Waking up in a strange upwardly-moving metal box, with no memory of who he is or how he got there, Thomas emerges into the blinding light of his new home, the Glade – a giant clearing flanked by four impossibly high concrete walls. He is met by a gang of hostile boys who all speak a strange kind of slang he’s never heard before.
Quickly labelled the ‘Greenbean’, Thomas finds his introduction to life in the Glade abrupt and confusing, and no one seems to want to tell him what’s going on or why he’s been sent there. All he knows is that he has a desperate need to get to know the world inside the vast, imposing walls – and an even more burning desire to find out what’s beyond them. All the Gladers will tell him is that, beyond the walls, stretches a dangerous maze, which the Gladers have been trying for years to solve.
Thomas quickly befriends Chuck, a younger boy who – despite being hugely annoying – takes Thomas under his wing and describes to him the workings of the Maze and the various theories the boys have about the ‘Creators’, the people who, they believe, put them in the Glade. He learns that the Maze is an ever-changing, vast and complex place – an unsolvable puzzle accessible by day, but sealed off by the large perimeter walls that enclose the Glade at dusk. It is what comes out in the Maze after dark that the Gladers fear most: The Grievers – hulking invincible killing machines, part animal and part mechanical. Any Glader trapped outside the Glade at night will be hunted down by the Grievers and never seen again.
The more Thomas learns about the Maze, the more he is overcome by the strange feeling that he’s been here before. His destiny, he believes, is to be a Runner – one of the Gladers tasked with venturing into the Maze during the day to map it out.
Just as Thomas is finding his feet, a new Glader arrives — only this time it’s a girl. Teresa is discovered barely conscious, clutching a piece of paper bearing just five words: She’s the last one. Ever.
After showing courage and skill in surviving a night spent outside the Glade walls, Thomas is promoted to Runner. But with time running out and tensions running high, cracks start to show in the relationships between the boys as they try to push for one last shot at survival and escape... and when Teresa channels a message from the Creators telling them ‘it all has to end’, Thomas must work fast to help the Gladers solve the mystery of the Maze. Even if it means risking his life against the Grievers and confronting his own past...
Home to the Gladers, incorporating four main areas: The Gardens, the Blood House (where the Gladers keep their animal stock), the Homestead (including a map room), and the Deadheads (an area of woodland in which dead Gladers are buried). The Glade, square in shape, is surrounded on all four sides by impossibly high concrete walls with one giant sliding door in each. The Glade is surrounded by the Maze and at nightfall the giant doors close, sealing the Gladers inside (or outside) the Glade until morning.
The area outside of the Glade. An ever-changing puzzle whose layout changes during the night, and home to the terrifying Grievers. It is by mapping and eventually solving the Maze that the Gladers hope to escape and return to their former lives.
Half animal, half machine, the Grievers are highly effective killers armed with spikes and an array of sharp weapons. Grievers mostly come out after dark, and are sealed off from the Glade by the enormous perimeter walls at night. A sting from a Griever can result in a Glader going through the Changing.
A near-death experience caused by being stung by a Griever. Gladers who go through the Changing usually suffer great pain, but the experience often grants them an insight into their former lives from before they entered the Glade.
Greenbean or Newbie
Nickname given to the most recent arrival in the Glade.
Mechanical insect-like creatures that spy on the Gladers for their masters, the Creators.
The controlling force behind the Maze – and those responsible for putting the Gladers there in the first place.
The chief Gladers, who are each in charge of a different area of life in the Glade. All Gladers have to take on a role within the Glade to keep things working.
A formal meeting held between the Keepers.
A metal elevator set into the floor of the Glade. All Gladers first enter the Glade through the Box, and the Creators send all essential supplies into the Glade via the Box.
The Gladers whose role it is to explore the Maze each day and record their findings in the Map Room.
The sheer drop into empty space at the very edge of the Maze.