The Dead (Higson novel)

The Dead (Higson novel)
The Dead (The Enemy 2)  
Author(s) Charlie Higson
Country United Kingdom and the rest of Europe
Language English
Series The Enemy
Genre(s) Horror, Young Adult, Thriller
Publisher Puffin Books
Publication date September 16, 2010
Media type Print (Hardcover)
Pages 450
ISBN 978-0141384658
Preceded by The Enemy
Followed by The Fear

The Dead is a post-apocalyptic young adult horror novel written by Charlie Higson. The book takes place a year before the events in The Enemy. It was published by Puffin Books in the UK on 16 September 2010.


Plot summary

The Dead begins a year before the events in The Enemy, two weeks after a worldwide sickness has infected all the adults turning them into zombies. Two fourteen-year-old boys called Jack and Ed are trapped with a group of other schoolboys in a boarding school in a remote village, a few miles from London.

After escaping from their school which is besieged by adults, including some of the former teachers. Jack and Ed rescue a French girl named Frederique from several adults and attempt to contact several boys inside a church. Alarmed that they do not reply they break into the church and find that the boys hiding inside are unconscious from carbon monoxide poisoning. They manage to revive them. Matt, a boy who has possibly suffered brain damage from the CO, believes himself to be the messenger of the Lamb of God and believes that he must go to St Paul's Cathedral in London. The group splits, with Matt and his "acolytes" (also joined by Jack) attempting to go to London, and the rest decide to leave for the countryside.

The group heading for the countryside are attacked by older, infected teenagers shortly after parting from the rest. They are saved by the timely intervention of Greg, an adult butcher who claims that he is immune to the disease, and his son Liam, who have acquired a bus and are collecting children and are transporting them to London. They meet several other children on the bus. Greg turns around, and they pick up Jack and the Acolytes, who are all still journeying towards London.

Greg explains how before the epidemic, he was staying with a farmer and his family, and how he had to kill a father and the older children, and indirectly remarks that he had to kill a crazy child because of the loss of his family and is seen to be eating dried meat. The bus halts for the night and Greg strangles Liam in his sleep, after realizing that he can no longer protect his son because soon, he will succumb to the disease.

The next morning Jack and Ed confront Greg about Liam's death. Greg is inexplicably wearing Liam's glasses. The bus is assaulted by several adults and the group escapes from the bus and make it to the Imperial War Museum in London.

The kids clash with the leader of the war museum party, Jordan, who refuses to let them stay in the museum, but compromises and lets them stay as long as they collect food for themselves. A group sets off and they explore until they find a Tesco truck with a partially decomposed corpse inside. Whilst they are attempting to get the truck to run, Frederique comes under attack by several adults. They fight off the adults and are surprised to find that she is unharmed. The group manage to drive back to the museum in the truck while Jack, Ed and another boy, Bam, set off to find Jack's home, where he has been planning to go since the beginning of the infection.

While this has been happening, Matt's movement has gained support in the museum. They rename the religion agnus dei, the Latin word for "Lamb of God". Matt foretells that the lamb will look like a boy and will have a shadow that is also a boy that must be sacrificed. Meanwhile, Frederique attacks Froggie, biting into his arm. She reveals that she is sixteen years old and was infected the entire time; it just took longer for her to succumb to the disease. She is locked in a storeroom by several of the kids.

Jack, Ed and Bam make their way to the Oval Cricket Ground. Outside the cricket ground are ambulances, army trucks and skips filled with dead bodies. They explore, finding several weapons and taking them. The entire stadium is full of corpses of the diseased that were going to be burned, but the soldiers were themselves infected or killed before they had a chance. They are then pursed by adults through the stadium. Jack has a sub-machine gun he found from a dead soldier and whilst trying to fend off adult, he hits a propane tank causing it to explode and causes an avalanche of bodies. Jack and Bam are buried underneath the bodies and debris. Bam shoots Jack with a shotgun, mistaking him for an adult. Jack is badly wounded, but able to stand. Ed finds them and they leave, continuing their search for Jack's house. They continue towards Jack's home but are ambushed by adults in the street. The three of them manage to kill all of the attacking adults, but a fully infected Greg comes along and kills Bam with a meat cleaver. He then slashes Jack's chest open and cuts the side of Ed's face from forehead to chin. Greg is about to finish him off, but he flees when Ed mentions Liam.

Ed drags a dying Jack to his home and tries to heal his friend's wounds. However, he is too far gone and Ed takes Jack to his bedroom and spends the night with him. In the morning, Jack has died from his wounds. Ed cremates his friend's body, and leaves, headed back to the museum. Ed is soon ambushed by adults again. He is rescued by David King, Pod and the other soon-to-be Buckingham Palace kids. They all travel to the museum. David warns Ed that a fire is spreading Northward, towards the museum, and that they should move.

At the museum, Ed confronts the infected Frederique who attempts to attack him. She escaped from captivity by gnawing through her own thumb to get out of the handcuffs. He defeats her and manages to banish her to the streets rather than killing her. He holds council with David and Jordan and they decide to move to North London. Jordan decides to stay in the museum with several others.

Ed and David lead their kids in the Tesco truck and attempt to cross the River Thames, fleeing the rapidly spreading fire. Every other kid in South London is also trying to cross the river, and they struggle to do so due to a commotion between kids further up the bridge. But a huge wave of adults come up behind the kids on the bridge, and Ed and several other fighters hang back to fend off the infected to protect the other kids. Frederique attacks Aleisha, injuring her, and Ed shoots her with a pistol. Ed is helped by another boy named Kyle, and although the fighters initially seem to be overwhelmed, Jordan and his crew, who had been forced to abandon the museum by adults and the fire, come to their rescue.

They realize that they must flee, but the way back to the bridge is blocked by a horde of the adults. The kids manage to take control of a boat that is moored by the river. They drive it downstream towards the tower of London but Matt hijacks the boat in an attempt to reach St Paul's. Matt accidentally crashes the boat into the bridge and it splits in half, causing a number of kids, including Aleisha, to drown. Matt and the survivors of his acolytes are last seen disappearing under a bridge, standing on top of half of the boat.

Jordan, Ed, Kyle and the survivors find lifeboats and make it to other North bank. They make their way to the Tower of London and enter it by climbing the drainpipes. There they find a group of about thirty kids already inhabiting the castle. Frustrated at the leadership of the current leader, Jordan takes control with Ed as his right-hand man. Of the original group from the bus, only Ed and Courtney remain, with the others either dead, missing or still with the Tesco truck.

Greg finds himself in Trafalgar Square where he has lost his shirt. He puts on a St George t-shirt from a souvenir stand and decides to get revenge on those who he holds responsible for the death of his son, Liam.

One year later, Ed, Kyle and Jordan are guarding the Tower of London. Small Sam and The Kid arrive (as in the first book). They are shocked to see the resemblance between Sam and The Kid and the Lamb and the Goat on the Angus Day banner.


  • Ed Carter - A popular boy from Rowhurst. He is left with a facial scar after being attacked by Greg Thorne with a meat cleaver
  • Jack - Another boy from Rowhurst, Ed's best friend. He dies from a gunshot wound.
  • Bam - A strong, powerful, enthusiastic Rugby player from Rowhurst. He is much respected by everyone and is the best fighter of the group. He killed in a fight with Greg Thorne, who smashes him over the head with a meat cleaver from behind, splitting his skull open.
  • Piers - One of the Rugby players who is injured early in the book. He is a friend of Bam but dies when Kwanele and Ed leave him at the bus.
  • Johnno - One of the Rugby players who is killed during the ambush at the Fez.
  • Brooke - A girl who becomes close to Ed. They meet on Greg's coach.
  • Greg Thorne- An adult who claims he is immune to the disease. He later becomes infected, and puts on a shirt decorated with a St. George cross, becoming a leader for infected adults. Later takes on the name of Saint George, and is an antagonist in both books.
  • Wiki- A small boy who seems to know everything.
  • Arthur- Nicknamed "jibber-jabber", Wiki's best friend and he can never stop talking.
  • Frederique Morel- A French girl found at the school. Developes a romantic connection with Jack partway through the book, though this is never fully established. She becomes infected due to her age, and is released outside the Imperial War Museum. Later appears at the battle on the bridge and bites Aleisha. Immediately after this, she regains control of herself long enough to let Ed shoot and kill her.
  • Justin- The last of the three nerds. He is put in charge of driving the Tesco truck.
  • Courtney and Aleisha- Brooke's best friends. The three never part company. Aleisha is drowned after being bitten and left behind in a sinking boat. Courtney goes with Ed to the Tower of London, and Brooke remains with David and the kids on the Tesco truck.
  • Liam Thorne- Greg's beloved son who he later strangles after realizing he is becoming infected and cannot look after his son. When Greg is infected, he carries around his son's body, but he loses it when he drops it from a bridge.
  • Chris Marker- A boy who never stops reading, and believes he sees ghosts. He appears to be shizcophrenic, as he mentions therapy and "doctors"
  • Malik- Ed's friend. He is a Muslim, and he is presumed dead after being kidnapped by adults in an industrial park.
  • Zohra and Froggie- Two cute little siblings who enjoy chatting with Wiki, Jibber-Jabber and Justin. Froggie is bitten by Frederique, but he is fine afterward.
  • Kwanele Nkosi- A fashion-obsessed boy from Rowhurst, who annoys Ed horribly with his cowardice and general unwillingness to help out with anything for fear of ruining his clothes.
  • Jordan Hordern- The leader at the Imperial War Museum. He is very interested in war and strategy and takes control of the group at the Tower of London.
  • DogNut- A ratty and wiry boy who deeply respects Jordan Hordern and appears to be his second-in-command at the Imperial War Museum.
  • David King - A posh boy from a private school in Surrey. He rescues Ed and escorts them with his boys across London. Later, in The Enemy, he is the leader of Buckingham Palace.
  • Pod - David's head of security.
  • Matthew - A deluded boy from the church who sets up a religion about a boy known as "The Lamb" after becoming unhinged due to a combination of carbon monoxide poisoning and emotional trauma from the events caused by the infection. He goes down the river with the remains of the ship which he crashed after he hijacked, unknown to be dead or alive.
  • Archie Bishop - Matt's adviser and a fellow believer. He is unknown to be dead or alive, along with Matt.
  • Kyle - A boy who Ed meets during the battle on the bridge. He continues on with Ed as his right-hand man in the Tower guard.
  • Small Sam - A nine-year-old boy, who arrives at the Tower of London at the end of the book. For a short while they think he is "The Lamb", the supposedly fictitious deity Matthew "Mad Matt" has been going on about.
  • The Kid - A nine year old boy who is suspected to be the companion of "The Lamb", "The Goat".

The Next Book

The next book in the Enemy series called The Fear is about Dognut and the rest of his friends as they continue onto Buckingham Palace. It has been said by Charlie that they eventually meet up with Maxie, Blue and the rest of the Holloway Crew but we do not find out what happens to Ed, Small Sam and The Kid until the fourth novel in the series (which he is currently writing). The Fear was released on 15 September 2011.


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