Thomas and the Gladers have escaped from the Maze and discovered the true purpose of their suffering: the Maze was a grand experiment, orchestrated by international task force WICKED. Resting in a secure dormitory, they believe their ordeal is finally over. But the world outside is far from safe…
Earth has been ravaged by sun flares, entire continents transformed into desert wasteland, cities destroyed and fresh water scarce. Furthermore, the population has been decimated by a new and deadly disease: the Flare. The Flare infects the brain, slowly consuming the mind. The infected are known as ‘Cranks’, zombie-like creatures devoid of humanity and filled with rage.
The boys awaken in the dormitory to find themselves abandoned by WICKED and tattooed with a single label. Teresa’s label is ‘the Betrayer’, a title left on the door of the dormitory she’d occupied. Teresa herself has disappeared, replaced by a boy called Aris. The Gladers learn that they weren’t the only group to experience the Maze – a number of girls and a single boy, Aris, escaped their version of the test a few days before the Gladers.
But the Maze was only the beginning: Phase Two of the ‘Trials’ has already begun. WICKED has injected each of the boys with the deadly Flare. The Gladers’ challenge is to journey through the Scorch to reach a safe haven – and a promised cure – on the other side of a Crank-infested city, before their time runs out.
Their numbers dwindle as they journey through the desert, but the Gladers finally make it to the Crank city. They forge an alliance with newly-infected Cranks Jorge and Brenda, who promise to lead them through the city in exchange for a share of WICKED’s promised Cure. But as they venture into the Underneath – a series of dank tunnels, offering safe passage from the burning sun – Thomas and Brenda are separated from the others and trapped underground after a massive explosion. Danger lurks in the darkness: the worst Cranks, their humanity long gone, inhabit the deepest tunnels – but there’s no way out but forward…
Plagued by fleeting dreams and memories of his life before the Glade, Thomas has far more than Cranks on his mind. He worries about his separation from Teresa and the Gladers, and wonders at the label WICKED has tattooed on his neck: ‘To be Killed by Group B’.
After facing untold danger and near death, Thomas and the Gladers come face to face with their greatest challenge yet: Group B. Can the girls be trusted? Will the Gladers make it to the safe haven? And if they do make it, how safe will it really be?
A blistering desert wasteland around the equator, including central and South America, most of Africa, the Middle East and Southern Asia. People infected by the Flare are removed from the remaining population and sent here for the remainder of their lives as they succumb to the effects of the disease.
A series of tests the Gladers are put through by WICKED in order to analyse their responses to different situations and construct a blueprint for a Flare cure based on their findings. The first phase of these was the Maze Trials, the second the Scorch Trials.
A nasty virus which developed when the sun flares hit the earth. The disease destroys the victim’s brain, slowly driving them insane and stripping them of the capacity to feel basic human emotions (see ‘Cranks’).
A person who has been infected by the Flare. The disease slowly destroys the victim’s brain but it can take time before they start exhibiting symptoms, so not all Cranks have gone insane … yet. Cranks who have only recently caught the disease may appear entirely normal, losing control of their mental functions over time until their humanity disappears completely.
A state of infection by the Flare where it has fully taken hold of the victim’s mind, to the extent that they have completely lost their sanity. Cranks who are past the Gone behave in an uncontrolled, animalistic, zombie-like manner.
An acronym for ‘World In Catastrophe, Killzone Experiment Department’ – a group formed by the remaining governments to save the world from further catastrophe and to protect the future of the human race. They have almost unlimited money, resources and the most advanced technology and control the Trials, altering the Variables inflicted upon the Gladers and analysing their responses to them.
A dark, damp series of tunnels and secret passages connecting the buildings underneath the Crank city. The really bad Cranks way past the Gone are usually found here. Thomas describes it as a ‘dank, miserable place’.
Not a cure for the Flare, but a drug developed to delay its effects: a numbing-agent which slows the processes of the brain and thus the spread of the Flare. It numbs emotions, pain and intelligence, leaving users in an almost drunken stupor. Only important people or the very rich have access to it.
Short for ‘Flat Transportation’ – extremely expensive advanced new technology. A murky, shadowy wall of grey, a Flat Trans can transport individuals from one location to another when they step through its surface. Used by WICKED to transport the Gladers from the facility where they’re taken after the Maze to the Scorch.