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Inmates

     Alex Sawyer 

Alex Sawyer

Protagonist, a bully turned thief who is framed for the murder of his best friend and is given a life sentence in Furnace Penitentiary.

  • Adult Fear: Even though Alex disbelieves it, Alex's parents were genuinely heartbroken over their son's conviction going so far as to try to repeal the court order seven times.
  • Author Avatar: Alex is heavily based on the author's life as a teenager who similarly was going through a rough stage (never doing anything as severe as breaking into houses though), and in the original draft the character's name was "Alex Smith".
  • The Beastmaster: Subverted, Alex thinks he's this in Execution when controlling the berserkers. The reality was Furnace was controlling them and relayed Alex's commands to them.
  • Break the Cutie
  • The Bully: Alex himself used to be one.
  • Clear My Name: As the premise of the series, Alex is framed for the murder of his best friend Toby.
    • Not Helping Your Case: It doesn't help that they were robbing a house at the time (and a history of doing so), so the proposed motive sent to the court was Alex killing his friend so he wouldn't have to share a cut of their money.
      • It also doesn't help that while in Furnace, Alex commits even more severe atrocities than he ever would've imagined doing.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Alex just can't help himself, more often than not getting himself into even more trouble.
    Alex: [when seeing the Skulls approach him] Let me guess, you're in here for piracy?
  • Handicapped Badass: Loses both of his arms in Fugitives. While one is regrown by the nectar into a spidery three fingered hand, the other is turned into a blade. In the epilogue, Alex gets the blade arm amputated and is in process of receiving a prosthetic arm.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Alex: during the first book after he gets thrown in Furnace, again in the third book after he becomes a blacksuit, and again in the same book when he recovers from the warden's brainwashing.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Despite Alex's initial beginnings as a bully and a thief, he is loyal to a fault and is soon driven in the moment to protect his friends.
  • Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: Alex gives one to Warden Cross.
    Warden Cross: You have no name! You never had one. You didn't exist until I made you. You belong to me!
  • Only I Can Kill Him: According to Alfred Furnace, Alex has been the only other person (asides from Cross) able to consume the nectar and still have a grasp on his former self while still reaping it's benefits in full.
  • Resist the Beast: Alex as he continues to spiral down a path of darkness from consuming too much of the nectar.
    • In Death Sentence, when Zee begs Alex to kill him quickly so he can finally go home. This clears Alex's mind of the nectar's urges and turn against the Warden.
    • In Execution, both Zee and Simon desperately try to remind Alex both the good and memories of Furnace in order to give Alex reasons to continue fighting against The Stranger's commands.
  • Technicolor Eyes: Gains these when becoming a blacksuit.
    • Black Eyes of Evil: After accepting The Stranger's blood, reverts back to normal (well, silver) eyes after The Stranger's blood is drained away from him.
  • Unwitting Pawn: To Furnace and The Stranger, from Death Sentence to Execution. He subverts this however when he defeats The Stranger and Set Right What Once Went Wrong.

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     Zee Hatcher 

Zee Hatcher

An inmate sent down to Furnace on the same day as Alex. He later becomes one of Alex's main co-conspirators and good friends.

  • Break the Cutie
  • Clear My Name: Zee was accused of killing an old woman by driving a car into her.
    • Not Helping Your Case: In Fugitives he admits that he'd been arrested a few times for carjacking, backing up as evidence for the murder.
  • Drives Like Crazy: In Fugitives when fleeing from the cops in the mall, he keeps his foot stamped on the Humvee's acceleration the whole time.
  • Extraverted Nerd: Is aware of his nerdiness but doesn't necessarily try to hide it.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Zee shows this before he's even introduced, in the courthouse when he defiantly struggles and attempts to flee from the bailiffs that were dragging him off, and shouting "It wasn't me".
  • Flexing Those Non-Biceps: Played for laughs, usually Zee assuring Alex there's no need to worry with Zee around.
    Zee: Don't forget me, could take them all on single-handed with these muscles.
  • Meaningful Name: He's the youngest child with four older brothers and sisters, so his mother was adamant he was the last one and called him "Zee".
  • Nothing but Skin and Bones: Comes to be described as this several weeks into his stay in Furnace Penitentiary. Noted by Alex in Fugitives that he could feel Zee's shoulder blade poking him when giving Zee a pat on the back.
  • Not So Above It All: Zee reveals he's this in Fugitives when it's revealed he used to carjack.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Has a tendency to crack jokes and dramatically complain about petty circumstances.
  • Smart Guy: Zee is very well read and has a love of documentaries, this manages to save the group's collective asses at times be it bypassing electrical circuitry, or spouting a bible verses to win the trust of an unstable preacher.
  • Sweet Tooth: Zee mentions that he used to bake many sweets and cakes with his grandmother and in Fugitives goes diving for a display case full of chocolate cupcakes.
  • Unexplained Accent: Alex only ever describes Zee as having a "specific accent" but never defining in universe where it actually comes from. Word of God claims that Zee has an American accent, but that most American readers assumed he had an English one.

     Carl Donovan 

Carl Donovan

Alex's cellmate, friend and co-conspirator who had been incarcerated inside Furnace since he was eleven.

  • All There in the Manual: It's revealed in a short story that Donovan is still meticulous about basic grooming despite the lack of resources.
    • Origins Episode: The prequel short story Silent Night is a thoughtful and greater look into Donovan's character: the origin of the crime that got him into Furnace; how his love for cheesburgers came to be; his life in Furnace before ever meeting Alex.
  • Bad Liar: Too hesistant whenever he tries.
  • The Big Guy: Known as one of the bigger kids in prison; tall and muscular.
  • Bruiser with a Soft Center
  • Children Forced to Kill: Reason for incarceration, unlike Alex and Zee's framed murders. He was eleven at the time and pushed to a breaking point struggling with his mother being physically abused by her boyfriend, so Donovan snapped and beat her boyfriend to death with a candlestick.
  • Conditioned to Accept Horror: Spending his life inside Furnace for so long has left him desensitised to suicide attempts and gruesome gang fights.
  • Deep Breath Reveals Tension: Donovan has a tendency to do this when struggling with anxiety attacks.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Zee's taken to calling Donovan "Big D."
  • Eternally Pearly-White Teeth: A particularly notable characteristic of his charming smile.
  • Last-Name Basis: He prefers to go by Donovan because he finds it sounds better than Carl.
  • The Old Convict: Has been living inside Furnace for five years, refers to himself as "first generation."
  • Only a Flesh Wound: During the fight with Santiago in Silent Night, Donovan is stabbed by Santa's bone shank, not once, not twice, but three times during the fight. Granted, it's after he gets stabbed in the stomach and manages to knock Santiago out that Donovan has to the time to actually recognise how close to death he's gotten. And how it miraculous it was that Santiago hadn't seriously punctured one of his organs.
  • Passive-Aggressive Kombat: Despite being fully capable to be in a fight, he deals most of his hits in remarks, especially in response to Alex doing something incredibly dumb.
  • Spirit Advisor: To Alex, mainly in Solitary but with brief cameos in the rest of the books.
  • Token Minority: Though the character descriptions in Furnace are all relatively vague in terms of race, Donovan is the only character who is consistently described with dark skin and was confirmed by Word of God as being conceptualised as a black boy.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Cheeseburgers.

     Simon Rojo-Flores 

Simon Rojo-Flores

An inmate introduced in Solitary as a failed Blacksuit experiment who was able to remember who he was. Becomes one of Alex's co-conspirators.

  • The Big Guy: Due to the surgery he's undergone that packed his torso and right arm with strong muscles.
  • Embarrassing Last Name: When Alex teases him about his last name, Simon claims it means "killer of those who jerk my chain". Zee then chimes in to say it actually means "Red Flowers."
  • Get Your Mind Out of the Gutter: Has a certain affinity of making suggestive comments about, well, Alex's thing.
  • Glowing Eyes: Distinguished in his first introduction to Alex as his eyes shone though pitch darkness.
  • Go Out with a Smile: Simon, realising that Alex's plan to kill off all of the Blacksuits, rats and Berserkers would include him as well, he leaves Alex, Zee and Lucy behind with one last smile and laugh, never to be seen again.
  • Mister Exposition: Fills in Alex and Zee on the true nature of the prison and its plans, and who really is running the place.
  • Unwitting Pawn: To Furnace.

     Monty Earl 

Montgomery "Monty" Earl

An inmate introduced in Lockdown as one of the three boys who arrived with Alex in Furnace.

  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Monty to Alex when Alex tries saving him from the Skulls.
    Monty: What? You want a reward for rescuing helpless little Monty? Well, you're not getting one.
  • Distinguishing Mark: Monty has a brown birthmark about the size of a grapefruit and in the shape of a heart on his upper arm.
    • Lives up even more to the trope's name as it's how Alex could distinguished the monster brought back from the Blood Watch was actually Monty.
  • Famous Last Words:
    Monty: If they catch you, just don't forget your name.
  • Supreme Chef: Manages to make a masterpiece of a meal out of the scraps that are left over for the prisoners.
  • Transformation Horror: Is this in Lockdown when he is brought back during a Blood Watch, halfway between his surgical procedure into becoming a Blacksuit. Alex describes him as looking like one of the warden's skinless hell hounds, but with a painfully human face and anguished screams.

     Kevin Arnold 

Kevin Arnold

A ruthless gangster and one of the leaders of the Skulls first introduced in Lockdown.

  • Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon: Kevin dishes out one of these. Played straight in Kevin's delivery, but Alex lampshades the line saying "it sounded like some terrible Sunday afternoon horror film."
    Kevin: You funny now, but dead men don't laugh too loud.
    • And Your Little Dog, Too!: Drags Zee into the threat when he's about to leave.
      Kevin: Soon as the warden lifts his warning, we'll shut you up for good, new fish. You and your little girlfriend there.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: Admitted by Word of God that he accidentally gave Kevin, a cruel and heartless gangster, the name of a character in an early 90s American comedy.
  • Jerkass: He's a nasty gangster who enjoys inflicting cruelty onto his fellow prisoners, torturing and beating them to establish himself as leader.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: You know how Kevin tortured and beaten Monty and essentially sent the kid out to his death in a Blood Watch? You'll never guess who comes back in savage anger for Kevin, during a Blood Watch.
  • Starter Villain: As far as anybody in gen-pop is concerned, Kevin is one of the biggest threats to Alex's life and plans. However, he's pretty small fish not only in just the whole story line, but in the book he's introduced.

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     Gary Owens 

Gary Owens

An inmate introduced in the middle of Lockdown who becomes one of the leaders of the Skulls.

  • Abusive Parents: Revealed in Solitary briefly that Gary's dad used to beat him.
    Gary: Not the first time I've had the crap beaten out of me. That river was a pansy compared to my old man."
  • The Big Guy: Described as a tall, well built teenager.
    Zee: Maybe one of the new fish is a tunnelling expert. That tall one looks like he might have already escaped from a couple of prisons.
  • The Berserker: Becomes this in Death Sentence.
  • Establishing Character Moment: About ten minutes into entrance into Furnace, he immediately challenges Kevin and then breaks Kevin's wrist, dethrones him and takes his position as Skull leader, and then shanks two inmates.
  • Put on a Bus: The last time we hear of Gary is in Death Sentence having gone on a killing spree in the lower levels. Otherwise, he is never mentioned in the following two books and is only assumed to be dead after Alex makes the command decision to kill every being that was corrupted by the nectar.

     Bodie 

Bodie

One of Kevin's lieutenants who ends up becoming a leader of the Skulls.

  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Bodie has a long scar on his face that runs from chin to forehead.
  • Hidden Depths: Bodie has a deep sense of loyalty and honour to the boys he grew up in the streets with. Especially with his brother who also was down in Furnace with him.
  • Only One Name: Is only ever referred to as "Bodie".
  • Rousing Speech: Bodie gives one to the inmates of Furnace. Lampshaded by Alex who regrets the fact he wasn't able to come up with something as good.

     Toby Merchant 

Toby Merchant

An eleven year old inmate introduced in the middle of Lockdown who joins Alex's escape plan.

  • One Steve Limit: This Toby shares the same name as Alex's murdered friend, Lampshaded by Alex is torn up just over the fact he'd hear his best friend's again so soon.
  • Railing Kill: Subverted. Ashley almost successfully does this, but Toby is then saved by Alex.

     Ashley Garett 

Ashley Garrett

An inmate introduced in the middle of Lockdown who is killed by Alex during a suicide attempt gone wrong.

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Antagonists

     Blacksuits 

Blacksuits

The overpowered prison guards that keep order in Furnace Penitentiary.

  • The Brute
  • Child Soldiers: All the Blacksuits are this as only a child's body can withstand the physical and psychological change in becoming a Blacksuit.
  • Master Race: As part of Cross and Furnace's plans.
  • No Name Given: The Blacksuits aren't given names, with the exception of Alex nicknaming one "Moleface", and Sam in Execution. This is due to the fact that the warden brainwashes all of them into forgetting their previous identities in order to "rebirth" them with new powers.
  • Super Powered Mooks: With super strength, speed, and night vision.

     Wheezers 

Wheezers

  • Gas Mask Mooks: Their masks are stitched into their faces.
  • Humanoid Abomination
  • Medical Horror: The revolving theme around these beings, in appearance with needles strapped to their chest. Down in the Infirmary the wheezers perform the surgeries that enhance the inmates into becoming Blacksuits.

     Warden Cross 

Warden Cross

The warden of Furnace Penitentiary.

  • Big Bad Wannabe
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The inmates of Furnace Penitentiary universally only seem to address him as "Warden."
  • Faux Affably Evil: Sometimes, Alex notices that he's being genuinely affable, but it doesn't last very long, and most of his smiles are all acts.
  • The Heavy: Until Fugitives Cross is the constant force going against Alex's escape plans.
  • Meaningful Name: Cross is the English translation of his German name, Kreuz.
  • Rasputinian Death: Has half of his head torn in half by a grenade, then drained of all his blood and the bastard still has some strength left to try to throw himself downstairs, but is ultimately defeated by being torn apart by wheezers
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: Wears a pressed suit, and has his Blacksuits in black pinstripe suits at all time.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: Cross is actually an over a century old Nazi, as explained in The Night Children, Cross was a 17 year old lieutenant when he met Furnace. This explains his motives to create a new master race of Blacksuits.
  • Wardens Are Evil: Played straight, for obvious reasons.

     Alfred Furnace 

Alfred Furnace

  • Cain and Abel: to his brother Jószef, but really it was all a set up by the stranger.
  • The Man Behind the Man
  • Dark Lord on Life Support: Furnace is estimated to be about 300 years old, and to sustain his life Furnace is forced to stay in a machine that circulates The Stranger's blood within him, and to transfer The Stranger's blood when a new heir is chosen.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: He's mentioned by name in Lockdown, but the man isn't actually seen until Execution.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: Revealed to be this in Death Sentence as Cross explains how Furnace developed the idea of nectar to make his new master race. Furnace was forced to flee when the Allied countries overtook Germany.
  • Made of Evil: When dying, he literally turns into dust.

     Spoiler Character 

Alice Panettierre

A military doctor/scientist introduced in the beginning of Execution.

  • Bait-and-Switch: When first meeting Alex, Panettierre assures him that she is only there to figure out what's wrong with him and to help. She actually intends on finding a way to create her own army at the cost of butchering Zee (she believes he holds the cure for the nectar) and countless Blacksuits and rats.
  • Call-Back: Horrifyingly echoes a phrase Moleface told Alex so long ago.
    Panettierre: Good luck, Alex. Run as hard as you can. We'll see you real soon.
  • Drunk on the Dark Side: Her hunger for power proves to be her downfall when she accepts Alex's offer to replace her blood with The Stranger's. However, this only lasts for a second as she and The Stranger destroy each other vis a vis Super-Power Meltdown
  • Faux Affably Evil: She speaks with a soothing, almost hypnotising voice and has a kind and concerned facade. But her smile is just a little too wide, and she has a little too much fun slicing open kids for it to just be concerned.
  • The Heavy: In Execution, she refuses to back down her hunt for Alex and Zee to perform her own experiments on them, trying to trap them at every possible turn.
  • Mad Scientist
  • Unexplained Accent: One of her first descriptors is that she has the same unspecified accent that Zee has. Though, it can implied to be American considering the Word of God claiming that Zee's is American.

     Spoiler Character 

The Stranger

An ancient eldritch god whose blood can turn children into monsters.

Others

     Toby 

Toby

Alex's best friend at the beginning of Lockdown.

     Lucy Wells 

Lucy Wells

Lucy is a teenage civilian first introduced in Fugitives, and tags along with Alex, Zee and Simon.

  • The Smurfette Principle: The only teenage girl introduced in the series full of teenage boys.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: From Lucy to Alex, when a nectar crazed Alex drains the blood of a berserker, nearly kills Lucy, but then switches and taking it out by punching a moving train before blacking out. Needless to say, despite Zee and Simon trying to explain their situation, Lucy doesn't buy that they're the good guys.

     Spoiler Character 

Sam

The blacksuit introduced in Execution that helps escort Alex, Zee, Simon and Lucy to Furnace.

  • Breakout Mook Character: Becomes this in Execution, when he was originally introduced as one Alfred Furnace's blacksuits, but is then ordered specifically to help Alex. Over the course of the book, the blacksuit begins to remember small things about his old life, then the realisation that his name was Sam.

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