Set in the year 2089, huge machines known as Tripods have taken over the Earth. Controlling humans with a 'cap' (a mind control device attached to the head at the age of fourteen) which erases imagination, curiosity and independent thought, mankind now lives without technology in a rural/medieval existence.
Cousins Will and Henry Parker, only a year away from being 'capped', hear of a place where free (un-capped) men live and fight the Tripods. Their travels take them from their home in England to France where they meet Jean-Paul 'Beanpole' Deliet who joins them on their journey to the white mountains of the Alps, home of the free men.
The season opens with the boys in the White Mountains, training with the free men to enter the Tripod´s games. Only the best will be selected by Julius.
All the boys have been chosen to participate in the games. Now comes a trip to Germany, to reach the games stadium.
Will is arrested after a fight while drunk, Beanpole is missing, and Fritz may head for the games without them. Will and Beanpole end up on the run from Goetz.
With some help from Zerlina and Papagena, Will and Beanpole escape from Goetz, and make their way to the stadium just in time for the games.
The games are over. The Tripods take Will and Fritz to the City of Gold, leaving Beanpole behind. The city seems to be escape-proof.
Fritz is made a slave somewhere beneath the city, and Will is placed in the service of Master 468, an alien who belongs to the race that created the Tripods.
Will wants to find Eloise again, and Fritz is promoted from his slave life into the Power Elite, where he makes a new friend, Pierre.
As Will and Fritz become more aware of what the Masters have planned for the Earth, they are brought to the Pool of Fire, where they meet one of the most powerful creatures in the City, a Cognosc.
Having read Will´s mind, the Cognosc knows why the boys have trained to infiltrate the City.
Will kills his master when he tries to check out Will´s cap. He tries to leave the City via an underground channel.
Fritz chooses to stay in the City, and Beanpole saves Will from drowning during his escape. They make it to a nearby town, and hide from the black guards in a circus.
Will and Beanpole pretend to be clowns in Ali Pasha´s circus. Their goal now is to get back to the White Mountains and tell the free men about what the Masters are going to do to Earth. They are doublecrossed by Ali, though, who intends to give them all to the Tripods to finally receive their capping.