The Sacrifice (Higson novel)
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|Genre||Horror, Young Adult, Thriller|
|20 September 2012|
|Media type||Print (hardcover)|
|Followed by||The Fallen|
The Sacrifice is a post-apocalyptic young adult horror novel written by best-selling author Charlie Higson. The book takes place in London after a worldwide sickness has infected adults turning them into something akin to zombies and begins five days after the end of The Fear. It was published by Puffin Books in the UK and Australia on 20 September 2012. The Sacrifice is the fourth novel in the Enemy series with previous instalments titled The Enemy,The Dead and The Fear.
Small Sam and the Kid have been living at the Tower of London for a few weeks after their escapades through London as described in The Enemy. Jordan Hordern calls a council to discuss the punishment for Brendan, a kid who was caught stealing food from the stores. After getting Brendan to confess, Jordan sentences him to death. Before he is executed, Jordan reduces the punishment to exile due to complaints by the residents of the Tower. Brendan is exiled and wanders off through the so-called "no go zone". The No Go Zone is at the heart of Old London and the sickos there are said to be unpredictable and dangerous. While eating breakfast, some sentries spot a group of kids running into a pub after being chased by sickos. Ed and a few other kids including Kyle, a violent, but strong fighter, head to the pub, and rescue a 14-year-old girl named Tish who is wearing all green. Ed, however, in a moment of hesitation, accidentally slits a wounded girl's throat during the fighting.
Tish is put in the same bunk house as Sam and The Kid. She convinces Sam that Jordan and Ed have other motives and want to imprison him. They decide to escape to try to get to Buckingham Palace to find Sam's sister, Ella. They successfully escape, but find themselves caught up in the no-go zone surrounded by sickos. To escape them, they head underground, which the Kid has a significant knowledge of. After finding their way through the tunnels, they are rescued by more kids, each wearing all green like Tish.
Ed, who has grown worried about Sam and The Kid's sudden disappearance, decides to launch a search party in hope of finding them. They make their way through London and eventually wind up at the Houses of Parliament with Nicola.
Meanwhile, Shadowman has tracked the Fear consistently and is learning more about their evolving organisation. He learns that they have become more intelligent and have established a chain of command with St. George and his lieutenants at the top. While spying on the Fear, he spots a group of kids who don't realise how large The Fear are, (200–300 sickos). When he tries to warn them, they are attacked and surrounded. They escape, but one of the kids, Ricky, is eaten alive. The group run to their car. but it turns out that the keys were in Ricky's pocket. Shadowman returns to the Fear's hiding place and gets the keys from Ricky's dead body. He returns to the car, and they drive away. Jaz, filled with anger, tries to run over the remaining sickos as they retreat, but she winds up crashing the car. The scene cuts to Shadowman lying in the now upside down car, and Jaz is unfortunately bitten by a sicko. Shadowman passes out soon after, but is rescued by Jaz's friends, who take him to their headquarters, a derelict Ikea store. There, Shadowman learns Jaz died of blood loss after being bitten by a sicko.
Sam and The Kid follow their saviours to their home, St. Paul's Cathedral. It turns out that they are a part of Mad Matt's cult, And their belief is that Sam and The Kid are the Lamb and Goat who are mentioned by Mad Matt himself. They imprison the both of them, and eventually decide to sacrifice The Kid to Wormwood, an adult sicko who displays intelligence, a trait not spotted in any sickos besides St George. However Sam manages to survive and the Kid manages to convince Wormwood not to eat him.
Ed and the rest of his group make it to St. Paul's where they rescue Sam. The Cathedral gets overrun with sickos and Matt and his goons manage to lock themselves inside. We don't see if they make it out. Ed's group along with Sam and a girl from The Cathedral run into an abandoned building for cover and there find The Kid and Wormwood. Wormwood helps them to escape by communicating telepathically with the sickos. Brendan, Tish, and Adele die trying to help Ed's crew escape.
Shadowman, meanwhile watches the demise of Jaz's group, due to an ill-advised attack led by Saif, (the leader of Jaz's group and her boyfriend) on the Fear from a high vantage point. He goes down to try and help one kid he thinks might be alive, but he was incorrect and gets attacked by one of St. George's lieutenants (Bluetooth). He runs as hard as he can on a gimpy leg and is saved when he runs into Ed's Crew, and with the assistance of Ed's group they destroy Bluetooth's gang, and Bluetooth himself. Shadowman takes them to a safe hiding spot, where Shadowman reveals his real name, Dylan Peake. Ed and Dylan swap notes on St George and his army, but agree that they will deal with the issue later.
The book ends with Jordan Hordern declaring that he will clear the No-Go Zone after being informed of Ed's trip through London by Hayden whom Ed has sent back to the Tower. We read reflections from Nicola, David, Jordan, Ed, and St. George himself about how things are beginning to change.
Ed and The Kid believe that Wormwood may be the key to possibly stopping all of this. It is made clear that Wormwood was a doctor studying parasitic rainforest diseases. We are led to believe that he may be the first case of the virus attacking a human. He repeats the phrase "out with the bad blood, and in with the good" to the kid which may lead us to the fact that blood transfusions can control or even kill the parasite.
- Small Sam – A nine-year-old boy from Waitrose who is currently living in the Tower of London. Sam was separated from his sister, Ella, in The Enemy when he was taken by a group of adults and is desperate to find her. After The Kid, Tish, and himself leave the Tower, Tish takes them to St. Paul's Cathedral. Mad Matt believes Small Sam is a part of his new religion and is known as The Lamb. He is later reunited with Ed at the end of the book.
- The Kid – A nine-year-old boy who became friends with Small Sam after rescuing him from a couple of adults living in Kings Cross. His real name is unknown. After he is turned over to Mad Matt, who in Matt's religion is known as the Goat. Matt then sacrifices him to Wormwood, but The Kid manages to survive and escape along with Wormwood, Small Sam, and Ed's group from the Tower.
- Ed – The second in command at the Tower of London. He is 16-years old and was the main character in The Dead. He has a distinctive facial scar after being attacked with a meat cleaver by a crazed adult.
- Kyle – A boy whom Ed meets during a battle in The Dead. He serves as Ed's right-hand-man in the Tower of London. Joins Ed's group who go to rescue Sam.
- Hayden – Joins Ed's group who go to rescue Sam. The fastest runner at the Tower.
- Macca- Joins Ed's group who go to rescue Sam. A good fighter.
- Will- Joins Ed's group who go to rescue Sam. He is smart and often advises Ed.
- Adele- Joins Ed's group who go to rescue Sam. She dresses fully in Pink and a scary fighter. Dies during the battle on the Wobbly bridge.
- Shadowman – A boy who spies on settlements over London. He starts to follow St George to learn about his army and ends up tracking St George (see below) across north London and watching him steadily build up his army, which Shadowman names "The Fear" . He knows St George is going to become extremely dangerous but nobody he tries to warn, except for Ed and his crew takes him seriously.
- Mad Matt – 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. Now living at St. Paul's Cathedral with all of his followers. When Small Sam and The Kid arrive are taken to the cathedral by Tish (see below), Matt truly believes that the two are the Lamb and the Goat. Furthermore, it is said by Matthew that 'The Goat' must be sacrificed so 'The Lamb' would have no shadow. His fate is unknown after the Cathedral is overrun by grown-ups.
- Archie Bishop – Mad Mat's second in command. He starts to lose faith in Mad Matt's religion as it gets more and more extreme. His also fate is unknown after the Cathedral is overrun.
- Nathan – Matt's head of security at St Pauls Cathedral. His also fate is unknown after the Cathedral is overrun.
- Wormwood aka The Green Man- covered in mould and intelligent. Wormwood can think more clearly than he can talk – after a fashion. Among his weird ramblings we realise that he knows something about the cause and history of the disease.
- Tish – A fourteen year-old girl who is rescued from a pack of sickos by a group of kids lead by Ed outside the Tower of London. She is put into the house Small Sam and The Kid are staying in and she convinces them to leave the Tower and look for Sam's sister, Ella. She is later revealed to be a part of Mad Matt's group at St. Paul's Cathedral. But later dies while fighting sickos on the Wobbly bridge helping Ed's group.
- Jordan Hordern – The leader of the kids staying at the Tower of London. He is very interested in war and strategy and has ordered the kids in the Tower into certain regiments. It is revealed at the end of the book that he is slowly losing his eye-sight.
- Brendan – A kid from the Tower of London who is exiled from the Tower by Jordan Hordern after stealing canned peaches from the Tower's kitchen. He later tells Mad Matt that Small Sam and The Kid are staying at the Tower of London. He later sides with Ed after the sickos get into St. Paul's Cathedral, but later dies fighting grown-ups on the Wobbly bridge.
- Jaz – A girl who Shadowman meets whilst tracking "The Fear". She is later dragged away by "The Fear" after her car, with Johnny and Shadowman in the vehicle, crashes.
- Johnny – A boy who is a part of Jaz's group and is the only surviving member. He later makes it back to the Ikea.
- Ricky – A boy who is a part of Jaz's group. He doesn't believe Shadowman's information about "The Fear" and is later devoured by them.
- Saif – The leader of the kids at Ikea. Shadowman warns him of "The Fear", whom Saif underestimates, and takes his best fighters to kill St George's army of zombies but him and his fighters are all apparently killed although we do no specifically see him die.
- Saint George – The zombie in the St. George shirt, previously known as Greg Thorne. He is previously from Higson's other novel "The Dead". He is far more intelligent than most adults, even to the extent of remembering some words and keeping some ability to plan for the future. Toward the end of the novel, the reader learns that Saint George can still think and has created a plan to hunt down and devour all children.
- Bluetooth – One of the more intelligent zombies that herds the weakest and the slowest zombies. Bluetooth wears a suit and a bluetooth earpiece. At the end of the book Bluetooth is killed by the Shadowman.
- Man U and Spike – Two of the more clever zombies that stay at St Georges side throughout the novel. Man U wears a Manchester United shirt, giving him his name, and Spike was shot by Shadowman with his crossbow and his bolt stuck in which looked like a spike.
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