The Enemy (Higson novel)

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The Enemy
Author Charlie Higson
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Series The Enemy
Genre Horror, Young Adult, Thriller, Adventure
Publisher Puffin Books (UK), Disney Hyperion (US)
Publication date
September 2, 2009 (UK), 2010 (US)
Media type Print (Hardcover)
Pages 440
ISBN 978-0-14-138464-1
OCLC 373478708
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.[1]

The Enemy is the first book in a planned series of seven.[2] 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;[3] and the final book, The End, was released in 2015.[4] Disney Hyperion released Higson's short story companion book in the series, titled Geeks vs. Zombies, on June 5, 2012;[5] it portrays an exclusive scene from The Fear, on World Book Day.[6]

Plot Summary[edit]

Original, British publication[edit]

In London, a year after a pandemic has turned adults into zombie-like creatures, the surviving children have formed a number of groups to better combat the threat. A group in a Waitrose supermarket led by Arran and his second-in-command, Maxie, grows increasingly frustrated as children are kidnapped and killed by infected adults, who are becoming smarter. 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 a zombie bites Arran. The bite sickens him, and the group barely escapes.

Later that night, a boy in a patchwork coat named Jester invites the group to Buckingham Palace, which he claims is safe. The majority of the group likes the idea and leaves through Camden to the palace, along with another group of kids from a nearby Morrisons supermarket. A loner named Callum stays behind on his own, afraid to leave the confines of his base. Meanwhile, Small Sam, whom the adults had kidnapped earlier, awakens in a base at Arsenal Stadium. He escapes to Waitrose, and Callum explains that the other children left for Buckingham Palace.

Sam is unable to catch up with the other kids, and adults chase him into the London Underground; he gets as far as Kings Cross when an older, apparently uninfected man named Nick saves him. Nick has been living in the tunnels inside a train with his wife, Rachael. The couple aids Sam but are revealed to be cannibals. Sam is chained up with two other children whom the couple has found. 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 eventually make 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 adults, led by a father wearing a St George's Cross shirt. The children win the fight, but Arran's bite wound causes him to go berserk. 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 teams up with Sophie's group, and after a few more skirmishes, they 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 had 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 kill him.

Maxie and Ollie find that they do not 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 escape from David and Jester. A girl named Brooke 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.

U.S. publication[edit]

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.[7]



  • Arran Harper - The charismatic and intelligent 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. 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, aggressive 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.
  • 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. His head is later placed on a pole carried by the adults who killed him.
  • Curly Sam - A small kid in the Waitrose group with curly hair who acts like a know-it-all. He is left behind during the attack in Regent's Park.
  • 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. She, along with Blu-Tack Bill and Monkey Boy, take over caring for Godzilla after the death of Joel.
  • 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. His real name is David.
  • 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.
  • Katey - A young girl in the Waitrose group. She is left behind during the attack in Regent's Park.
  • Louise - A young girl in the Waitrose group. She is left behind during the attack in Regent's Park.
  • 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.
  • Maxie - A feisty and independent 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.
  • Monkey Boy - A little boy who got the nickname 'Monkey Boy' for his fondness to climb things. He, along with Ella and Blu-Tack Bill, takes over caring for Godzilla after the death of Joel.
  • 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.
  • Small Sam - A surprisingly bravenine-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.


  • Alice - A little girl, who plays with Godzilla after Joel is killed.
  • Big Mick - A fighter in the Morrisons group. He is shown in the background several times throughout the journey to Buckingham Palace. He, in the end, is among those to escape David's rule.
  • 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.
  • Blu-Tack Bill - A young boy from Morrisons who never speaks, apparently traumatized by the deaths of his parents. He is always seen playing with putty, which is stated to be the ony thing that makes him happy. He, along with Ella and Monkey Boy, takes over caring for Godzilla after the death of Joel.
  • Joel - A little boy who carries around a puppy called Godzilla. He is killed during an attack in Regent's Park.
  • 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. He escapes the palace in the end.
  • 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.

Buckingham Palace:

  • Big Nose - A guard at the palace. He carries a gun, and at one point guards the door to the infirmary where Maxie and Blue are held captive. He seems more doubtful that David will manage to take over London, and would rather be a farmer than a guard. After Achilleus and Lewis free Maxie and Blue, he begs to be taken with them when they leave, as he has had enough of David's crap and knows he will be punished if he stays. They oblige, and he is among those to escape the palace, though he is apparently not sure he made the right choice. He is described as fair-haired, and slightly shorter than Spotty.
  • David King - The leader of the Buckingham Palace group. He is an arrogant, psychopathic and megalomaniacal teenager who attempts to restore the British monarchy under his personal control. He is pale skinned, has a lot of freckles, and looks to be seventeen years old. He is extravagant and vain, dressing excessively in a black suit.
  • Franny - David's head farmer at the palace. She works hard.
  • 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. He wears a patchwork coat to memorialize all those he has lost. Despite this apparent honour, he is an insensitive, snobby and condescending.
  • Pod - David's head of security at the palace. Described as blond and good looking.
  • Rose - The head doctor at the palace. Loyal to David, but seems to feel guilty about imprisoning Maxie and Blue.
  • Spotty - A guard at the palace. Carries a gun, and at one point guards the door to the infirmary where Maxie and Blue are held captive. He seems to believe his position is great, and will be rewarded after David takes over London, which he firmly believes will happen. He is slightly taller than Big Nose, and has short, curly brown hair and an infestation of acne.


  • Carl - One of the squatters in the park. He looks like a pirate and seems to be "Just John"'s second in command. He is slightly taller and slightly older than "Just John".
  • "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. He, like Achilleus, has designs shaved into his head.
  • 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. His real name is Patrick. In the end, he is among those to escape the palace.


  • Nick - A man who has avoided the virus by hiding in the underground with his wife, Rachael. They have survived by scavenging, but still need to eat meat. To get meat, they kidnap children they find in the underground, fatten them up and eat them eventually, restraining them "for their own safety". They eventually find Small Sam, and try to eat him, keeping him with others. The Kid frees Sam, and Nick pursues them out of the underground into the sunlight, where the virus kills him after he nearly kills them. He has dreadlocks.
  • Rachael - Nick's wife, who has avoided the virus by hiding in the underground with him. She helps him secure children and eat them.
  • 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. He serves as the main antagonist and Bigger Bad of the book.


  • Claire - A little girl who is held captive by Nick and Rachael. She is well fed, but feeble, and spends most of her time sleeping. When The Kid tries to free her, she does not go with him, not realizing what Nick and Rachael are, and remains in captivity.
  • Godzilla - A puppy carried and cared for by Joel, a member of the Morrisons group. After Joel's death, Godzilla mourns him. He is then cared for by Ella, Monkey Boy and Blu-Tack Bill. He is taken with the kids when they escape the palace.
  • Jason - Claire's twin brother, held captive by Nick and Rachael. When The Kid tries to free him, he does not go with him, remaining behind in captivity with his sister. He is well fed, but feeble, but seems more active than his sister.
  • The Kid - A nine-year-old boy who saves Small Sam from Nick and Rachael.
  • Orion - A ginger cat belonging to Nick and Rachael. Rhiannon and Small Sam think he is ugly. When some of the kids try to escape, they run into him, and he hisses in surprise, alerting Nick and Rachael to the escape.
  • Rhiannon - A girl Small Sam's age, held captive by Nick and Rachael. She has a chest infection, which is why she has not been eaten yet. When The Kid comes to free them, she leaves with him and Sam. However, her chest infection makes it hard for her to keep up, forcing them to drag her. She gets worse as they run on after they are discovered escaping by the adults, and eventually is left behind on an escalator after Nick shoots her. She slows Nick down by tripping him to allow Small Sam and The Kid time to escape. After Nick's death, Sam suggests going back for her, but they are forced to leave, due to approaching adults. Her ultimate fate is not resolved. She is described as fat, but with skinny legs. She is older than Sam.
  • 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.


  1. ^ "First look at The Enemy". The Young Bond Dossier. Retrieved April 6, 2009. 
  2. ^ "Is Young Bond Series 2 still a possibility?". Young Bond Dossier. September 24, 2010. 
  3. ^ Higson, Charlie (September 4, 2014). The Hunted (Paperback ed.). ISBN 9780141336107. 
  4. ^ "A Master Class in Dealing With the Undead". Mostly-Books. September 15, 2011. 
  5. ^ Higson, Charlie (June 5, 2012). Geeks vs. Zombies. Disney Hyperion. p. 34. ISBN 9780141344249. 
  6. ^ "Book Description: Geeks v. Zombies". 2012. 
  7. ^ "Interview: May 2010". May 2010. 

External links[edit]