The disease only affects people sixteen or older. It starts with the symptoms of a cold. Then the skin begins to itch, and spots appear--spots that soon turn into pus-filled boils. But the worst part is the headache, the inner voices that tell you that you need to eat them . . . the young ones. When the Disaster strikes, the world turns upside down for Ed, Jack, Bam and the other students at Rowhurst School. The parents and older siblings they left back at home are dead--or worse. Once the teachers go on the attack, the kids know it's time to escape and make their way to the city. It's got to be better in London . . . or will it be worse?
In this gore-soaked prequel to The Enemy (2010), Higson expands on the horror inherent in a world where disease has ravaged everyone over age 16, killing many and turning the rest into flesh-eating monsters. When the disease struck the Rowhurst School near London, a handful of students survived, including popular Ed, self-conscious Jack, rugby star Bam, and know-it-all Wiki. Aware that their school is no longer safe, the Rowhurst boys break out, embarking on a brutal quest for a new haven. Along the way they gather more refugees, even as they experience steady attrition due to constant "sicko" attacks and other threats. With religious fanatic Matt, military-minded Jordan, unpredictable adult Greg, and alpha-male David vying for dominance, the future looks rocky. This visceral tale sheds light on several key players in The Enemy, while sealing the fate of others. With the book's immense cast and substantial body count, it doesn't pay to get too attached to any one character, while the intense descriptions of violence and sickness will get under readers' skin. Ages 14 up.
Absolutely loved this book when I was in middle school, I had no idea it was part of a series. I definitely recommend it and I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series!