The Kill Order

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The Kill Order
The Kill Order (Dashner novel).jpg
Book cover of The Kill Order
Author James Dashner
Cover artist Philip Straub
Country United States
Language English
Series The Maze Runner series
Genre Young adult, dystopian, science fiction
Publisher Delacorte Press
Publication date
August 14, 2012
Media type Print (hardcover and paperback), audiobook, e-book
Pages 327
ISBN 978-0-385-74288-7
OCLC 793655614
LC Class PZ7.D2587 Kil 2012[1]
Followed by The Fever Code

The Kill Order is a 2012 young adult dystopian science fiction novel written by American author James Dashner and published on August 14, 2012 by Delacorte Press. It is the first prequel book in The Maze Runner series and the fourth installment overall. The book is set prior to the events of The Fever Code and 13 years before The Maze Runner book.[2]


Of the novel, Dashner stated that he wanted to expand the world but not focus on the main characters of the main Maze Runner trilogy.[3] He also stated that he had originally planned to write a prequel for the series, but that the plans did not become official until he had completed the third book in the trilogy.[4]


In the prologue, Thomas goes through the Swipe and is put in The Box, as he is one of the candidates needed inside, and it is told that Teresa will get the Swipe as well. Thomas is then sent to the maze with Teresa, setting the events of The Maze Runner in motion.

Set thirteen years before the events of The Maze Runner and the prologue, the novel chronologically begins in New York City when the world is hit by solar flares. Mark and Trina form an alliance with Alec, Lana and others who rescue them from a group of street urchins. The group flees to the fictional Lincoln building to avoid an impending tsunami. They camp out in the building for weeks until a yacht arrives and the ship's crew takes them hostage and kills one of them. Alec manages to take out their captors and they take the yacht as their own. Then they pilot the boat to the Appalachian Beaches.

The beginning of the novel takes place in North Carolina one year later, when the small village of Ashville, where Mark, Trina, Alec and Lana live, is attacked by huge helicopter-like vehicles, known as Bergs. The crew of the Berg shower them with darts, killing many villagers. Mark and Alec manage to subdue and take over a Berg but the pilot crashes it to avoid answering any questions. Mark and Alec realize that the darts were filled with a deadly virus and take Lana and Trina to find the headquarters of the mysterious attackers. The group encounters an abandoned village where they meet a 5-year-old girl named Deedee, whom they take with them. Mark and Alec leave the group for a while to investigate a loud noise. They encounter an infected cult who believe Deedee is a demon of some sort, as she is not affected by the virus within the darts. They manage to escape the cult, but they realize that a forest fire has been started and that Trina, Lana and Deedee are gone from the campsite. They continue their trail to the headquarters site, thinking that the three girls are there.

They arrive at the site and sneak in to what appears to be the Post-Flares Coalition's (PFC) base. They eavesdrop on a conversation and realize that the virus is widely known as The Flare, a virus that shuts down the thinking-part of people's brains. They also learn that the girls were given back to the cult, but are caught eavesdropping and manage to escape and steal a Berg, before Mark realizes that The Flare has already taken his mind. Inside the Berg, Mark and Alec find Transvices, guns that evaporate people's molecules. They recharge it in order to use it to battle the infected.

Their journey inside the Berg takes them near Asheville, where they find Lana, who was badly tortured by the infected, forcing Alec to kill her using the Transvice to end her suffering. They find Trina and Deedee at an old house, where Mark realizes Trina has the Flare and has forgotten about him. They are attacked by the infected and manage to escape back to the Berg. As Mark starts to lose his mind, he realizes that Deedee is immune to the virus and should be sent to the PFC base in Alaska. Mark plans on delivering Deedee using a Flat Trans teleporter in another base inside the safe part of Asheville. As they travel, it is revealed that Alec also has the Flare and is dying.

Mark and Trina manage to deliver Deedee to the Flat Trans, sending her to the safety of the PFC base. Mark orders Alec to crash the Berg into the building, in order to prevent the infected from escaping Asheville. Trina remembers Mark and they kiss just as the Berg crashes, killing everyone in the base.

In the epilogue, two years later, a woman's son is taken away from her by authorities from W.I.C.K.E.D., as he is immune to the virus. The employees name him Thomas.


  • Mark: A 17-year-old boy who survived the onslaught of the Flare and finds himself living with his neighbor Trina and war veterans Alec and Lana, along with a few others in the Appalachians. After a Berg releases the Flare virus that kills everyone but the four, Mark embarks on a journey to take revenge against those who ordered the execution.
  • Alec: A war veteran who came to rescue Mark and Trina shortly before a giant tsunami caused by the melting polar ice caps hit New York City. He and Lana have since become the two teenagers' companions since a year before the novel begins.
  • Trina: Mark's neighbor and love interest who was with him when the Flare first hit the Earth and has since lived together with other survivors in a small village in the Appalachians.
  • Lana: A war nurse who has a close relationship with Alec. The two accompany Mark and Trina ever since the onslaught of the Flare and the immediate tsunami that devastated New York City. She is the first of the four to succumb to the Flare virus.
  • Deedee / Teresa: A 5-year-old girl whom Mark, Alec, Trina, and Lana, find in a deserted neighboring village. She is immune to the Flare virus, a status which is demonized by her fellow villagers. Due to this, Mark decides to send her to the Post-Flare Coalition (PFC) base in Alaska, where she would be renamed Teresa Agnes. A grown Teresa is also shown in the prologue of the novel, where she becomes a witness to Thomas being delivered to the Maze.
  • Anton: A worker for the PFC who tells Mark and Alec about the way the Flare virus is spread. He also tells them that he and his coworkers plan to move to the PFC base in Alaska, which gives Mark idea to send Deedee there.
  • Bruce: A worker for the PFC who had a hand in releasing the Flare virus in return for food for him and his coworkers. He complains about the restrictions put into the cure for the virus by the PFC base in Alaska.
  • Jed: A bald and earless man who is part of the villagers of Deedee's village. He prevents Mark and Alec from being killed and recounts to them about the Flare virus which destroyed his village two months and three days before. He subsequently dies due to the virus.
  • Toad, Misty, and Darnell: Three survivors of the Flare who are together referred to as "The Three Stooges". They live alongside Mark, Alec, Trina, and Lana, in the makeshift village in the Appalachians. Darnell is the first casualty of the Flare virus released by a Berg to their village. Misty is found to be infected just after Mark and Alec return from hijacking the Berg. After Toad puts at end to her misery, he is infected too and Alec kills him out of mercy.
  • Baxter: A 13-year-old boy who was part of the original group of survivors who survived the tsunami that hit New York City, alongside Mark, Trina, Alec, and Lana. When they camped out at the Lincoln Building, Baxter was killed by a man called Boss. He only appears in flashbacks.
  • Boss: A scavenger who ambushed Mark, Trina, Alec, Lana, Baxter, Toad, Misty and Darnell in the Lincoln Building. After killing Baxter, he threatened them to give him supplies. Mark managed to kick him off to the waters and took control of his vehicle. His female companion then committed suicide. He only appears in flashbacks.
  • John Michael: The current chancellor of World in Catastrophe: Killzone Experiment Department (WICKED), the company that approved the population control suggested by Katie McVoy to eradicate half of the world population using the Flare virus. He is mentioned in a letter found by Mark in Randall Spilker's workpad.
  • Randall Spilker and Ladena Lichliter: Two members of WICKED who disapproved the method suggested by Katie McVoy to kill half of the population by the VC321xb47 virus, seeing that its mutation is unpredictable. They are only mentioned in correspondence letters found by Mark in Spilker's workpad.
  • Katie McVoy: A member of WICKED who suggested to chancellor Michael a form of population control by killing half of the population with the VC321xb47 virus, referred to as the Flare virus; thus, she is indirectly responsible for most of the events in the series. She is only mentioned in a letter in Randall Spilker's workpad found by Mark.
  • Thomas: A 3-year-old boy immune to the Flare virus who is taken by WICKED from his willing mother in the epilogue of the novel. A member of WICKED decides to name him after Thomas Edison after seeing a light bulb in his house. A grown Thomas is also mentioned in the prologue of the novel from the point of view of Teresa, just before he takes his entry to the Maze.


Critical reception for The Kill Order was mostly positive.[5][6][7] Publishers Weekly and KidzWorld both gave positive reviews for the book, with Publishers Weekly noting that fans of the main Maze Runner series would enjoy it.[8][9]


On September 27, 2016, a sequel to The Kill Order was released, titled The Fever Code; taking place between the events of The Kill Order and The Maze Runner.


  1. ^ "The kill order" (first edition). LC Online Catalog. Library of Congress ( Retrieved 2016-12-29.
  2. ^ Deutsch, Lindsay. "Exclusive cover reveal and excerpt: 'The Kill Order' by James Dashner". USA Today. Retrieved 25 June 2013. 
  3. ^ Haddock, Sharon (Aug 11, 2012). "'The Kill Order' explains much of the series' story". Deseret News. Retrieved 25 June 2013. 
  4. ^ Young, Terrell (February 7, 2013). "Talking with James Dashner about 'The Kill Order'". Herald Extra. Retrieved 25 June 2013. 
  5. ^ "Review: The Kill Order". School Library Journal (Book Verdict). Retrieved 25 June 2013. 
  6. ^ "Review: The Kill Order". Booklist. Retrieved 25 June 2013. 
  7. ^ "Review: The Kill Order". Kirkus Reviews. Retrieved 25 June 2013. 
  8. ^ "Children's Review: The Kill Order". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 25 June 2013. 
  9. ^ "Book Review: The Kill Order by James Dashner". Kidz World. Retrieved 25 June 2013. 

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