The book begins in the middle of a war. A plane evacuating a group of schoolboys, from Britain, is shot down over a deserted island. After the boys arrive at the island the group assigns Ralph as their leader. Then the boys and Ralph appoint another boy, Jack, as the leader of the hunting group.
Ralph then decides to start a fire to signal boats and planes that pass by. They ignite a fire by focusing the sunlight through the glasses of a boy named Piggy. After then start the fire Ralph assigns a couple of boys to watch the fire. The boys get careless and burn up a dried up portion of the forest.
One day Ralph a ship and sees that the fire is out. Ralph is furious goes to look for Jack because it was the hunters job to keep the fire on. Since some of the little kids have begun to get scared one of the kids proposes that there is a monster on the island. Not a long time after that incident military planes engage in a battle above the island. The twins that were responsible for the fire that night fall asleep and not notice a dead man land on the island with a parachute. When they wake up and see the parachute they think it is the monster and run to camp and tell the others that the monster has attacked them.
Soon the boys organize am expedition to search for the monster. Jack and Ralph see the parachute from a distance and think it is the monster too. After they arrive back at camp they hold a meeting to inform the others of there sighting. During the meeting Jack criticizes Ralph for not wanting to take action against the monster and decides to form his own group. At first only the hunters join him, but after a while most are on his side, even the ones that pledged their loyalty to Ralph.
Jack then has a feast to celebrate his new group. During kills a pig a and puts its head on a stick to scare the monster. Then a boy named Simon sees the head and understands the monster in not a creature, is within each individual. It is dark and...