Well I thought it was about time for a new blog, mainly because I was writing the old one in html, which literally meant spending loads of time formatting each entry, including copying and pasting every ' and " because for some reason browsers didn't seem to recognise the punctuation that Word provided. What a palaver, it's a wonder I ever wrote an entry at all!
Framed for a murder he didn't commit, Alex is sent to the depths of Furnace prison for life. Or death. The only hope is escape.The unremitting physical and mental horrors of Furnace, with its skulls, wheezers and blacksuits stalking the darkness, will be addictive and gripping for teenage readers who like their villains really, really bad and the fear factor ramped up high.The start of an adventure series – but not for sensitive souls, I think. (Ages 12-plus.)
Sally Morris, Daily Mail
"Smith is a fantastic writer; the prose is sharp and focused, with descriptions that bring this alternate reality to life. Furnace itself is well conceived as a place; absolutely scary and claustrophobic to match, with evil guards and inmates obviously holding onto their minds by the skin of their teeth."
"Here is a dark and dangerous tale of false imprisonment and violent brutality. No, it's not Big Brother, but the new novel from the writer of The Inventors. In a more mature mode, this story takes Alex and throws him into the seven pits of Hell. Alex is a burglar and not a nice guy. One night, while trying to steal some computer gear, he and his mate are confronted by a bunch of mysterious heavy-fisted men who shoot his pal and then frame him for the murder. This being a futurisitic society, the justice system has got tough. Built out of rock and buried miles underground is the Furnace, a hot and claustrophobic prison, full with teenage tearaways. Who are the mystery men and why are they framing young people? You'd be a fool to miss finding out in this tense, exciting and terrifying read."
Thomas Murphy, Flipside
'Faber is coming in all guns blazing with this new series starting in March with Lockdown. It's Faber's teen lead for 2009 and it will be putting the work in to getting plenty of attention. Aimed squarely at a male readership. Smith introduces Furnace-the worst prison in the world, a youth detention centre, a vast hell of an underground fortress and the destination of 13-year-old Alex. He's been on the wrong side of the law but not for the murder he's been accused of: why is he there and how can he escape?'
Ones to Watch, The Bookseller
'Alex Sawyer is no angel but he doesn't deserve to get sent for life to the hellish juvenile prison that is Furnace. It's a subterranean borstal carved out of the bowels of the earth, presided over by brutal black-garbed guards and gasmask-wearing creatures known as "wheezers" that are like something out of one of Clive Barker's worst nightmares.Alexander Gordon Smith employs tight, gutsy language to tell Alex's story, as his hero is framed for murder, gains allies and enemies inside Furnace, and finally, inevitably, plans an audacious jailbreak. This is a punch-between-the-eyes kind of read, punishing in every sense, Gothic in its horrors, darkly claustrophobic.'
James Lovegrove, Financial Times
'Fears of imprisonment are a strong strain for older readers and Alexander Gordon Smith's Furnace: Lockdown a prison "where death is the least of your worries", is an adrenaline-packed thriller for teens that grumpy boys will gulp down as escapism.'
Amanda Craig The Times