Also by Rick RiordanPercy Jackson and the Olympians, Book One:The Lightning ThiefPercy Jackson and the Olympians, Book Two:The Sea of MonstersPercy Jackson and the Olympians, Book Three:The Titan’s CursePercy Jackson and the Olympians, Book Four:The Battle of the LabyrinthPercy Jackson and the Olympians, Book Five:The Last OlympianThe Kane Chronicles, Book One:The Red PyramidThe Kane Chronicles, Book Two:The Throne of Fire
The Heroes of Olympus, Book One:The Lost HeroThe Heroes of Olympus, Book Two:The Son of Neptune
Text copyright 2012 by Rick RiordanHieroglyph art by Michelle Gengaro-KokmenAll rights reserved. Published by Disney Hyperion Books, an imprint of DisneyBook Group. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any formor by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or byany information storage and retrieval system, without written permission from thepublisher. For information, address Disney Hyperion Books, 114 Fifth Avenue,New York, New York 10011-5690.ISBN 978-1-4231-6327-5Visit www.disneyhyperionbooks.com
To three great editors who shaped my writing career: KateMiciak, Jennifer Besser, and Stephanie Lurie—the magicianswho have brought my words to life
Table of ContentsWarning1. We Crash and Burn a Party2. I Have a Word with Chaos3. We Win a Box Full of Nothing4. I Consult the Pigeon of War5. A Dance with Death6. Amos Plays with Action Figures7. I Get Strangled by an Old Friend8. My Sister, The Flowerpot9. Zia Breaks Up a Lava Fight10. “Take Your Daughter to Work Day” Goes Horribly Wrong11. Don't Worry, Be Hapi12. Bulls with Freaking Laser Beams13. A Friendly Game of Hide-and-Seek (with Bonus Points forPainful Death!)14. Fun with Split Personalities15. I Become a Purple Chimpanzee16. Sadie Rides Shotgun (Worst. Idea. Ever.)17. Brooklyn House Goes to War18. Death Boy to the Rescue19. Welcome to the Fun House of Evil
20. I Take a Chair21. The Gods Are Sorted; My Feelings Are Not22. The Last Waltz (for Now)GLOSSARYEGYPTIAN GODS AND GODDESSES MENTIONED INTHE SERPENT’S SHADOW
WARNINGThis is a transcript of an audio recording. Twice before,Carter and Sadie Kane have sent me such recordings, which Itranscribed as The Red Pyramid and The Throne of Fire. WhileI’m honored by the Kanes’ continued trust, I must advise youthat this third account is their most troubling yet. The tapearrived at my home in a charred box perforated with claw andteeth marks that my local zoologist could not identify. Had itnot been for the protective hieroglyphs on the exterior, I doubtthe box would have survived its journey. Read on, and you willunderstand why.
1. We Crash and Burn a PartySADIE KANE HERE.If you’re listening to this, congratulations! You survivedDoomsday.I’d like to apologize straightaway for any inconvenience theend of the world may have caused you. The earthquakes,rebellions, riots, tornadoes, floods, tsunamis, and of course thegiant snake who swallowed the sun—I’m afraid most of that wasour fault. Carter and I decided we should at least explain how ithappened.This will probably be our last recording. By the time you’veheard our story, the reason for that will be obvious.Our problems started in Dallas, when the fire-breathing sheepdestroyed the King Tut exhibit.That night the Texas magicians were hosting a party in the sculpturegarden across the street from the Dallas Museum of Art. The menwore tuxedos and cowboy boots. The women wore eveningdresses and hairdos like explosions of candy floss.
dresses and hairdos like explosions of candy floss.(Carter says it’s called cotton candy in America. I don’t care.I was raised in London, so you’ll just have to keep up and learnthe proper way of saying things.)A band played old-timey country music on the pavilion.Strings of fairy lights glimmered in the trees. Magicians didoccasionally pop out of secret doors in the sculptures or summonsparks of fire to burn away pesky mosquitoes, but otherwise itseemed like quite a normal party.The leader of the Fifty-first Nome, JD Grissom, was chattingwith his guests and enjoying a plate of beef tacos when we pulledhim away for an emergency meeting. I felt bad about that, but therewasn’t much choice, considering the danger he was in.“An attack?” He frowned. “The Tut exhibit has been open fora month now. If Apophis was going to strike, wouldn’t he havedone it already?”JD was tall and stout, with a rugged, weathered face, featheryred hair, and hands as rough as bark. He looked about forty, butit’s hard to tell with magicians. He might have been four hundred.He wore a black suit with a bolo tie and a large silver Lone Starbelt buckle, like a Wild West marshal.“Let’s talk on the way,” Carter said. He started leading ustoward the opposite side of the garden.I must admit my brother acted remarkably confident.He was still a monumental dork, of course. His nappy brownhair had a chunk missing on the left side where his griffin had given
hair had a chunk missing on the left side where his griffin had givenhim a “love bite,” and you could tell from the nicks on his face thathe hadn’t quite mastered the art of shaving. But since his fifteenthbirthday he’d shot up in height and put on muscle from hours ofcombat training. He looked poised and mature in his black linenclothes, especially with that khopesh sword at his side. I couldalmost imagine him as a leader of men without laughing hysterically.[Why are you glaring at me, Carter? That was quite agenerous description.]Carter maneuvered around the buffet table, grabbing ahandful of tortilla chips. “Apophis has a pattern,” he told JD. “Theother attacks all happened on the night of the new moon, whendarkness is greatest. Believe me, he’ll hit your museum tonight.And he’ll hit it hard.”JD Grissom squeezed around a cluster of magicians drinkingchampagne. “These other attacks ” he said. “You mean Chicagoand Mexico City?”“And Toronto,” Carter said. “And a few others.”I knew he didn’t want to say more. The attacks we’dwitnessed over the summer had left us both with nightmares.True, full-out Armageddon hadn’t come yet. It had been sixmonths since the Chaos snake Apophis had escaped from hisUnderworld prison, but he still hadn’t launched a large-scaleinvasion of the mortal world as we’d expected. For some reason,the serpent was biding his time, settling for smaller attacks onnomes that seemed secure and happy.
Like this one, I thought.As we passed the pavilion, the band finished their song. Apretty blond woman with a fiddle waved her bow at JD.“Come on, sweetie!” she called. “We need you on steelguitar!”He forced a smile. “Soon, hon. I’ll be back.”We walked on. JD turned to us. “My wife, Anne.”“Is she also a magician?” I asked.He nodded, his expression turning dark. “These attacks. Whyare you so sure Apophis will strike here?”Carter’s mouth was full of tortilla chips, so his response was,“Mhm-hmm.”“He’s after a certain artifact,” I translated. “He’s alreadydestroyed five copies of it. The last one in existence happens to bein your Tut exhibit.”“Which artifact?” JD asked.I hesitated. Before coming to Dallas, we’d cast all sorts ofshielding spells and loaded up on protective amulets to preventmagical eavesdropping, but I was still nervous about speaking ourplans aloud.“Better we show you.” I stepped around a fountain, wheretwo young magicians were tracing glowing I Love You messageson the paving stones with their wands. “We’ve brought our owncrack team to help. They’re waiting at the museum. If you’ll let usexamine the artifact, possibly take it with us for safekeeping—”
examine the artifact, possibly take it with us for safekeeping—”“Take it with you?” JD scowled. “The exhibit is heavilyguarded. I have my best magicians surrounding it night and day.You think you can do better at Brooklyn House?”We stopped at the edge of the garden. Across the street, atwo-story-tall King Tut banner hung from the side of the museum.Carter took out his mobile phone. He showed JD Grissom animage on the screen—a burned-out mansion that had once beenthe headquarters for the One Hundredth Nome in Toronto.“I’m sure your guards are good,” Carter said. “But we’drather not make your nome a target for Apophis. In the otherattacks like this one the serpent’s minions didn’t leave anysurvivors.”JD stared at the phone’s screen, then glanced back at hiswife, Anne, who was fiddling her way through a two-step.“Fine,” JD said. “I hope your team is top-notch.”“They’re amazing,” I promised. “Come on, we’ll introduceyou.”Our crack squad of magicians was busy raiding the gift shop.Felix had summoned three penguins, which were waddlingaround wearing paper King Tut masks. Our baboon friend, Khufu,sat atop a bookshelf reading The History of the Pharaohs, whichwould’ve been quite impressive except he was holding the bookupside down. Walt—oh, dear Walt, why?—had opened the
jewelry cabinet and was examining charm bracelets and necklacesas if they might be magical. Alyssa levitated clay pots with her earthelemental magic, juggling twenty or thirty at a time in a figure eight.Carter cleared his throat.Walt froze, his hands full of gold jewelry. Khufu scrambleddown the bookshelf, knocking off most of the books. Alyssa’spottery crashed to the floor. Felix tried to shoo his penguins behindthe till. (He does have rather strong feelings about the usefulness ofpenguins. I’m afraid I can’t explain it.)JD Grissom drummed his fingers against his Lone Star beltbuckle. “This is your amazing team?”“Yes!” I tried for a winning smile. “Sorry about the mess. I’lljust, um ”I pulled my wand from my belt and spoke a word of power:“Hi-nehm!”I’d got better at such spells. Most of the time, I could nowchannel power from my patron goddess Isis without passing out.And I hadn’t exploded once.The hieroglyph for Join together glowed briefly in the air:Broken bits of pottery flew back together and mended
Broken bits of pottery flew back together and mendedthemselves. Books returned to the shelf. The King Tut masks flewoff the penguins, revealing them to be—gasp—penguins.Our friends looked rather embarrassed.“Sorry,” Walt mumbled, putting the jewelry back in the case.“We got bored.”I couldn’t stay mad at Walt. He was tall and athletic, built likea basketball player, in workout pants and sleeveless tee thatshowed off his sculpted arms. His skin was the color of hot cocoa,his face every bit as regal and handsome as the statues of hispharaoh ancestors.Did I fancy him? Well, it’s complicated. More on that later.JD Grissom looked over our team.“Nice to meet you all.” He managed to contain hisenthusiasm. “Come with me.”The museum’s main foyer was a vast white room with emptycafé tables, a stage, and a ceiling high enough for a pet giraffe. Onone side, stairs led up to a balcony with a row of offices. On theother side, glass walls looked out at the nighttime skyline of Dallas.JD pointed up at the balcony, where two men in black linenrobes were patrolling. “You see? Guards are everywhere.”The men had their staffs and wands ready. They glanceddown at us, and I noticed their eyes were glowing. Hieroglyphswere painted on their cheekbones like war paint.Alyssa whispered to me: “What’s up with their eyes?”“Surveillance magic,” I guessed. “The symbols allow the
“Surveillance magic,” I guessed. “The symbols allow theguards to see into the Duat.”Alyssa bit her lip. Since her patron was the earth god Geb,she liked solid things, such as stone and clay. She didn’t likeheights or deep water. She definitely didn’t like the idea of theDuat—the magical realm that coexisted with ours.Once, when I’d described the Duat as an ocean under ourfeet with layers and layers of magical dimensions going downforever, I thought Alyssa was going to get seasick.Ten-year-old Felix, on the other hand, had no such qualms.“Cool!” he said. “I want glowing eyes.”He traced his finger across his cheeks, leaving shiny purpleblobs in the shape of Antarctica.Alyssa laughed. “Can you see into the Duat now?”“No,” he admitted. “But I can see my penguins much better.”“We should hurry,” Carter reminded us. “Apophis usuallystrikes when the moon is at the top of its transit. Which is—”“Agh!” Khufu held up all ten fingers. Leave it to a baboon tohave perfect astronomical sense.“In ten minutes,” I said. “Just brilliant.”We approached the entrance of the King Tut exhibit, whichwas rather hard to miss because of the giant golden sign that readKING TUT EXHIBIT. Two magicians stood guard with full-grownleopards on leashes.Carter looked at JD in astonishment. “How did you get
Carter looked at JD in astonishment. “How did you getcomplete access to the museum?”The Texan shrugged. “My wife, Anne, is president of theboard. Now, which artifact did you want to see?”“I studied your exhibit maps,” Carter said. “Come on. I’llshow you.”The leopards seemed quite interested in Felix’s penguins, butthe guards held them back and let us pass.Inside, the exhibit was extensive, but I doubt you care aboutthe details. A labyrinth of rooms with sarcophagi, statues, furniture,bits of gold jewelry—blah, blah, blah. I would have passed it allby. I’ve seen enough Egyptian collections to last several lifetimes,thank you very much.Besides, everywhere I looked, I saw reminders of badexperiences.We passed cases of shabti figurines, no doubt enchanted tocome to life when called upon. I’d killed my share of those. Wepassed statues of glowering monsters and gods whom I’d fought inperson—the vulture Nekhbet, who’d once possessed my Gran(long story); the crocodile Sobek, who’d tried to kill my cat(longer story); and the lion goddess Sekhmet, whom we’d oncevanquished with hot sauce (don’t even ask).Most upsetting of all: a small alabaster statue of our friendBes, the dwarf god. The carving was eons old, but I recognizedthat pug nose, the bushy sideburns, the potbelly, and theendearingly ugly face that looked as if it had been hit repeatedly