To celebrate the release of the newest book in Charlie Higson’s phenomenal (yes, it’s really, really good) Enemy series, THE FALLEN (out today!!), Disney Hyperion and Charlie Higson have put together a very (very) cool book tour giving you a behind the scenes look at Higson’s zombie apocalypse, and the world that it encompasses. Also, if you’d like to read an excerpt of the first book, THE ENEMY, you can do that HERE.
Each stop has a new location, and as an added bonus, we’ve got ALL 5 BOOKS in the series (THE ENEMY, THE DEAD, THE FEAR, THE SACRIFICE, THE FALLEN), to give away to one very lucky winner (US only.) So, check out the post, the giveaway, and that awesome map, and good luck!
The first book in my Enemy zombie series tells the stories of two rival gangs of kids who have to team up and cross London to get to a safer place of refuge – Buckingham Palace. Why not? All the adults in London have either been killed by a mystery disease or are so badly infected they behave like classic cannibal zombies, so the surviving kids can effectively go wherever they want. Who hasn’t visited somewhere like the Palace and fantasized about living there. I was lucky enough to visit Buckingham Palace as a guest of the Queen in 2006 and had wanted to set a story there ever since.
For her official birthday party that year (the Queen has 2 birthdays, her actual birthday and her official birthday. Why? Because she’s the queen, I guess, and can do what she likes) it was decided that she would have a big garden party themed around British children’s books. Children’s books are one thing we do quite well in this country and they were considered worth celebrating. In fact, sorry America, but I think the British write the best children’s books in the world, from Alice in Wonderland and Treasure Island and Peter Pan, through Winnie the Pooh, Mary Poppins, The Hobbit, The Jungle Book, Roald Dahl, Alex Rider, Artemis Fowl, Northern Lights and Harry Potter and… well, you get the picture. So the party was a celebration of those books but it was also a party for children.
The queen is famous for her ‘garden parties’, but her garden is something else. It’s more of a small park, really, with lawns, woodland, a lake, you name it. On that day the palace grounds were filled with hundreds of kids and many of our best children’s authors – J.K. Rowling, Anthony Horowitz, Michael Morpurgo, Philip Pullman… and me. I was writing the Young James Bond books at the time and was very lucky to get an invite. I met the Queen and it was all huge fun. During the afternoon there was a big show, on a stage that had been specially built in the grounds, featuring many children’s authors acting out parts from British children’s literature as well as the main cast of Harry Potter.
Security at the Palace is provided by the army. It must be nice to have your own regiment, as the Queen does (in fact I think she has several). Security was actually very low-key and the soldiers were all incredibly nice and helpful and pleasant, a contrast to when you get police doing security at events. It was so discreet that once inside the palace you were never really aware of it. But it was there, believe me. During the rehearsals for the Harry Potter section of the show they had a big white owl, Hedwig, and it flew off into one of the trees in the garden. The trainer trotted off and started to climb the tree at which point he saw that his body was spotted with red laser sights and a whole unit of camouflaged soldiers had emerged from the shrubbery. They told him to get down out of the tree in no uncertain terms.
Anyway, I had a great time, even if the show was a bit rubbish (as usual the Queen sat through it with her trademark look of boredom and distaste). It was a gloriously sunny day and in the evening, after the kids had been sent home, some of us writers stayed behind for a barbecue on the lawn with members of the Royal family. The literary royal family was there as well – J.K. Rowling with the Harry Potter crew. I got talking to one of the Queen’s ladies in waiting. I asked her whether the Queen hadn’t wanted to come to the BBQ (which was being hosted by lesser royals). She said that the Queen was up there somewhere looking out and wished she could come down but that she’d had to make the decision whether or not she would attend many months earlier and couldn’t change her mind now without mobilizing half of the British Army. So, actually, the Queen can’t do whatever she wants.
Later on, I found myself with Anthony Horowitz and Francesca Simon (the writer of the Horrid Henry books), quite drunk, on a golf buggy, being shown around the grounds by an enthusiastic young man. He even drove us out onto the parade ground at the front of the palace so we could take pictures of each other in front of the palace. Although, sadly, I don’t seem to have kept any of mine. I also got to poke around a little inside the buildings and what stayed with me was just how huge the palace and gardens are. I thought you could very easily live here and have a fairly decent self-sustained lifestyle.
I had a fantasy when I was younger of living in a world without adults. I’d written a couple of stories along these lines, and they were a big inspiration for my Enemy series. I loved the idea that London could become a playground. Buckingham Palace seemed to me the perfect location for the kids to move to in the first book and to get this point across – London belongs to them – especially as I had some first-hand knowledge of the place. So that’s where my heroes go – in the hope of a better life. Only it’s not better, it just presents them with a whole new set of problems, since the boy in charge, David, wants to set himself up as a new king and take over London with their help. He even has some captive zombie members of the Royal family locked away in an upstairs room to give him some legitimacy. Maybe they spend their time looking out of the window and wishing they could join in the fun.
One very lucky US winner will receive all 5 books (so far) in the Enemy series by Charlie Higson (THE ENEMY, THE DEAD, THE FEAR, THE SACRIFICE, and THE FALLEN)-with all new covers. All you need to do is fill in the Rafflecopter below (if you’ve signed in before, it will remember you), and I’ll pick a winner on 6/18.
You can also visit these blogs for more posts, and more chances to win:
June 9: MyFriendAmysBlog.com
June 10: MyBookishWays.com
June 11: AliceMarvels.com
June 12: TheBookSmugglers.com
June 13: BittenByBooks.com
June 14: Chapter-by-Chapter.com
June 15: ForeverYoungAdult.com
About THE FALLEN:
As the chilling Enemy series continues to build toward its grand finale, the kids who have survived the diseased grown-ups grow more desperate for food, for a cure, for hope of any kind . . .
First the sickness rotted the adults’ minds. Then their bodies. Now they stalk the streets of London, hunting human flesh.
The Holloway crew are survivors. They’ve fought their way across the city and made it to the Natural History Museum alive–just barely. But their fight will never end while the Enemy lives, unless there’s another way. . . .
The kids at the museum are looking for a cure. All they need are medical supplies.To get them they must venture down unfamiliar streets, where it isn’t only crazed, hungry sickos who lurk in the shadows.
In this fifth terrifying entry in Charlie Higson’s Enemy series, suddenly it’s not so clear who–or what–the enemy is.
About Charlie Higson:
Charlie Higson is an acclaimed comedy writer, producer, actor, and genuine James Bond aficionado. He is the author of the adult thrillers Full Whack and King of the Ants; the internationally best-selling Young Bond series: SilverFin, Blood Fever, Double or Die, Hurricane Gold, and By Royal Command; and five books in the Enemy series. Charlie is a fan of zombie movies and believes that we shouldn’t try to prevent young people from experiencing fear, because it helps prepare them for later life. When writing The Enemy, he kept racheting up the action and description in an attempt to frighten the pants off his ten-year-old son. He lives in London.