You might be wondering where we left off: have no fear, Shmoop plot summary is here.
In Fuse, the second book of the series, Bradwell, Pressia, and El Capitan were looking for a formula that could help reverse the effects of Rapid Cell Degeneration. If they were to find this formula, they could use it to ultimately cure the wretches and unify them with the Pures.
Eventually, the gang had to take an airship to Ireland to find the formula, but once they reached Ireland, they got in a wee bit of trouble. Pressia finds Bradwell and El Capitan being killed by carnivorous vines, so she cuts them loose. Unfortunately, Bradwell isn't going to make it, so she injects him with a super-serum she has — but that gives him humongous wings and he pretty much turns into a monster.
So yeah, that's where the gang is left off; they're in Ireland and Bradwell just got turned into a monster.
Partridge, on the other hand, is inside the Dome. His father made him undergo a surgery that erased his memory, but with the help of Iralene (his step-sister), he starts to remember a few things. His ultimate mission turns out to be that he has to murder his father. You know, the typical Tuesday in the life of Partridge.
We leave Partridge with him blowing a poisonous capsule into his father's mouth. Meanwhile, our other main character, Lyda, has just been captured by the Dome and is in the rehabilitation center. Oh, and she's preggo.
We begin Burn in Ireland; Bradwell's still a dragon-dude, and El Capitan and Pressia are being taken care of in a hospital. How did they get to the hospital? We have no idea; the book jumps forward in time from where we left it off in Fuse, so we need to assume that people in Ireland ended up finding the gang.
Meanwhile, Partridge is in charge of the Dome now. So basically, his father died and now Partridge is the leader. Once again, we've fast-forwarded a little bit in time. Our little Partridge is growing up.
So Partridge is supposed to be this great new leader and everything, but as we know, he just wants to let out the truth about his mass-murdering father. And that's just what he does—at a live broadcast of his father's funeral, he talks about how the Detonations were caused by his father. So now everyone can work together to become one with the wretches.
Um, not exactly. Absolute anarchy follows his speech, and people start killing themselves left and right. Apparently, Partridge exposed their cowardice, so suicide is the bravest thing they can do. Ouch: things aren't going well anymore.
It's also anarchy in Ireland too. Bartrand Kelly gave the wretch-gang a bacterium that can destroy the Dome. The problem is, there are mutant-creatures attacking Newgrange, so Pressia, El Capitan, and Bradwell need to get out ASAP. El Capitan and Pressia look like they're goners for a moment, but Bradwell saves them with his giant wings. Being a dragon-dude can be awesome sometimes.
Oh, and the airship that they crashed in Ireland has been repaired by the Irish, so we have liftoff. Their plan: go get Hastings so that they can somehow get into the Dome.
President Partridge is trying to get his head straight during all of this. To make matters worse, he's granted access to his father's war room, which is littered with pictures of their family and love letters to his mother. Partridge is super-confused. Then he finds some folders that talk about how the wretches are the real superior race, and how El Capitan and Bradwell are prime enemies of the Dome. Not with President Partridge on board!
After the whole war room ordeal, Partridge meets with Arvin Weed, who knows basically everything Partridge knows, plus more. He tells him about how Pressia and the gang are flying over the Atlantic at that very moment.
Speaking of Pressia and the gang: it's time to save Hastings. They get to the amusement park to pick him up, but it's being attacked by Dusts. Ugh, Dusts can be the absolute worst. Luckily, El Capitan uses his superior flying skills to swoop in and pick up Hastings. Everything's going according to plan.
Well, everything… except now the city's on fire. Pressia and the gang reach the city and find pain and suffering everywhere — apparently, Partridge's advisor and head of military (Foresteed) ordered attacks on the wretches. He used really young Special Forces soldiers to carry out the attacks. So the next few days are spent helping survivors and putting bodies into mass graves. Ugh, that's pretty depressing.
Oh, and this whole time Lyda is pretty much locked up in a room. She isn't allowed to see Partridge, especially because he's planning on marrying Iralene to hopefully ease the minds of the Pures. Don't worry though, Lyda and Partridge are totally still in love. There's just some trouble in paradise right now.
Partridge visits a mental hospital to see Mrs. Hollenback, a woman who he used to stay with for Christmas, and she tells him how she tried to commit suicide after his speech. He tries to calm her down by telling her he's a murderer — right, totally a good move there. Then he hears more screams from the hospital. He finds his old history teacher and father figure, Glassings, being tortured. He puts an end to that, but Glassings is in pretty bad shape.
Back to the wretches: Pressia left the gang to go infiltrate the Dome, so Bradwell and El Capitan fight. They make up quickly though, and El Capitan goes to the old bank while Bradwell casually goes to find Pressia to ask her to marry him. He finds her in the woods and they totally get married right then and there. Kodak moment.
Partridge promises Iralene to owe her a favor if she helps him get to the cryogenic chambers. Great Partridge, just be indebted to everyone: that's a great idea.
Pressia gets captured by the mothers before she can get to Dome. But don't worry: Mother Hestra has a plan to get her inside. She just needs to save Lyda for them.
Partridge gets inside the chamber room finally with the help of Iralene, but he really doesn't get anywhere with the chambers. He tries to unlock the heavily armed room that no one goes into, but he fails miserably.
By the way, Lyda's going nuts and she just turned her nursery into a battle-room with armor and spears and such. Lyda the warrior is back, baby.
With the help of the mothers, Pressia gets inside the Dome just in time for Partridge's wedding with Iralene. She's in absolute awe when she's inside, but the wedding doesn't go so well for her. She has a hissy fit at Partridge for being a bad leader, and then she's escorted to Lyda's house.
Back to El Capitan and Bradwell — they meet up at the bank with Bradwell's old buddy Gorse. They celebrate Fandra's (Gorse's sister) successful attempt to get to the amusement park by getting drunk in the bank vault. Typical Tuesday night, really. But then Bradwell and El Capitan wake up with their arms tied behind their backs. Gorse set them up because he's still not too happy about El Capitan being the whole leader of OSR. El Capitan did kill a lot of people back in the day.
Back in the Dome, Pressia and Lyda plan an escape. Lyda sends a message out to Bradwell with Freedle. Meanwhile, Partridge is on his honeymoon. He ducks out though because he wants to visit his brother's metal box in the Personal Loss Archives. Nothing is in it though. Bummer.
Lyda and Pressia are finally able to get some help; Lyda's caretaker puts them in a bin and escorts them to a theater so that Pressia can give her vial of medicine to Arvin Weed. We find out Weed is a good guy after all. Go get 'em, Weed.
Thankfully, Bradwell is able to convince Gorse and company that he's an angel sent from God. They untie him and El Capitan, even though El Capitan got the snot kicked out of him. He has like broken ribs and legs at this point. But hey, what a perfect time to lead a rebellion. Bradwell receives the message from Lyda and Pressia, and they plan to strike with an army of Bradwell worshippers.
So Partridge is still being Partridge. He goes to the chambers again and unfreezes Odwald Belze. He's successful, and then he ends up getting into the locked room. Inside there are babies in the chambers, each a clone of a Willux. Strange…
Okay, so revolution time: the wretches are marching to the Dome — the mothers, OSR members, Basement Boys, etc. Hastings appears from the Dome and is fully bugged and coded to follow strict Dome orders. Pressia and Partridge get in a fight inside the Dome… and Partridge accidentally gets Bradwell killed by having Hastings restrain him.
Wow, way to go. You just killed a main character.
El Capitan isn't too happy, as you can imagine, so he leads the charge to the Dome. Freedle is also able to take the bacterium and destroy the Dome's roof. While this is going on, Iralene is finally having her moment to shine. She brings Lyda, Pressia, Beckley, and Partridge into a house she had built for them. Everything is fake — there are holograms of dead people, and it's a pretend utopia for Partridge. Lyda and Pressia want to get out of there, but Partridge stays. He promised Iralene that he would do her a favor one day; his favor is to stay with her in this house.
The ending involves Pressia, Lyda, Odwald, and Beckley about to escape the Dome with El Capitan, while the rest of the wretches wreak havoc on the Dome. We don't get to see any bloodshed, but we can assume it's an absolute war inside. And thus ends the thrilling and action-filled conclusion of the Pure trilogy.