Everyone over the age of fourteen has been turned into a flesh-craving monster, with a taste for teenage meat...The kids that are left are fighting to survive.
Book six of seven. I reviewed Book five here, and went straight on to The Hunted.
In terms of pacing, as a comparison, it took me four days to read the four hundred and fifty pages; it took me a fortnight to read The Fallen (the previous book), which is about the same thickness. What was missing there came back here; the characters are pushing forward even when there's not much happening.
Higson moves the action out of London entirely for this one, into the countryside west of London. It's no less dangerous though... Small Sam's sister Ella and her protectors make a break for the countryside. No spoilers, but it doesn't end well for some of them.
Ed and some fighters go and look for her to bring her back to London, meeting new groups of kids – some friends and some enemies – on the way. There's also a group of adults, untouched, who have secrets to tell...
There's a drawing together here, a tying of loose ends that started five books back with characters you thought were long gone. There are ends tied up here that I didn't even realise were loose, and Higson is clever and subtle in the way he weaves them back into the storyline. Coming out of it are new plot lines for the final book.
The final battle is about to begin...