Lockdown: Escape from Furnace 1

Lockdown: Escape from Furnace 1

by Alexander Gordon Smith


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In this prison, secret horrors are breaking free.

“Fresh and ferocious, Lockdown will hook boys with its gritty, unrelenting surprises.” —James Patterson

“Furnace is hotter than hell and twice as much fun! Sign me up for a life sentence of Alexander Gordon Smith!” —Darren Shan, author of the Demonata series

Furnace Penitentiary: the world's most secure prison for young offenders, buried a mile beneath the earth's surface.

Convicted of a murder he didn't commit, sentenced to life without parole, "new fish" Alex Sawyer knows he has two choices: find a way out, or resign himself to a death behind bars, in the darkness at the bottom of the world. Except in Furnace, death is the least of his worries.

Soon Alex discovers that the prison is a place of pure evil, where inhuman creatures in gas masks stalk the corridors at night, where giants in black suits drag screaming inmates into the shadows, where deformed beasts can be heard howling from the blood-drenched tunnels below.

And behind everything is the mysterious, all-powerful warden, a man as cruel and dangerous as the devil himself, whose unthinkable acts have consequences that stretch far beyond the walls of the prison.

Together with a bunch of inmates—some innocent kids who have been framed, others cold-blooded killers—Alex plans an escape.

But as he starts to uncover the truth about Furnace's deeper, darker purpose, Alex's actions grow ever more dangerous, and he must risk everything to expose this nightmare that's hidden from the eyes of the world.

Praise for Lockdown:

“Fresh and ferocious, Lockdown will hook boys with its gritty, unrelenting surprises.” —James Patterson

“Furnace is hotter than hell and twice as much fun! Sign me up for a life sentence of Alexander Gordon Smith!” —Darren Shan, author of the Demonata series

“This nightmarish start to a new series is unrelentingly bleak, uniquely horrifying, and strangely compelling.” —Realms of Fantasy magazine

“A great next choice for fans of The Maze Runner, The Grassland Trilogy . . . or Lord of the Flies. As for me, I'm looking forward to future books. Recommended for dystopia, thriller, and horror fans, or anyone looking for a fast-paced, spine-chilling ride.” —Jennifer Robinson's Bookpage

“Readers will be turning pages without pause, and the cliff-hanger ending will have them anticipating the next installment. Most appealing is Smith's flowing writing style, filled with kid-speak, colorful adjectives, and amusing analogies. Fans of James Patterson's ‘Maximum Ride' and Darren Shan's ‘The Demonata' series will find this satisfying fare.” —School Library Journal

“One of those leave-you-on-the-edge-of-your-seat thrill rides that will grab the reader right from the start. Teens will appreciate Smith's vivid imagery. His writing is extremely fluid, and he makes the reader feel for the characters, especially the young protagonist, Alex. Readers will be cheering him on from start to finish.” —Voice of Youth Advocates

“Not for the faint-hearted, this dramatic British import is both a page- and stomach-turner . . . The pacing is superb, building on the tension as each horror is revealed while saving the ultimate monstrosity for the cliffhanger ending. . . . Readers will find themselves rooting for even the most violent of the inmates as they try to make their escape and defeat the Furnace.” —The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

“Smith establishes a quick pace.” —Booklist

Lockdown is a beautifully written book that builds itself up on violence, suspense, and mystery.” —A YALSA YA Galley Teen Reader

“This is a compelling book.” —Ellaina, age 14

“The whole book was extremely compelling. The . . . plot was alluring and drew you in with its dark undertones.” —Hannah, age 17

Lockdown was a brilliant book that gives vivid imagery to the life of Alex within the Furnace . . . it kept me captivated till the end.” —Ryan, age 16

Lockdown is a beautifully written book that builds itself up on violence, suspense, and mystery.” —Gabe

Also by Alexander Gordon Smith:

The Devil's Engine series

The Devil's Engine: Hellraisers (Book 1)

The Devil's Engine: Hellfighters (Book 2)

The Devil's Engine: Hellwalkers (Book 3)

The Fury

The Escape from Furnace series

Lockdown (Book 1)

Solitary (Book 2)

Death Sentence (Book 3)

Fugitives (Book 4)

Execution (Book 5)

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780312611934
Publisher: Square Fish
Publication date: 08/03/2010
Series: Escape from Furnace Series , #1
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 32,333
Product dimensions: 8.44(w) x 11.08(h) x 0.83(d)
Age Range: 14 - 17 Years

About the Author

Alexander Gordon Smith is the author of the Escape from Furnace series. Born in 1979 in Norwich, England, he always wanted to be a writer. After experimenting in the service and retail trades for a few years, Smith decided to go to University. He studied English and American Literature at the University of East Anglia, and it was here that he first explored his love of publishing. Along with poet Luke Wright, he founded Egg Box Publishing, a groundbreaking magazine and press that promotes talented new authors. He also started writing literally hundreds of articles, short stories and books ranging from Scooby Doo comic strips to world atlases, Midsomer Murders to X-Files. The research for these projects led to countless book ideas germinating in his head. His first book, The Inventors, written with his nine-year-old brother Jamie, was published in the U.K. in 2007. He lives in England.

Read an Excerpt


Escape from Furnace 1
By Smith, Alexander Gordon

Square Fish

Copyright © 2010 Smith, Alexander Gordon
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780312611934


If I stopped running I was dead.

My lungs were on fire, my heart pumping acid, every muscle in my body threatening to cramp. I couldn’t even see where I was going anymore, my vision fading as my body prepared to give in. If the siren hadn’t been hammering at my eardrums, then I’d have been able to hear my breaths, ragged and desperate, unable to pull in enough air to keep me going.

Just one more flight of stairs, one more and I might make it.

I forced myself to run faster, the metal staircase rattling

beneath my clumsy steps. Everywhere around me other kids were panicking, all bolting the same way, to safety. I didn’t look back to see what was behind us. I didn’t need to. I could picture it in my head, its demonic muzzle, silver eyes, and those teeth—like razor wire.

Someone grabbed my arm, pulling me back. I lost my balance, spilling over the railing. For a second the yard appeared five stories beneath me and I almost let myself go. Better this way than to be devoured, right? Then the beast shrieked through its wet throat and I started running again before I even knew I was doing it. I heard the rattle of the cell doors, knew they were closing. If I was caught out here, then I was history. I leaped up the last few steps, hurtling down the narrow landing. The inmates jeered from their cells, shouting for me to die. They stuck out their arms and legs to trip me, and it almost worked. I staggered, lurched forward, falling.

Somehow I made it, swinging through the door an instant before it slammed shut, the mechanism locking tight. The creature howled, a banshee’s wail that made my skin crawl. I risked looking back through the bars, saw its huge bulk bounding past my cell, no skin to hide its grotesque muscles. There was a scream as it found another victim, but it didn’t matter. I was safe.

For now.

“That was close,” said a voice behind me. “You’re getting good at this.”

I didn’t answer, just stared out across the prison. Six stories of cells beneath me and God only knew how many more above my head, all buried deep underground. I felt like the weight of the world was pressing down on me, like I’d been buried alive, and the panic began to set in. I closed my eyes, sucking in as much of the hot, stale air as I could, trying to picture the outside world, the sun, the ocean, my family.

All things I would never see again.

“Yup,” came the voice, my cellmate. “Bet it’s starting to feel like home already.”

I opened my eyes and the prison was still there. Furnace Penitentiary. The place they send you to forget about you, to punish you for your crimes, even when you didn’t commit them. Only one way in and no way out. Yeah, this was my home now, it would be until I died.

That wouldn’t be long. Not with the gangs that eyeballed me from behind their bars. Not with the blacksuits, the guards who ran their shotguns along the railings as they checked the cells. Not with those creatures, raw fury in their eyes and blood on their breath.

And there were worse things in Furnace, much worse. Maybe tonight the blood watch would come, drag me from my cell. Maybe tonight they’d turn me into a monster.

I dropped to my knees, cradling my head in my hands. There had to be a way out of here, a way to escape. I tried to find one in the hurricane of my thoughts, tried to come up with a plan. But all I could think about was how I came to be here, how I went from being a normal kid to an inmate in the worst hellhole on Earth.

How I ended up in Furnace.


Excerpted from Lockdown by Smith, Alexander Gordon Copyright © 2010 by Smith, Alexander Gordon. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Lockdown 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 388 reviews.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Gold Star Award Winner! The future has arrived, and teen gangs are ruling the streets. Due to major carnage during the "Summer of Slaughter," authorities have cracked down and opened Furnace Penitentiary, a prison set deep underground for the worst teen offenders, where they will never see the light of day again. Alex Sawyer is sentenced to Furnace after being convicted of murdering his best friend, Toby. Alex says over and over again that he did not kill Toby, but his protests fall on deaf ears, even though it's the truth. Alex descends into Furnace, a prison hewn out of rough rock. He immediately notices the weak are prey and the strong will live, as the prison gang threatens his life and his new cellmate, Donovan, educates him on how to survive. There is more to fear than the prison gangs, or the slop called food served in the cafeteria. There are the black suits - enormous, hulking men with silvery-sheened eyes and shark-like grins who guard the prison. There are the wheezers - twisted, malformed creatures in leather overcoats, their faces obscured by gas masks literally stitched to their skin. And there is the bloodwatch - an eerie red light that will suddenly wash over the prison cells in the dead of night, letting the inmates know the wheezers are coming for one of them. Alex struggles to hold on to his humanity, his sanity, and his hope that he will survive Furnace, even if survival means hatching an impossible scheme that could kill him. LOCKDOWN is one of the best books I have read this year! Smith's debut of the ESCAPE FROM FURNACE series keeps the reader fascinated from the first page; this is the first of a fantastic series!
Aik More than 1 year ago
I usually don't say this, but... Lockdown. Is. Amazing!!! *inserts hardcore-fan squeal* Being super engrossing and totally un-put-down-able, I couldn't stop reading this book, and ended up finishing it by 4 o'clock in the morning, only when I closed the book with a satisfied smile on my face and went to bed dreaming about Alex's Escape. What I love about this book: 1. A hero with a complex personality. Alex Sawyer is a school bully, a thief and a burgular --- but never a killer. After he is accused of murdering his partner in crime Toby, he is sentenced to a life behind bars in Furnace Penitentiary, a prison of criminal teens which is located deep beneath the Earth. Alex arrives along with two other inmates, Zee and Monty, both wrongly accused of crimes they never did. When Alex sees Monty being bullied by the Skulls, he couldn't restrain his temper and lashed out to save the poor kid. He does this partly because of his guilt --- he remembered the way he used to terrorize his classmates and saw the monster which was once himself. Alex is not someone you would like at the beginning, but by the end of the novel, you will find yourself taking his side. 2. The plot was entirely unpredictable. Quoting Donovan's own words on Furnace: You'll never know what will happen until it happens. I had a great experience of exploring Furnace, with its intimidating structure, scary proprietors, gory history and horrible inmates. Never once did this book disappoint me in any way. I was literally sucked into the gruesome yet fascinating world of the Furnace where the air is hot and scarce, the atmosphere creepy and frightening and the crushing weight of freedom comes down upon you. 3. The world-building is amazing! From his capture to his developing Furnace-survival-skills to his planned prison break, Alex displays his growth both mentally and emotionally. We also observe how his mind is capable of thinking and creating ideas out of nothing. He did not plan of escape from the first moment he set foot in Furnace, but an idea started to hatch in his mind when certain possibilities open up to him. 4. The literary devices are brilliant! Let me tell you, the author is very skilled in descriptive writing - he uses figures of speech such as metaphors and personifications with an unusual grace. Through his words, I had a clear image of Furnace in my mind's eye - I felt like I was in Alex's mind, seeing events unfolding through a glass. 5. True friendship comes unexpectedly. Alex found his best friend in Donovan, a kid who was sentenced to life imprisonment because of accidentally killing his mom's abusive boyfriend. Alex became good friends with one of the inmates who arrived on the same day with him - a boy called Zee. I really liked how the author wrote their friendship - it felt real and genuine. They always stick up for each other although things went awry. It makes me realize that true friendship is indeed precious. Bottomline: Exciting, thrilling and gripping, Escape from Furnace: Lockdown will leave you with nightmares / thinking about it days after you've read it. I'm glad to announce that this book just made its way into my 2012 best books list! Can't wait for book #2!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
To any one who likes a good villain this is your book. The story follows Alex who is fraimed. After his trail Alex is sentenced to life in Furnace. Soon he learns the true horrors that are hidden from the out side. Soon he find that he hae to escape. Only in furnace escape is impossible. So good I had my teacher read part. She had nightmares about it for the next week. All in all a great read.
BooksWithBite More than 1 year ago
This is book is great! I thought it would be much more scarier but no. Instead it was intense, mind-reeling great book. I enjoyed it more than what I thought I would. We meet Alex who has been wrongfully imprisoned. Through the plot, the reader runs with Alex as he is trying to escape the furnace. In the furnace, Alex is quick to learns the in and out of things. Even I was doing my best to catch up with rules and trying to survive! I loved that the plot never once backed down. The plot just kept spinning around the winner bringing to a place of hot fury. Fury? Why yes? Being wrongfully imprisoned changed Alex before the reader. He is no longer the stupid boy but now a man trying to survive. I loved how strong and bold he got. He never ceased to amaze me. He spied, broke rules, and is determined to escape. Mr. Gordan has intrigued me with the world he created. Greatly written, I entered the world of The Furnace and rooted for Alex. Will he escape. Only the next book will know. Which I am going to get ASAP! Lockdown is an amazing book written to a degree I can not describe. I can still fill the hot air surrounding me as I write this review. Definitely pick up this book. If you want to be completely in the dark, air so hot and humid you can't breath,with your heart racing to escape, read this.
Gidgette More than 1 year ago
The books cover and description do not disappoint! When I first picked up this book, I thought it sounded interesting, and different from the types of books I usually read. I never have gotten my heart racing from a book, but this one did it! Definitley read this book! You wont be disappointed. It is a little gory, so be warned!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I teach 8th grade, and our school librarian recommended this book to my student. We watched a book trailer for it, and it look interesting, so I stopped by Barnes and Noble to pick up a copy. I must say that for a book that was recommended for my 8th graders, I could not put it down. A quick read, but very addicting.
Taxandria More than 1 year ago
A real page turner, got it for 2 bucks on itunes and am committed to the series now. It really gets you addicted! Wonderful story and writing.
wordforteens More than 1 year ago
You know, I'm going to add James Patterson's quote about Lockdown to the list of reasons why I really want to slap him sometimes. "Furnace will hook boys with it's gritty, unrelenting surprises." Really? Because girls can't enjoy a good horrific dystopian thriller. Men. Honestly. However, I do understand what he was saying. Because Furnace is divided up into men and women areas - I'm assuming, anyway - there's not one female character in the book. Understandably, it's harder to relate to, which is why it got a lower rating from me. The great thing about being a girl, though, is that you often have characters who may or may not remind you of guy friends or brothers or fathers and, therefore, you can relate to the book on some level, even if it's not the level you want. James Patterson's comments aside, Lockdown is a must-read for anybody who wants to cling to the edge of their chair. It's the horror movie for those of us who are afraid of horror movies - something we can read and be thrilled and scared of as we do so, and put it aside when it becomes to much. Or, if you're like me, you plow through it to the end, hoping to outrun this nightmare, and then remember it's just the first in the series. Thankfully, I happen to have the second one. The best part of Lockdown isn't the characters that you meet - though, I do admit, I have a soft spot for Donovan and would really like to know what is happening to him. (Maybe I should stop writing this review and go read the second one - nah, I'll finish this first.) The best part is the completely amazing dystopian world that's been created. From the men in the gas masks (one of my friends is terrified of gas masks, and another owns one, which makes this even better) to the dogs without skin - yes, you read that right - the absolutely horrific edge that Furnace has is amazing.
csginger More than 1 year ago
I loved it and I still do and I can't find another book/series like it. It hooks you in and you have to hang on and enjoy the ride. You get to meet the characters and you get to know them on such a personal level that you feel that you are there with them and that you've know them all your life. I just want them to make a movie on this series. Perfect all around and so thriling but if you dont like comedy,thriller,action, and horror wrapped into one then this book/series is not for you.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This isnt anothor review were i say yay!! This was great well no this is another reveiw saying i love this book!!!!! Listen if ur looking for a scary book then this is ok for it but its more disturbing i still loved it ALOT!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I can honestly say that thos os one of the best series of the century. Alexander Gordon Smith has certainly outdone himself! And this book, especially, is the best of the series, I must add.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is so good that I got two other friends interested in this series. I say that this series is for 11-30 year olds but that is just a segestion. I am 12 and I love this series. I would spend a fortune on this series because it is so good. I didn't buy the books but my school library has the first three books but I am looking to buy the forth and fifth books. Chow:)
DJ_Kile More than 1 year ago
Cover: Its a very cool cover depicting one of the creatures that lurk in the shadows of furnace that come in the middle of the night to take young prisoners. Known as a Wheezer. In the red eye I believe it would be the main character in this book young Alex Sawyer. I love this cover it just makes you want to pick the book up in order to see what that being is. Summary: Furnace Penitentiary: the world’s most secure prison for young offenders, buried a mile beneath the earth’s surface. Convicted of a murder he didn't commit, sentenced to life without parole, “new fish” Alex Sawyer knows he has two choices: find a way out, or resign himself to a death behind bars, in the darkness at the bottom of the world. Except in Furnace, death is the least of his worries. Soon Alex discovers that the prison is a place of pure evil, where inhuman creatures in gas masks stalk the corridors at night, where giants in black suits drag screaming inmates into the shadows, where deformed beasts can be heard howling from the blood-drenched tunnels below. And behind everything is the mysterious, all-powerful warden, a man as cruel and dangerous as the devil himself, whose unthinkable acts have consequences that stretch far beyond the walls of the prison. My Thoughts: I picked up this book because of the cover, it drew me in immediately. The story about how furnace came to be and how the kids ended up there is awesome and so detailed, as is the entire story. This book made me fear the Wheezer's like I was one of the prisoners and it just kept me until the last word which I then begged to read the others to find out what would happen to my favorite prisoners. Its a thrill a minute ride and will make you scared and make you feel lucky we do not have a place like furnace in this world, were even death isn't an escape. Awesome read love this series. Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was addicted the second I read the sample of this book. I have started reading a lot of dystopian society books as of late and this one is by far my favorite. The approach that is taken here is so much different than what has been circling around these days (not that those books are not great as well). This book will have you doing nothing but read from start to finish. The characters are extremely likable and the action never stops. The imagination that goes into this book is great as well. If you do not like strange creatures and some gore I would not recommend this for you. I have read all the books that have come out so far (4 of them) and none have come close to disappointing me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is teaching a bully a lesson. The name of it is Lockdown. The bully’s name is Alex. Him and his friends were always pushing people around getting what they wanted from them. But very soon they regretted that. Alex does something that gets his friend killed and almost him with it. He gets blamed for the murder but truthfully he never did it, these people in black suits and gas masks on made it look like it was him. Alex gets blamed and sent to a place called furnace. Furnace was a huge jail underground that is filled with pschopaths. Alex has to try and survive and be careful about the choices he makes. I really like this story because it scares you and it’s a really intense story through the whole thing. You kind of feel like you are in the story and you have to do your best to survive. If you put yourself in that perspective it makes it a lot better. The only thing I didn’t like was how the story ends. Alex makes a few friends but he eventually finds out he wont be with them for too long. With just one little mistake his life could be ruined. I would really recommend this book if you like the feeling of being scared.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Slow begining. It really gets interesting about half way in. The book does not stand alone, which means that by the end of this book you might be disapointed on how suddenly the ending comes. Great characters, and overall great plot, can't wait to read the next book.
mrreader76 More than 1 year ago
the author used so much detail i felt like i was in furnacce with alex READ NOW
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Keeps me on the edge and end of chapters always have u guessing. Real good book!!!
colemanstudentsjc More than 1 year ago
it will keep u on your feet. and youll problay be reading for hours and hours at a time
thaisra More than 1 year ago
It all started many years ago in the playground, where Alex took Daniel Richard's money. That led him to start robbing houses with his friend Toby; now Toby is dead, and Alex was imprisoned in Furnace for a murder he didn't commit. Life in Furnace is hell, they make you work 'til you can't move from exhaustion, they feed you a tasteless mixture of rotten food, and you are in constant danger. But in Furnace, a gang beating you up is not the worst thing that could happen, mutant dogs could chew you to pieces, piggy eyed wheezers could take you in the night and turn you to some kind of monster. Alex is trapped with no chance of escape, but he refuses to accept that. He needs to find a way out. Soon. I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of this book. I thought it was absolutely great! It had many twists and turns, I kept trying to guess what was going to happen next, every time my predictions were wrong. This book was like nothing I've ever read before, it was unique and interesting. I recommend this book to anyone who likes a good, suspenseful, adrenalin-packed thriller.
callmecayce on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I know this book is really popular, but it didn't really do much for me. I liked it enough to finish it, but it felt like I was slogging through the Furnace and when I got to the end, there wasn't any sort of reward for finishing. It's a bummer, because I was looking forward to this series. I probably won't read the rest of the books.
JRlibrary on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Absolutely action packed from the very first page! I predict that this book will be worn out before it's been in my library for two months. Can't remember the last time a book held me so tightly in its grip. It is a sensational thriller, which I guarantee will hook a few non readers if you just read the first couple chapters to them. I recommend it for older classes due to the violence - grade seven or eight as a minimum. Furnace is a juvenile detention prison buried beneath the Earth, accessible only by an elevator which descends deep into the ground. The main character is framed for the murder of his buddy, and receives life in Furnace, but when he sees the horrors that exist, he is determined to escape. The guards and the guard dogs are wonderful creations, and the inmates themselves a fantastic collection of characters. I don't want to say too much... but you're going to want to buy a copy of Lockdown the second you see it. Release date is October 27, 2009.
ShellyPYA on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Convicted of a murder he didn¿t commit, Alex, age 14, has just been sentenced to spend the rest of his life in Furnace, an ultra-secure penitentiary located a mile beneath the earth¿s surface. As if being locked up forever isn¿t bad enough, Alex must also deal with the strange inhuman creatures that prowl the cell blocks at night, occasionally dragging screaming inmates out of their cells to a fate worse than death. The possibility of escape gives him hope, but will he be able to pull it off before the creatures come for him?
ZareksMom on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
From the very first page, I couldn't put this book down. Smith's action keeps you intensely interested in the story. The characters are realistic, fairly typical teenage boys that will have you laughing, sobbing and wondering what the heck they were thinking. (Sometimes all three at once.) I can't wait to read the next addition to the Furnace series.
dasuzuki on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is another great addition to the dystopian collection. Imagine a world where teenage violence has gotten so bad that a teenager can be sentenced to life in a prison located underground and would probably scare even the most hardened adult prisoner. If that isn't bad enough throw in some supernatural seeming animals and people and you have Lockdown. Even though the prisoners are all teens I think adults could also relate and I would not be surprised if many of the factions and actions that take place were the same if this were a prison for adults. The story was great and keeps you hooked. Of course it ends on a cliff hanger and makes you wonder what will happen next. If you haven't checked this one out yet it's one to add to your list.