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Shade's Children

Written By:Garth Nix - 1997

  • Shade's Children - Garth Nix cover


The key to survival rests in the hands of Shade's Children

In a futuristic urban wasteland, evil Overlords have decreed that no child shall live a day past his fourteenth birthday. On that Sad Birthday, the child is the object of an obscene harvest resulting in the construction of a machinelike creature whose sole purpose is to kill.

The mysterious Shade—once a man, but now more like the machines he fights—recruits the few children fortunate enough to escape. With luck, cunning, and skill, four of Shade's children come closer than any to discovering the source of the Overlords' power—and the key to their downfall. But the closer the children get, the more ruthless Shade seems to become...


As Ella and Drum entered the sick bay they saw a steel table in the exact center of the room. A Winger lay strapped to it, festooned with tubes that ran into its nasal cavities and wedges open mouth. Two of Shade's spider robots perched next to it, their forelimbs equipped with multiple grasping tendrils that now held surgical instruments.

"It's trying to speak," said Dru, watching the creature trying to move its misshapen mouth. Its open eye was moving too, the pupil off in one corner, staring. Staring at Ella.

Drum hesitated, then reached across and wrenched the tubes out of the Winger's mouth, ignoring the twitch of the spider robot's scalpel toward his hands.

The Winger coughed. It was obviously trying to speak, though its wide mouth and outthrust jaw were not designed to help with words. At first it sounded just like a gargle, or an insult. Then it became clear.

"El-la. El-la. Bra-at. Me."

"The brain of the boy used in the creature's manufacture has retained some human memory, which has come to the fore," said Shade. "And he obviously recognizes you."

"Brat?" asked Ella. "Brat?"


"A dynamic page-turner. Fast-paced action and the intensity of the entire situation make for exciting reading." —ALA Booklist

"Warning: following the adventures of Ella, Drum, Gold-Eye, and Ninde will keep you awake all night." —The Washington Post