The Sacrifice (Higson novel)
|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, released by Puffin Books in the UK and Australia on 20 September 2012, is the fourth book in a planned seven-book series, titled The Enemy. The Sacrifice takes place in London, a year after a worldwide sickness has infected adults, turning them into something akin to voracious, cannibalistic zombies and begins five days after the end of The Fear.
Puffin Books released the first novel in the series, titled The Enemy, in the UK on 3 September 2009; Disney Hyperion released it in the US on 11 May 2010. 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 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 5 June 2012; it portrays an exclusive scene from The Fear, on World Book Day.
Small Sam and The Kid have been living at the Tower of London for a few weeks following 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 group's cache. After getting Brendan to confess, Jordan sentences him to death. Before executing Brendan, Jordan reduces the punishment to exile, in response to complaints by other 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,6 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, 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 kills a wounded girl 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 corneredd by sickos but are ultimately 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 (over 100 sickos). When he tries to warn them, they are attacked and surrounded. Most escape, but one of the kids, Ricky, is eaten alive. Shadowman runs with the group to their car, but 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. He passes out and is rescued by Jaz's friends, who take him to their headquarters, an Ikea store. There, Shadowman learns Jaz died of blood loss after the sickos ate her foot, which had protruded outside the overturned vehicle.
Sam and The Kid follow their saviours to their home, St. Paul's Cathedral. It turns out that the rescuers and Tish are all members of Mad Matt's cult, and they believe that Sam and The Kid are the Lamb and Goat that Matt and his banner have referred to. Matt's group imprisons both boys and eventually decide to sacrifice The Kid to Wormwood, an adult sicko who displays intelligence as does St. George. But unlike St. George, Wormwood has the ability to talk, a trait not spotted in any other sickos. However, 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 followers manage to lock themselves inside. Ed's group, along with Sam and Charlotte, a girl from St. Paul's 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's declaring that he will clear the No Go Zone after Hayden informs him of Ed's trip through London. 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 scientist studying parasitic rain forest diseases, and 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.
- 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 Greg who is now St. George and was formally a man who saved and drove Ed and his friend to London in the first book The Dead.
- 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 Paul's 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 led 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 eyesight.
- 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 the sickos on the Wobbly bridge trying to buy Ed's group time.
- 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 he and his fighters are all apparently killed although we[who?] 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 George's 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.
- Higson, Charlie (20 September 2012). The Sacrifice (The Enemy series, #4). Puffin Books.
- "Is Young Bond Series 2 still a possibility?". Young Bond Dossier. 24 September 2010.
- "First look at The Enemy". The Young Bond Dossier. Retrieved 6 April 2009.
- Higson, Charlie (4 September 2014). The Hunted (Paperback ed.). ISBN 9780141336107.
- "A Master Class in Dealing With the Undead". Mostly-Books. 15 September 2011.
- Higson, Charlie (5 June 2012). Geeks vs. Zombies. Disney Hyperion. p. 34. ISBN 9780141344249.
- "Book Description: Geeks v. Zombies". Amazon.com. 2012.