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The Night Children

(Escape from Furnace #0.5)

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  611 ratings  ·  44 reviews
Presenting a new Escape from Furnace story, “The Night Children,” by Alexander Gordon Smith.

It is December 1944 and Europe is still gripped by war. In the densely forested mountains of Belgium one of the conflict’s most brutal battles is raging. Cut off from the front, a ragtag group of young British and American soldiers finds itself being hunted by a patrol of elite Germ
Kindle Edition, 98 pages
Published September 21st 2011 by Tor Books
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Olivia I've read this series (books 1-5) and have yet to read this book. It has not affected my understanding of the other books, but honestly, I'm sad the s…moreI've read this series (books 1-5) and have yet to read this book. It has not affected my understanding of the other books, but honestly, I'm sad the series is over, and I'm glad to have discovered this extra book. Alexander Gordon Smith is an amazing other, and while the read may not be vital to your understanding of the other books, it most certainly will be a great read.(less)

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Karlyflower *The Vampire Ninja, Luminescent Monster & Wendigo Nerd Goddess of Canada (according to The Hulk)*

I am at a bit of a loss as to how to review this novella, and at 64 pages I would call this a novella not a short story.

Tor shorts are a great way to get a taste of a writer's style and see if it's flavour matches our desires. Smith did exceptionally well here... I will definitely be checking out his Escape from Furnace series in the future. However, there was more to this one than most.... it felt cohesive and thought-out, not like the slapped together prequel that so many of these 0.5's can b
Jess ❈Harbinger of Blood-Soaked Rainbows❈
This is one of the best tor shorts I’ve read.
4.5 stars, a review to come, and Lockdown added to the top of my the pile.
Marsella Macabre
Jul 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Amazing, gives you a great background if you haven't started the Escape From Furnace series yet. And if you have, it clarifies unanswered questions about the meeting of Alfred Furnace & Warden Cross. Like in the series, you feel as if you're really there, during the war. Watching everything happen & discovering the "Night Children". If you haven't read the series yet, once you start, you'll notice similarites between the Night Children & the creatures Furnace has created. ...more
Oct 09, 2011 rated it liked it
I'm often reluctant to read anything WWII-related. Especially so when it comes to foreign authors. It's not that I believe that Russian historians and writers are somehow more truthful about the events that took place during that period or that they have some special *moral* right to explore and interpret those events - there is a great deal of idealization at work here and I fully realize that, and yet... and yet I can't help but find some of the accounts or - let's call them - re-interpretatio ...more
Alex ☣ Deranged KittyCat ☣
"The forest watched them walk. The lunatic moon grinned down at them. And it was all he could do not to scream."

The Night Children takes place during WWII, long before Lockdown and I was reluctant to read it because I dislike WW-related stories. I picked this up because I was curious about the wheezers and warden Cross.

The story centers corporal Donnie Brixton and his men as they attempt to locate a missing squad. On their search they come across Joan Forbes, a British flight sergeant, who w
Blake Palmer
May 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This a prequel to all of the other escape from furnace books. This one was really cool because it ended up solving a bunch of stuff that was a mystery in the actual original five books. This one's protagonist is a soilder in war who is trying to escape a nazi army while at the same time trying to find a captain who had gone missing. This one was probably one of my favorite book in the series. ...more
Ted Lantvit
Oct 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Response: This book is really good! If you have read the Escape from Furnace series, then you would like this book. This book explains Warden Cross’s story (the prison director who rules the Furnace Penitentiary). I liked this book because it is very detailed on the events that takes place and explains how the Warden Cross became the head of the Furnace Penitentiary.

Plot: This book takes place during the Nazi invasion. There are 4 rogue men who are all on different sides of the war who teamed up
Emilie Riviere
May 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book, the small details that showed the past of the Escape Furnace made me shiver! I'd suggest reading this after the furnace series. ...more
Jun 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
First of, this is a good short story, combining the Second World War and ghost / supernatural events.
It's as well written as everything the author does, there's some good characters, some nice twists, a decent plot and everything else.

However, I just can't see where, or indeed why, it fits into the "Escape From the Furnace" series. It really doesn't give any extra background information about the characters form those books, although it doesn't detracts anything either.

I'm not even sure in whi
Feb 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: good-ya
I am not much of a horror reader, but this series has been on the edge of everything I've read for a while. I decided to give this little starter story a try to see if I was at all interested.
The short story is pretty good. I enjoyed the progression that the main character goes through throughout the story. The whole thing is told like a third person journal, written out on a timeline. It gives a sense of just how quickly the world descends into madness for these soldiers and how the most major
Aug 26, 2013 rated it liked it
A short story that gives us a glimpse into one of the major evil characters in the series. We get to see how he becomes what he is throughout the series. I would've liked to see more explanation on what the night children are exactly, like how they came to be. All in all, a good prequel to the series.

P. S.
This is a really quick, enjoyable, dark series. :0)
Jan 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ...more
Henri Moreaux
I was looking at starting the Escape from Furnace series and saw there was a prequel so I figured I'd start here.

This book, well, novella, is set in Belgium in World War 2, a group of American servicemen are sent out to discover what happened to a prior team of men. On this journey they stumble into some beings that are none to friendly to say the least. In fleeing from these beings they run into a group of Nazis who are also losing men to said beings. After some initial friction to two groups
mckenna ʕ •ᴥ•ʔ
This book was definitely well written but I ended up finding it pretty uninteresting. It’s nice to have a little more backstory to the Escape From Furance series but this wasn’t the most captivating installment for me personally.
Not sure if this classes as a spoiler but it might to some people. This book is about how (view spoiler) ...more
Oct 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
pretty good explained back story of escape from furnace evil stuff
Mar 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great Read

I love the background given information for the series. I'm usually not a fan of world war books but this was very well written.
Jordan Fuller
Nov 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Alexander Gordon Smith does it again! Short but fantastic prelude to Furnace. You must read!
I expected more from this little story. It didn't really answer any questions. Yeah, it was kind of interesting to see where it all kind of started. At least, we got to see where Furnace and Cross first met, and among the soldiers was a woman named Joan Sawyer (wonder who she's related to?!) which was nice, I guess. But I want to know what Furnace is making these monsters for! To rule the world? And I want to know more about Furnace and where he came from. At this point in the story he has alrea ...more
Nov 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult, sci-fi
This story answered a lot of questions I had about the origins of some of the characters. It takes place during WWII and though it isn't historically accurate in all of the information, it didn't bother me. This series is Science Fiction and this story fit well into the rest of the series with the same great descriptions. There are some aspects that are described in great detail while other instances Gordon lets my own imagination fill in the blanks. I found the characters to be unique and reali ...more
Nov 24, 2015 rated it liked it
I almost stopped reading this ten minutes in, because I'm not interested in war stories and it seemed to be going very slowly. After skimming for a bit to see if I'd miss anything worthwhile, I came across the first supernatural horror and decided to continue reading in earnest from there. While I don't usually go out of my way to read horror, I can appreciate the hard work that goes into crafting a terrifying story that doesn't cross over into trying too hard and becoming a parody of itself. An ...more
Kelly Moore
Nov 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
I love a good prequel, and this one didn't disappoint me. I should've read book 3 in the Furnace series before I read this, but I think it's fine to read this one after the second book. I definitely HAVE to read the third one now, because the WWII connection is so interesting, and I've heard Death Sentence is when that idea is introduced. While the Furnace books take place in the future, this prequel goes back to WWII and give some very creepy background about the origins of some of the nightmar ...more
Jan 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: all-of-my-books
Great prequel to the series! It explain Cross and how he become who he ended up to be! I wish it would have explained more about Furnace but that's ok! The only other thing i wish was different was the descriptions of everything, they were the same as in escape from furnace books!! Overall it was nicely written! ...more
Angelica Castillo
The Night Children, a prequel of Lockdown, took place in World War II. It offered the story of how Warden Cross, one of the most powerful men in Furnace Penitentiary, came to be. It answered some of my questions but I was disappointed when this novella did not contain the Summer of Slaughter and other factors that led to the construction of Furnace because I wanted to know more about it.
Jaylin Parsons
Jun 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing

This book has been the most emotional trip of my whole life. The way it's written, the details intertwined with it, and just the complete over all story makes you feel as though you lived the experience with the characters. This is one book I suggest reading. Even if you had yet to read the original series of escape from furnace.
Feb 05, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: dystopian, read-2013
The first book in this series is the only one I've read by Gordon, but it was so awesome. In my whole life, I've given 10/10 four times, and Lockdown was one of them.


This novella was not nearly as good.

It was boring and unrelated to the main story.

Amanda - Go Book Yourself
I found this novella to be a pointless let down. It didn't really answer any of the outstanding questions from the series and was also badly structured. I'm glad it was only a short story as I would have rapidly lost interest. ...more
Jul 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
It was quite short, but worth it. Just as good as the other books that he has written though it's not much of a prequel, just a story that includes the Wheezers... But either way, it was well written and I recommend it to anyone who likes these sort of books. ...more
Jul 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
The setting of the story is a forest in The Belgian Ardennes during WWII.
Four young American soldiers are searching for other soldiers that have gone missing but what they discover in the forest is beyond creepy! I still get shivers down my spine thinking about it!
Feb 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Another freakishly addictive story...can't wait for the 4th book to be released. I want answers!!! ...more
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Alexander Gordon Smith is the author of the Escape from Furnace series of young adult novels, including Lockdown and Solitary. 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 ...more

Other books in the series

Escape from Furnace (5 books)
  • Lockdown (Escape from Furnace, #1)
  • Solitary (Escape from Furnace, #2)
  • Death Sentence (Escape from Furnace, #3)
  • Fugitives (Escape from Furnace, #4)
  • Execution (Escape from Furnace, #5)

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