Thomas wakes up in a box, only remembering his name. A group of boys (13+) pull him out and tell him he is in the glade, part of the maze they live which is later to be found out as a test to attempt to find a cure, a cure for the flare, which is a disease that makes you, zombie-like. he makes a friend, Chuck, and an enemy, Gally, who was undergoing the change, he was scratched or bitten by a griver while he was "running" (mapping the maze) Gally claims that he saw Thomas while he was changing which makes Thomas an outsider but he is determined to become a runner, so he does. he stays the night in the maze, which is not really recommended, because that is when the grivers come out, he only stays because he trys to help a runner back inside before the wall seperating the maze and the glade together. so they endure a night out along with another runner, Minho. the runner thomas origionally tried to keep safe gets scratched while thomas tries to bring him over the wall, but finds out the hard way that grivers can climb, later that night Minho and Thomas "kill" a griver, (they trick it into falling off a cliff) and all three boys survive the night, since that moment thomas is a runner. then a girl arrives, which is strange considering its an all boy camp, we are introduced to wicked, her hand reads "WICKED is good" and Thomas recognizes the name, but doesnt say anything. after a run he hears the girl talking to him in his head, they can talk telepathically, weiner realize they have a connection. the highest members of the glade judge wether he can stay in the glade or leave, considering all the trouble he has brought them. they decide he can stay but Gally must leave because of his outburst. all is well until the wall stops closing, and one person dies a painful death each night they realize that they must leave, or die so they make a plan using the maps to spell out something that they must do to a button and go off into the maze! many die, but those few that live jump into the cliff the griever "died" in and everything stops, they then go out into what they think is the real world and meet the scientists, they also find gally, who has gone completely mad and tries to kill Thomas, but instead Chuck only takes the shot, and Thomas knocks out Gally. After that the scientists explain what is happening, and in the middle of their explanation they are attacked, and killed. They escape the lab and see a woman who is expected but run over her in the stormy night, off to safety, at least they think. The second book starts the next day.