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Book Review: The Sacrifice by Charlie Higson

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The Sacrifice by Charlie Higson follows on from The Fear and focuses on the stories of Small Sam & The Kid and Shadowman. The book took me a few chapters to get back into the world and the story but this was helped with a lot of references to the previous books from Higson.

Sam & The Kid have managed to stumble their way through the no-go zone to reach the safety of Ed in the Tower of London. But Sam’s mission to find his sister isn’t over as his sister isn’t there. Sam learns that his sister might be at Buckingham Palace. The kids in the Tower of London don’t ever go into the no-go zone as the adults behave differently there making it much more dangerous.

Tish a lone girl comes towards the Tower of London from the no-go zone being chased by disease-ridden adults screaming for help. Tish fully dressed in green is rescued by Ed and his crew, taken back to the Tower of London and housed with Sam & The Kid.

Meanwhile deep in the heart of the no-go zone Shadowman continues to follow the The Fear the army of diseased adults led by St. George. Shadowman has noticed the unusual behaviour of the adults; the way St. George seems to command the army without any verbal communication and the sentinels – adults who stand with their arms out unmoving. Shadowman is watching as the ranks of the army swell everyday. More and more adults joining the army as if drawn there.

Tish convinces Sam & The Kid that Ed will never let them leave the Tower, but that she can get them to Buckingham Palace and then she can go home to her temple nearby. Tish creates a distraction at the Tower of London and all three of them escape back into the no-go zone.

When Ed learns that they have gone he feels guilty, he feels responsible for Sam & The Kid. Ed knows that Sam & The Kid will be heading for Buckingham Palace, knowing that Sam is hoping to find his sister there. Ed and his crew go into the no-go zone in search of Sam & The Kid.

While in this dangerous no-go zone Ed and his crew meet Nicola the Prime Minister in the Houses of Parliament. Nicola tells him that she’s met DogNut (a character who left the Tower of London in a previous book sometime ago) and that DogNut was also heading to Buckingham Palace. Nicola tells Ed about David the leader at Buckingham Palace and how untrustworthy he is.

Ed tells Nicola the story of Sam, The Kid & Tish hoping she’ll know something about them. Nicola reveals that Tish must be is a missionary from St. Paul’s Cathedral. Nicola explains that a religious nutter named Matt has a group of kids at St. Paul’s who all wear green. For the first time in The Enemy Series all the groups of kids know about each other.

Shadowman seems to have worked out that the sentinels are sending singles on a frequency that the kids can’t hear but dogs can. But who are they signalling too? What does this signal mean? Most importantly who is controlling the sentinels?

Tish has manipulated Sam & The Kid with them ending up at St. Paul’s. Among all the constant chanting, music and incense Mad Matt welcomes The Lamb and The Goat (Sam & The Kid) to St. Paul’s. Mad Matt decides The Goat (The Kid) should be sacrificed to Wormwood a diseased adult they keep locked up.

Wormwood isn’t just any diseased adult; he seems to remember things from before he was diseased. Although Wormwood’s mind is fragmented he remembers that the disease effecting all adults started in bugs in the jungle and then transferred to man. The Kid convinces Wormwood not to eat him and to help him escape, The Kid offering Wormwood his freedom in exchange for not eating him.

Shadowman has had close calls in the past, but this is set to be his closest. Shadowman see’s some kids about to attack some of the diseased adults in the street, unaware that close by inside a tyre centre The Fear army are sleeping. Shadowman goes to warn the kids but they don’t listen. Shadowman ends up trying to save them, ending up badly injured. Shadowman limps a long being chased by a slower herd of about twenty diseased ravenously hungry adults. Shadowman knows that he can’t keep in front of them forever as feels his body tiring.

Meanwhile Ed and his crew arrive at St. Paul’s and rescue Sam. The Kid and Wormwood are gone from the seller where they were being held, escaping in the tunnels underneath. By this time the army of adults led by St. George have made their way to St. Paul’s and overwhelm it after the kids inside. Ed, most of his crew and Sam escape to a building close to St. Paul’s.

Ed, his crew and Sam are trapped in this building as the hordes of adults approach. Ed goes deeper into the building in search of an escape route and finds The Kid. Sam & The Kid are reunited and The Kid tells them about Wormwood. Wormwood helps them escape by instructing the hordes to stand still, the kids walking through the hordes of still disease-ridden adults which are like statues.

The Sacrifice ends with Ed, his crew, Sam & The Kid seeing a lone kid limping a long – Shadowman. Ed and his crew save Shadowman from the herd slowly following him. Once they reach safety all of the kids know one thing, that things are changing.

Higson‘s use of description, settings and pace of the story are brilliant as usual; however there was less action in this book than previous ones. I liked Higson‘s use of different characters perspectives throughout the book and liked that towards the end of the book he added to the overarching storyline.

If you’ve ever read any of Charlie Higson‘s The Enemy Series then you’ll love the newest addition The Sacrifice. If you’ve not and are interested I strongly recommend you read them in order (see the reviews below). While they can all be read as one-off stories, in my opinion they are better enjoyed as a series. As always The Sacrifice is available to buy on Amazon.

The Enemy Series other book reviews (in chronological order):

Review soon,

Antony

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