The Death Cure is a 2011 young adult dystopian science fiction novel written by American writer James Dashner and the third book published in the Maze Runner series (the fifth and last in narrative order). It was published on 11 October 2011 by Delacorte Press and was preceded in publication order by The Maze Runner and The Scorch Trials and followed by the series prequels, The Kill Order and The Fever Code. In narrative order, it is the last book in the series.
LIST OF CONTENT
Thomas is held in solitary confinement but is eventually released by WICKED’s Assistant Director Janson (“Rat Man” in the prior novel).
Janson tells the Gladers (Group A) and Group B that there is a cure for the Flare. Many of those present are immune to the Flare while some are not, and escaping would serve no purpose, as people in the outside world despise the Immunes. Janson reads out names of people who are not immune to the Flare. Thomas is devastated to hear that his friend Newt is not immune.
The Gladers are offered the chance to remove the mind-control chips in their heads, thus restoring their memories, but with the devices removed, Thomas, Teresa, and Aris will no longer be able to communicate telepathically. Only Thomas, Minho, and Newt choose not to undergo the surgery, believing they cannot help to find the cure if they lose their telepathic connection or gain their prior memories. All three of them escape from WICKED with the help of Brenda and Jorge before their chips are removed.
Brenda and Jorge are revealed to be working for WICKED. Thomas initially feels betrayed, but Brenda convinces him to forgive her. Soon after, the Gladers discover that everyone who had undergone the memory-restoration abandoned them. Newt gives Thomas a note and tells him to open it “when the time is right”.
The five of them then go to Denver looking for a former WICKED researcher named Hans who can remove Thomas’, Minho’s, and Newt’s mind-control chips.
When they arrive at the airport a man in a black-suit directs them to an address where ex-Glader Gally is waiting for them. Newt must remain behind because he would be arrested and confined with the other Cranks. Gally has joined a rebel group called the Right Arm, and is determined to end WICKED’s trials and experiments. He tells them that WICKED is capturing every Immune they can find to prepare another cycle of the Trials. He also reveals the decaying cities are home to many who suffer from the Flare, but take an illicit drug called Bliss which slows down brain functioning and helps relieve the pain Cranks feel from the Flare.
Thomas and his friends find Hans who removes Minho’s control chip, but WICKED uses the chip to force Thomas to resist the procedure: Brenda, Jorge, and Minho have to hold him down in order for Hans to perform the surgery.
They visit a café where a man is caught taking Bliss and arrested by the security guards. One of the guards apprehends Thomas in order to sell him to bounty hunters that will take him to WICKED. WICKED Assistant Director Janson intervenes in holographic form, sending a police vehicle to rescue Thomas. Janson tells Thomas that “to save Newt”, he must return to WICKED.
Minho, Thomas, Brenda, and Jorge return to the Berg (vehicle) to find a note saying that Newt has been taken to the Cranks. Minho convinces the four of them to go to the Denver Crank Palace to rescue Newt, where they bribe the guards to get in. When they meet Newt, he angrily orders them to leave and the other Cranks chase them out. Thomas then remembers the note Newt gave him and reads it, to find that Newt had begged Thomas to kill him. Thomas despairs over not having read the note earlier, and the four go back to Denver.
In Denver, Thomas sees Newt, who has succumbed to the Flare. Newt begs Thomas to end his suffering and kill him. Thomas shoots him in the head as an act of mercy. Then, they discover that Teresa and the other Immunes all had been captured. Thomas and Minho knock out the Immunes’ former guards and threaten them to make the guards take them to WICKED also. Thomas and Brenda discover the guards were led by Vince, the leader of the Right Arm. Vince tells them the Right Arm is copying WICKED’s operations, and plan to take over their headquarters building.
Working for the Right Arm, Thomas arrives at WICKED headquarters and discovers that how he meant for Thomas “to save Newt” is to provide data to complete the cure by Janson examining the physical structure of Thomas’s brain, which will kill Thomas. Thomas is forced to begin the deadly brain surgery but is first able to plant a device that disables WICKED’s weapons, and the Right Arm begins storming the facility.
Thomas wakes up to find himself alive and finds a note from Chancellor Paige, head of WICKED. She writes that some WICKED staff did not accept the violence that WICKED caused in its search for a cure to the Flare plague. She explains there are already enough resources from the Trials to make a blueprint for the cure, and that his brain is not needed after all.
In the note, Paige reveals the location of the Immunes whom the Right Arm “sold” to gain access to WICKED, and gives directions to a “safe place” where Thomas should take them all. Thomas and his friends re-enter the Maze and find the captured Immunes. However, they learn the Right Arm does not intend to occupy WICKED headquarters but instead intend to destroy it. Explosions rock the Maze and falling debris kills some of the Immunes inside. Triggered by the commotion, the Grievers come out of storage, but Teresa shows Thomas how to shut them down. She, however, dies from falling debris in an effort to save Thomas’s life. Fleeing the building, the Immunes escape through a Flat Trans portal that leads to a lush paradise.
The book’s Epilogue is written in the voice of Dr. Ava Paige, Chancellor of WICKED. She reveals that after the catastrophic solar flares, the plague called “the Flare” had been deliberately created by the government and released as a form of population control. The government believed that the disease would kill quickly and soon stop spreading, but once released it escalated beyond government control. WICKED was not able to find a cure.
Dr. Paige finally realized that from the beginning the Immunes had been the only actual hope and devised a plan with Brenda and Jorge to send the remaining Immunes to a safe refuge. There they can survive the collapse of the rest of the world, and afterward, rebuild society and restore the human race. That is why, as she states, “WICKED is good.”