Book Chat: The Dead (An Enemy Novel)

by Charlie Higson

Children all over the UK try to survive the sudden eruption of madness in adults, turning them into savage creatures with only one thing on their mind – devour kids!

MYRA’S HORROR BLOG REVIEWS : I wanted to write reviews as if I were sharing the love of a book with a friend. What I liked about it, from storyline to characters; to include any parts that had a negative impact on me as a reader. Join me on the couch as we explore today’s exciting read.





THE DEAD begins one year before the action in THE ENEMY, just after the Disaster. A terrible disease has struck everyone sixteen and over, leaving them either dead or a decomposing, flesh-eating creature. The action starts in a boarding school just outside London, where all the teachers have turned into sickos. A few kids survive and travel by bus into the city. The bus driver, an adult named Greg, seems to be unaffected by the disease. Then he begins to show the dreaded signs: outer blisters and inner madness. The kids escape Greg and end up at the Imperial War Museum. A huge fire in South London drives them all to the Thames, and eventually over the river to the Tower of London. It is there they will meet up with the kids in THE ENEMY in Book 3, THE FEAR.


It started on YouTube with a video posted from a young boy, titled “Scared Kid”.  Everyone thought it was a good prank, a boy terrified beyond belief- claiming that Mothers and Fathers (hence the nickname for the infected adults) were killing kids. Who would believe it? Not until the crazed cannibals raged through their streets and pounded on their door, did people realize a deadly virus was sweeping through the UK and the world.

Friends Jack and Ed were trapped in their school when the infection erupted, along with other schoolmates. When the sickos broke through their barriers, they managed to escape. The children counted it a blessing when Greg came along in a school bus and picked them up, along with other kids already onboard. They didn’t understand why the driver hadn’t turned like all adults; they were just happy for the safety the bus afforded. When Greg began to sprout sores and act crazy, they fled the bus, fighting infected waiting outside, seeking shelter in the Imperial War Museum.

The Museum’s leader, Jordan, doesn’t want them staying past one night. Then he relents, agreeing they can stay if they provide for themselves. The Museum is a gold mine, filled with weapons, many unusable, but plenty that are good for killing. Seeking supplies, Jack and his friends run across scores of the sickos on the streets and miraculously discover a large truck filled with food. Jordan welcomes them back with open arms when he sees how resourceful they are at scavenging.

Jack has been determined from the beginning to head back home and see it one last time. Bam and Ed insist on going with him, and not unexpectedly, they ran into many sickos. Jack was an interesting character. Stubborn, a fighter and leader, someone the kids needed during their darkest hours. While I understood his desire to see his home again, his pigheadedness ultimately got his friend Bam killed and then led to his own demise. Ed was a multifaceted character study. He seemed a coward at first, never wanting to confront the horrors around them. But he reached a breaking point, where he went into a rage, reminding me of “berserkers”, doing real damage to the infected attacking them. The end scene between Jack and Ed was very touching.

After Jack dies, Ed heads back to the museum and gets surrounded by adults. He has no hope of coming out alive, but then hears shots coming his way. Surprisingly, a troop of schoolboys wearing red blazers rescue him. Once they get back to the museum, it is clear the leader, David, wants to run things. His group is told by Jordan to look elsewhere for their own place.

This story pulls you into a lot of action between children trying to survive and the crazed adults wanting to devour them. There is sadness along with many uplifting moments as the kids fight heroically. There are numerous minor characters and horrific scenes which could not be covered in this review. Recommended for zombie lovers and followers of the Enemy series.






NOTE: All my reviews are published in Uncaged Book Reviews emag. This review will be in the April issue.