After waging two separate quests (The Lost Hero, 2010; The Son of Neptune, 2011), the Greek and Roman demigods of Riordan's Heroes of Olympus quintet join forces. With his now-trademark zero-to-60 acceleration, the author engineers a ghostly possession to set Greeks and Romans at odds and initiates the Prophecy of the Seven, hurtling Annabeth, Percy, Piper, Leo, Hazel, Frank and Jason into a pell-mell flight on the magical trireme Argo II. They seek the titular Mark of Athena, which they hope will provide the key to defeating the vengeful Earth mother, Gaea, or at least some of her giant offspring. As the trireme crosses the country, the pace drags while the demigods sort out relationships and work to figure out both cryptic prophecy and nightmare visions. With sweethearts Annabeth and Percy once again united, much of the tension that powered earlier books is gone. Once the Argo II leaves the United States, though, the pace picks up, and the comically instructive set pieces Riordan's so good at emerge. A Luddite god rails against what he calls the "b-book," which displaced the far superior scroll technology; Annabeth gets a crash course in the cult of Mithros far below the streets of Rome. Here, Riordan's infectious love for his subject matter really comes through, even as he takes some real risks with his characters. A literal cliffhanger leaves eager readers hanging; next stop: Greece-and Tartarus. (glossary) (Fantasy. 10-14)—Kirkus
Terrifying dreams and enigmatic prophecies mean danger for seven teen demigods, but also good times for fans of The Heroes of Olympus series. This third volume thrusts Percy, Jason, Annabeth, Hazel, Leo, Frank, and Piper into action once again. Representing both Greek and Roman camps, the seven companions undertake a mission to prevent the imminent destruction of Rome, the awakening of Gaea, and the end of the world. Meanwhile, they help Annabeth in her quest to recover the ancient statue of Athena stolen from the Parthenon. Along the way, they encounter Nemesis in Utah, Bacchus in Kansas, Phorcys in Atlanta, Aphrodite in Charleston, and Hercules at the Strait of Gibraltar. Throughout the novel, the juxtaposition of humor and terror makes both aspects of the writing more vivid. The demigods use their wits and their weapons skillfully in a string of encounters, and their insecurities make the characters all the more appealing. With a true storyteller's sense of pacing, Riordan creates another compelling adventure, right down to the cliff-hanger at the end. Stay tuned for volume four. - Carolyn Phelan—Booklist Online
About the Author
Rick Riordan (www.rickriordan.com) is the author of the # 1 New York Times best-selling The Heroes of Olympus, Book One: The Lost Hero; The Heroes of Olympus, Book Two: The Son of Neptune; The Heroes of Olympus Book Three: The Mark of Athena; the #1 New York Times best-selling The Kane Chronicles, Book One: The Red Pyramid; The Kane Chronicles, Book Two: The Throne of Fire; The Kane Chronicles, Book Three: The Serpent's Shadow; as well as the five books in the #1 New York Times best-selling Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. His previous novels for adults include the hugely popular Tres Navarre series, winner of the top three awards in the mystery genre. He lives in San Antonio, Texas, with his wife and two sons.