The Scorch Trials is a 2010 young adult post-apocalyptic dystopian science fiction novel written by American author James Dashner and the second book, fourth chronologically, in The Maze Runner series. The novel was published on 18 September 2010 by Delacorte Press. It is preceded by The Maze Runner, and followed by The Death Cure. A film adaptation was released on 18 September 2015 by 20th Century Fox.
LIST OF CONTENT
The book starts with Thomas sleeping in the dormitory with the other teenagers – known as the Gladers, who had escaped from the Maze in the previous book – where they had been brought by a group of rescuers. Thomas is woken by a telepathic communication with Teresa, the only girl from the Glade, who is afraid.
As Thomas wakes up, he finds that the facility is being attacked by Cranks – aggressive zombie-like people that have been affected by a plague known as the Flare. Cranks were normal citizens before The Flare, after which they became crazed zombie-like killers.
Thomas and the others escape into the facility’s common area and discover that their rescuers are dead. They also find that Teresa is missing from her room, and in her place is a boy named Aris Jones. Aris explains that he escaped from a similar Maze experiment, dubbed Group B, in which he was the only male. The boys then discover tattoos on their necks assigning them specific roles and fates.
The Gladers re-enter the common area and find that the bodies of their rescuers have disappeared. They find a scientist from WICKED named Janson (described by the boys as “Rat Man”) who explains that WICKED has been studying them in order to try to find a cure for the Flare. He tells them that they have been infected with the Flare, and in two weeks must get through the Scorch – a burned out section of the land – to find a safe haven and get the cure.
The Gladers travel to the Scorch through a portal called a flat trans and find themselves in a tunnel filled with traps. They escape into the desert and find a building in which a girl is screaming. Thomas discovers that the screaming is artificial and enters the building to find Teresa, who kisses him and tells him that he needs to stay away from her.
As the Gladers search for supplies Thomas begins to recover memories of the relationship he had with Teresa before his memories were removed. They find a city but are caught in a storm that kills Winston, Jack, and several other boys. They take refuge in a building where they find a group of Cranks led by a man named Jorge. Thomas convinces Jorge and his second-in-command – a teenage girl named Brenda – to help the Gladers escape in exchange for some of the cure. Thomas and Brenda get separated from the rest of the group, and Thomas discovers a message written all over the city that says that he is the real leader. Thomas and Brenda are then suddenly captured by another group of Cranks who drug them. Brenda tries to kiss Thomas before they pass out, but he refuses her advances because of his feelings for Teresa, telling Brenda that she could never be Teresa.
Minho rescues them with the help of the other Gladers but Thomas is shot in the shoulder with a rusty bullet that leads to an infection. Thomas’ wounds get worse and WICKED captures him to heal his infection. A healed Thomas is returned to the Gladers, where Thomas explains that WICKED never wanted him to get shot, and that WICKED considers him very important to their plans. Thomas later receives a telepathic message from Teresa warning him that something terrible is about to happen and that she won’t be able to help him.
The Gladers come across Group B, now led by Teresa. Group B takes Thomas prisoner and Teresa says that she plans on killing him. Some of the other Group B girls tell Thomas that Teresa had never liked him and their earlier kiss had been against her will. The girls tell Thomas that they are not going to kill him and that Teresa is unhappy about the situation.
Later, Teresa comes to Thomas with Aris. Teresa and Aris kiss and she explains that she has been manipulating Thomas all along. They lock Thomas in a room where he passes out. While unconscious, he remembers some of his past relationship with Teresa and Aris before he entered the Maze. Eventually, Thomas is rescued by Aris and Teresa, who explain that they were forced by WICKED to make Thomas feel totally betrayed, and that if they hadn’t complied WICKED would have killed him. Thomas is conflicted and no longer trusts them.
The Gladers and Group B reach the location where the safe haven is supposed to be, but there they are attacked by monsters created by WICKED. A flying vehicle called a Bergarrives from WICKED and they fight their way on board, but WICKED will allow only one other to come with them: Either Jorge or Brenda must be killed. Thomas chooses Brenda hoping that WICKED takes whomever he didn’t choose. When they don’t, he overpowers the guard and forces him at gunpoint to allow both of them to remain on the Berg. The guard agrees, telling them that this was yet another test.
Later as they rest, Brenda communicates telepathically with Thomas. Thomas awakens separated from his friends in a plain, white room, left in isolation for a long time. Teresa tells him telepathically that the others are being told that he has succumbed to the Flare. Still not trusting her, Thomas tells Teresa to leave him alone; she tells him that “WICKED is good” before cutting off communication.
- The Epilogue
The epilogue is in the form of an e-mail from Chancellor Ava Paige. Dr. Paige writes that WICKED will soon tell the Gladers whether or not they are immune to the Flare.