The second book in Charlie Higson’s The Enemy series, Higson has opted for a none-linear approach to this series and this time we follow a completely separate group of youngsters as they try to survive in the world filled with ravenous, kid-hungry adults. Set one year before the occurrences of the first book, during a time when it seems the world is just beginning to experience the true and horrific nature of the disease that has wiped out or transformed the adult population. We follow a group of boys, initially holding out at their boarding school fighting off hordes of teachers afflicted by the disease. The group has a mixture of characters that you would be familiar with in any school setting from jocks, geeks and misfits each with their own personalities, strengths, skills and way of dealing with the horrors at hand.
The two characters at the forefront of the story are Jack and Ed, best friends but both with completely different approaches to dealing with what they are faced with. Jack, on one hand is a fighter, whereas Ed isn’t able to bring himself to do any harm to the once protective, now homicidal, vile, puss and boil covered adults.
In this story the kids do find some security in the form of Greg, an adult who is unaffected by the disease and somewhat more organised, laden with supplies and in possession of a vehicle. Eventually, due to shocking and horrific circumstances the children must separate from Greg and this leads them to the safety of the Imperial War Museum. Under the reign of Jordan Hordern the group do experience some luck but as always Higson is able to snatch this sense of security away with the introduction of other dangers.
Throughout the story the relationships develop between all the characters. Jack and Ed’s relationship is tested throughout and it’s great to see new relationships form. It’s hard not to become attached to the group and hope for their survival, every individual has their own unique personality and dialogue all of which feel realistic.
Another aspect of this book that added to the intrigue was the recognisable characters that we were introduced to in The Enemy, we are reintroduced to David King before he occupies Buckingham palace. As with the first book it was also filled with plenty of action and nail biting suspense. I’ve become used to the idea that nobody is safe in Higson’s series and this had me glued to each page with a sense of trepidation. Action scenes were quick and brutal as well as gruesomely detailed and gore filled. This is a must read for any zombie fan, the Enemy series is great and I can’t wait to see how the series concludes.