When sun flares hit the Earth, intense heat, toxic radiation and flooding followed, wiping out much of the human race. Those who survived live in basic communities in the mountains, hunting for food. For Mark and his friends, surviving is difficult, and then an enemy arrives, infecting people with a highly contagious virus. Thousands die, and the virus is spreading. Worse, it's mutating, and people are going crazy. It's up to Mark and his friends to find the enemy - and a cure - before the Flare infects them all ...
This prequel to Dashner's dystopian Maze Runner trilogy, set 13 years before those books,focuses on a new character Mark who lives through the "sun flares" that decimate Earth. He creates a new family with other survivors, including Alec, a tough old soldier, and Trina, his love interest. But then strangers arrive on an airship and infect villagers with a mysterious virus, which quickly spreads and mutates. Maze Runner fans may be surprised by the new protagonist, but they will be swept up in the breathless, cinematic action. Whether Mark is flashing back to his escape from the sun flares, stealing an airship with Alec, or battling hordes of virus-infected maniacs, Dashner's adventure is filled with near-constant melees and peril (some readers might want to trade some fight scenes for more narrative and character development). Even so, Dashner has crafted a clever prequel that will appeal to fans anxious to see where The Maze Runner came from, while enticing those unfamiliar with the later books. Ages 12 up.