to stay behind on his own, afraid to leave the confines of his base.
Meanwhile, Small Sam, whom the adults had kidnapped earlier, awakens in an adult base at Arsenal Stadium. He escapes and heads back to Waitrose to find only Callum, as the other children have left. Callum explains that the other children are headed for Buckingham Palace, and Sam sets off to catch up with them.
Sam is unable to catch up with the other kids and is chased by adults into the London Underground; he gets as far as Kings Cross when an older, apparently uninfected man, named Nick, appears and saves him. Nick has been living in the tunnels inside a train with his wife, Rachael. The couple aids Sam but are revealed to have sinister motives. Later Sam discovers he is chained up with three other children whom the couple has found, and it seems the couple are cannibals. With the help of a young boy known only as "The Kid", Sam escapes. Nick chases them but, once outside, quickly rots from the infection and dies. Sam and The Kid go on, eventually making it to safety at the Tower of London, where another group of kids has taken shelter.
As the Waitrose-Morrison's group travels to Buckingham Palace they are attacked by a pack of grown-ups, led by a father wearing a St George's Cross shirt. The children win the fight, but Arran has gone out of control because of his bite wound and gets carried away with killing the adults. As a result, Sophie, a girl from another group, mistakes him for an adult and shoots him with an arrow. Maxie comes to Arran's aid, but he dies in her arms. The Waitrose-Morrison's group then teams up with Sophie's group, and after a few more skirmishes they eventually manage to find Buckingham Palace.
The group of kids meets David King, the leader of the Buckingham Palace group. He seems to have things well worked out but turns out to be hiding the truth of his plans. He pressures the Waitrose-Morrison's group into going to Hyde Park, opposite the palace, to peacefully talk with a group of kids, called the "squatters", about joining the group at Buckingham Palace. However, after the squatters' leader, Just John, refuses, a fight breaks out. After a tough fight in which Freak dies, the Waitrose-Morrison's group captures John and takes him back to the palace.
John and David come to an agreement: Achilleus and Just John fight to the death over the territorial ownership of the park. Achilleus wins and spares Just John's life.
Callum becomes overly upset at his loneliness, despite having stashed goods which he'd hidden from the other kids, and he becomes even more upset when he remembers having had to kill his own mother after the epidemic. He loses all hope as adults led by Saint George break into the store and then kill him.
Maxie and Ollie find that they don't trust David because of how he acts and his obsession with taking over London. Maxie expresses her concerns to the rest of the group, and they decide to escape. David and Jester attempt to stop them, but the escapees succeed, including a girl named Brooke, who leads them to the Natural History Museum, where there is another group of kids.
Meanwhile, Saint George continues to grow smarter and to lead his army of adults through London, searching out more kids. He craves more power and destruction, and wants to kill and eat every last child he can find...
Disney Hyperion, the series' American publisher, wanted to target the books at a slightly older audience. Consequently, the cutoff age for infection was raised from 14 to 16, and some of the characters were aged up accordingly. Additionally, some of the cultural references and terminology unique to the United Kingdom were changed to ones that American readers were more likely to understand.
- Arran - The first leader of the Waitrose group and the novel's main character in its early pages, but he soon dies. He is bitten by a zombified woman whom he believes was his mother and, soon afterward, is shot by an arrow from Sophie's bow. There are hints that he has feelings for Maxie, but, as he dies, he is unable to follow up on those feelings.
- Achilleus ("Akkie") - The strongest fighter in the Waitrose group. He can be moody and sarcastic, but his fighting skills make him a valuable member of the group. He blames Freak for the incident at the swimming pool that cost Deke and Arran their lives. He, too, makes it out of David's rule of the palace.
- Blue - The leader of the Morrisons group and one of the novel's main characters. He explains to Maxie that he was once a bookworm, fat, and not so good with fighting. But after the disease started to affect the adults and the early kids had all been killed off by the grown-ups, Blue had to learn to fight, and he became a very strong leader. He tells Maxie he likes her but is worried because of her feelings for Arran.
- Ben - One of the Waitrose group, an emo, and Bernie's best friend. Greatly interested in engineering, he and Bernie (known as "the twins") set up the defense system around the Waitrose. When they arrive at Buckingham Palace, they try to make plans for heating and such, but David disregards them. At the end of the novel, the twins are among those who escape David's rule of the Palace.
- Bernie - One of the Waitrose group, an emo who's responsible for lots of the engineering feats of the group, and Ben's best friend (see above).
- Callum - A Waitrose boy who is extremely agoraphobic and refuses to leave with the other children. He survives on his own for a while but eventually succumbs to bitter loneliness and lets the adults kill him after they break into the store.
- Carl - One of the squatters in the park. He looks like a pirate and seems to be "Just John"'s second in command.
- David King - The leader of the Buckingham Palace group. He is a power-hungry teenager who attempts to restore the British monarchy under his personal control.
- Deke - A boy in the Waitrose group. He is Freak's best friend and, before the epidemic, always hung around with him. During the swimming pool episode, Deke dies after suffering a punctured lung from a broken vending machine glass, and grown-ups take him away to eat him.
- Ella - A young girl in the Waitrose group; Small Sam's sister. She constantly misses her brother.
- Freak - A boy in the Waitrose group. He is Deke's best friend and, before the epidemic, always hung around with him. Well liked by most of the kids, he becomes one of Maxie's closest friends, but he struggles to get on with Achilleus, who blames Freak for the deaths of Arran and Deke in the swimming pool episode. "Just John" fatally stabs Freak as Freak saves Maxie.
- Jester - David King's right-hand man in the Buckingham Palace group. He is the boy who walks to meet the Waitrose and Morrisons groups and persuades them to undertake the trek to the Palace, where he says life is.
- Joel - A little boy who carries around a puppy called Godzilla. He is killed during an attack in Regent's Park.
- Josh - A boy in the Waitrose group. After Achilleus, Josh is the second-best fighter of the group and claims he isn't scared of anything. He is killed by infected monkeys.
- "Just John" - The leader of the squatters in the park. He is nearly killed by Achilleus, and he and his group are cast out of the park.
- The Kid - A nine-year-old boy who saves Small Sam from Nick and Rachel.
- Lewis - A boy in the Morrisons group and one of its best fighters. Lewis has an Afro and always looks sleepy, but he has surprisingly good reactions. During the journey of the combined Waitrose-Morrisons group to Buckingham Palace, he commands the left flank and becomes a supporting character towards the end of the novel, striking up a friendship with Achilleus.
- Maxie - A girl in the Waitrose group; one of the novel's main characters. After Arran dies, Maxie, who had been his second in command, takes on the leadership of the Waitrose group, but her memory of Arran keeps her from staying mentally strong. She overcomes this and becomes a good leader after Ollie privately tells her he believes the Waitrose kids need a leader to look up to, to make hard decisions, and to ensure the Waitrose group does not become "second class citizens" to the Morrisons and Buckingham Palace groups. He tells her that she can be perfect for this role. At the end of the novel, she is among those who escape David's rule of the Palace.
- Ollie - A boy in the Waitrose group and a central character in the novel. Ollie is red-haired, a skirmisher, sharp, and quick-witted; he is, generally, the brains of the group. He says that he lost his little brother during a riot and wants to stay alive as the last member of his family. At the end of the novel, he is among those who escape David's rule of the Palace.
- Paddy the Caddy - An Irish boy who is originally part of Just John's group at the park. He admires Achilleus after his fight with Just John, and Achilleus makes Paddy his apprentice. Achilleus also makes Paddy carry all of Achilleus' weapons in a golf club bag.
- Saint George - The zombie in the St. George's Cross shirt. He is far more intelligent than most adults, even to the extent of remembering some words and retaining some ability to plan for the future. Toward the end of the novel, Saint George creates a plan to hunt down and devour all children.
- Small Sam - A nine-year-old boy in the Waitrose group, Ella's brother, and a main character in the novel. Early on, he becomes separated from the group after being kidnapped by adults. He escapes and discovers adults who do not seem to affected by the disease but still eat children. Again, he escapes and meets a new group of children at the Tower of London.
- Sophie - A girl from another group, which merges with the combined Waitrose-Morrisons group on its way to Buckingham Palace. Sophie accidentally shoots the already-wounded Arran with an arrow, killing him. She leaves the Palace during the fight between Achilleus and Just John.
- Whitney - The second-in-command of the Morrisons group and a central character in the novel. After the Morrisons and Waitrose groups merge, Whitney strikes up a good friendship with Maxie. Whitney, in the end, also escapes David's rule.
- Maeve - A girl with medical knowledge, who is in the Waitrose group; she is friendly with Maxie and is one of those who escapes David's rule.
- Monkey Boy - A little boy who got the nickname 'Monkey Boy' for his fondness to climb things.
- Pod - David's head of security at the palace. Described as blond and good looking.
- "First look at The Enemy". The Young Bond Dossier. Retrieved April 6, 2009.
- "Is Young Bond Series 2 still a possibility?". Young Bond Dossier. September 24, 2010.
- Higson, Charlie (September 4, 2014). The Hunted (Paperback ed.). ISBN 9780141336107.
- "A Master Class in Dealing With the Undead". Mostly-Books. September 15, 2011.
- Higson, Charlie (June 5, 2012). Geeks vs. Zombies. Disney Hyperion. p. 34. ISBN 9780141344249.
- "Book Description: Geeks v. Zombies". Amazon.com. 2012.
- "Interview: May 2010". Teenreads.com. May 2010.