Will, Beanpole and a group of other Freemen are chosen to compete in "The Games" held by the Tripods. Winners are taken to The Golden City where, the Freemen hope to collect information on how to destroy the Tripods.
After surviving a severe beating by the Black Guard, Fritz meets another uncapped person who shows him how the city gets its power. Will continues his education by the Masters, and learns of their plans for some of the human race.
Will escapes from the city leaving Fritz behind to exploit his important position. After drifting in the river; Will is found by, none other than, Beanpole. The two decide to hurry back to The White Mountains to share their new discoveries.
Almost captured by the Black Guard, Will and Beanpole are hidden by a traveling circus. After finding out the leader is going to betray them to the Tripods, Will convinces the other kids working there to escape with them to The White Mountains.