The Red Pyramid (novel)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
The Red Pyramid
Cover of first edition
Author Rick Riordan
Illustrator Sean O'Kelly
Michelle Gengaro-Kokmen (Hieroglyph art)
Cover artist John Rocco
Country United States
Series The Kane Chronicles (bk 1)
Genre Fantasy, adventure, children's novel
Publisher Disney Hyperion[1]
Publication date
May 4, 2010
Media type Print, audiobook
Pages 516 pp (first ed.)[1]
ISBN 978-1-4231-1338-6
OCLC 488861751
LC Class PZ7.R4829 Re 2010[1]
Followed by The Throne of Fire

The Red Pyramid is a 2010 fantasy adventure novel based on Egyptian mythology written by Rick Riordan. It is the first novel in The Kane Chronicles series.


The book is written as a recording by siblings Carter and Sadie Kane. Carter and their father, Julius Kane, go to London to visit Sadie, who lives with their maternal grandparents after their mother's death. Julius takes them to the British Museum, where he tries to summon Osiris, the Egyptian god of the Underworld, using the Rosetta Stone. It goes wrong when all the other four major gods are brought out and Set, the Egyptian god of Evil, imprisons Julius. Carter and Sadie see two people, a man and a girl about Carter's age, discussing about killing them, but then Carter blacks out.

Carter and Sadie are taken to Brooklyn by their uncle, Amos, who decides to find Set. In the library of the Brooklyn Mansion, they begin to discover signs that their family is descended from the pharaohs. Julius's side of the family was descended from Narmer (the first true pharaoh), while their late mother's ancestors descended from Rameses the Great. When Sadie and Carter reach New York, it is discussed how Egyptians lived on the east side of the river because the sun rose in the east, and buried their dead in the west. Sadie had asked why they couldn't live in Manhattan. Amos replied that there are other gods and they should stay separate.

The mansion is attacked by Set's animals. Sadie's cat, Muffin, turns out be the cat goddess, Bast. She makes quick work of Set's animals, but the three are forced to run. They go into Manhattan, which Amos said had other non-Egyptian gods. At the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Bast attempts to transport them into the Duat – a magical realm right underneath the mortal realm, but the goddess of scorpions, Serqet, fights Bast and is almost defeated, but Bast runs away into the Duat, the realm of death.

In the museum, Carter and Sadie find Zia Rashid and realize that she was the girl from the Brooklyn Museum. Zia comes from the First Nome (Egypt) of the House of Life, with magicians trying to protect people and fight gods. Zia fights Serqet and bans her from her host by using the Seven Ribbons of Hathor spell, but it somehow doesn't work and Zia reveals that the Seven Ribbons takes a lot of energy and can be used only once a year.

Zia takes the two to the First Nome, where old Chief Lector Iskandar – the House of Life leader – and Desjardins – the second-in-command, who was with Zia in Brooklyn – reveal Carter and Sadie's very important role in the plan of the Gods. Carter and Sadie also realize they are hosts to the two gods Horus an Isis, respectively. The next day, the two siblings begin their training. Zia teaches them the concept of casting hieroglyphs to use magic. Carter surprises Sadie and Zia by summoning a combat falcon avatar of the war god Horus. Their training is disrupted when a magician informs Zia that Iskandar is dead and Desjardins is next in line to be guardian for the throne of Egypt. Recognizing that Desjardins would want to kill them (as hosts to Horus and Isis), Sadie creates a portal and she and Carter escape to Paris, but not before bringing sphinxes with them. Bast arrives takes care of them and Carter and Sadie infiltrate Desjardins' house, in Paris, so they can take a Book Of Thoth to try and defeat Set. They find out that Carter can turn into a falcon and Sadie into a kite, but she fails to change back. Fruit bats attack them when they find the book, and magicians follow them when they run. Carter, Sadie and Bast run to the Louvre and transport to the U.S. ending up at the Washington Monument.

In their dreams they see Set create a red pyramid in New Mexico, which will become a pillar of chaos that will make Set unstoppable and will reach its zenith on Set's birthday, December 29.

In Washington, D.C they are chased by the Set animal, who Carter named Leroy. Carter stays back at the airport to fight Leroy, reaches into the Duat to the training grounds in Egypt, where he dropped his swords, and battles Leroy. He throws Leroy in his Duat 'locker' – a short opening to the Duat – and manages to catch the airplane to Memphis, Tennessee, where the wisdom god, Thoth, is. They use tickets given to Sadie by Nut, the sky goddess, who also gives Sadie a letter to give to her husband, Geb, the Earth god. The two have been separated by Shu, Nut's father the wind god, who was ordered that they never see each other again.

When they finish Thoth's test, they learn that they were supposed to go the Underworld/Land of the Dead. Because Sadie proved to Anubis, god of funerals, she is trustworthy, he gives the Feather of Truth to her. They then continue from New Orleans to Texas, where Carter fights Sobek, but is hopelessly outmatched and outclassed even with the combat avatar. Amos saves them but Bast and Sobek are expelled to the Duat. The only thing left of Bast is Muffin, the cat she inhabited.

They go to New Mexico, as Zia wanted Carter there and the earth god Geb told Sadie there too. It turns out that Desjardins had known this and a fight occurs. Thanks to Zia's plan, they defeat Sekhmet, the lion goddess of battle, and drive onwards to Arizona. They spot the Red Pyramid, which is Set's main host. When they arrive, Amos faints, and Set reveals he was forcibly hosting Amos.

Carter merges completely with Horus and becomes the eye of the war god. He puts up a good fight but Set's strength grows when dawn approaches and the desert glows. Sadie learns from a dying Zia (who was hosting Nephthys) that Set's secret name is Evil Day. She combines with Isis, the magic goddess inside her, and transports Carter, Set, and the red pyramid (which gets destroyed in the process) along with herself to Washington, D.C. Sadie then begins to banishes Set to the Duat, by reading the book and using the Feather of Truth along with his secret name.

Just then, Set's servant (Face of Horror) appears. He is the host of Apophis, the Serpent of Chaos itself. Even though Carter kills the servant, it is Sadie who reveals Apophis with the feather of truth, who soon after disappears. Knowing of Apophis's plan to manipulate Set into creating enough chaos to free him of his chains, Carter and Sadie decide that Set should be spared to help them stop Apophis (soon after Set disappears). They come back for Zia, who turns out to be a shabti, a wax doll, and urges Carter to find the real Zia Rashid.

They return to the Brooklyn mansion and rebuild the place with magic. Amos leaves for the First Nome to be healed from being possessed by Set. Carter and Sadie are paid a visit by Osiris, who was bonded with their father. They also see the ghost of their mother Ruby, who was accompanying Julius. The god of the dead gives them his djed amulet to attract other things. The siblings release Horus and Isis, who vanish away into the Duat but not before preserving a quarter of their power in the amulets Julius had given them a long time ago. Carter and Sadie store the amulets in Carter's Duat locker and put the djed amulet with it. Once kids began to come, they would teach them divine magic or the path of the gods, which involved channeling a god's power. In the end, Carter and Sadie find their father. Julius decides that he would like to stay with his wife; Carter and Sadie now live with their uncle Amos. At the end of the book, the gods promise a gift to Carter and Sadie which shows up at Amos' mansion: Bast and fixing the ruined mansion.

Major characters[edit]

  • Carter Kane: The host of the war god, Horus and has the "blood of the pharaohs," being a descendant of Narmer and Ramses the Great through both sides of his family. He is one of the main protagonists, and is initially described as always dressing "impeccably" in dress shirts and pants, but relaxes into a more modern style as the series progresses. He has dark skin, curly dark brown hair, and brown eyes. After the death of his mother, he spent six years traveling with his father and, as he put it, "living out of a suitcase". His specialty is combat magic and his preferred weapon is a khopesh, an ancient Egyptian sword.
  • Sadie Kane: She is twelve and was a host of Isis goddess of magic. She was 6 when her mother died, and lived in England with her grandparents ever since. She is described to have blue eyes and caramel hair, not brunette nor blonde. As she stays in England, her skin is paler than Carter's and has a slight British accent. Her father gave her a cat whom she named Muffin, although it is actually the goddess Bast who is the protector of the Kane siblings. Sadie is the bold one from the Kane siblings, she is more reckless and more of a troublemaker. She teases her brother all the time, though she actually cares for him.
  • Julius Kane: An Egyptian magician who becomes a host of Osiris. He is Carter and Sadie Kane's father. His wife, Ruby Kane, died trying to seal away the chaos snake Apophis in Cleopatra's Needle.[2] He is also an Egyptologist.
  • Amos Kane: An Egyptian magician. He is Julius Kane's brother, and a former protector of the Kane children.
  • Zia Rashid: An Egyptian magician who is a host of Nephthys.[2]
  • Bast: The Egyptian goddess of cats. She becomes the Kane children's protector and becomes their friend too
  • Set: The Egyptian god of evil. He is the main antagonist.
  • Ruby Kane: Carter and Sadie's mother who dies at Cleopatra's Needle trying to seal away the chaos snake Apophis.
  • Iskandar: An Egyptian magician. He is the Chief Lector of the House of Life until his death.
  • Michael Desjardins: An Egyptian magician and Iskandar's second-in-command. He becomes the Chief Lector of the House of Life after Iskandar's death.

Critical reception[edit]

The Washington Post said that Riordan "begins [the book] with a literal bang" and "the pace never flags as the narrative cuts between Carter and Sadie".[3] The book also was listed in The Washington Post's summer book club.[4] The New York Times's Bruce Handy said that The Red Pyramid had "eruptions of mayhem every few pages and exposition falling like hail". They also said that reader's minds would begin "to wander for even a single paragraph: you will find yourself cast adrift on a sea of churning narrative". The New York Times also said that "Riordan fans young and old will eat this new book up". It also commented that the book was "wholly satisfying while also setting the table for what promises to be a rip-roaring saga with nasty villains, engaging love interests".[5] Kirkus Reviews thought the story was similar to Riordan's other works like The Lightning Thief in terms of chapters, characters, and plot, but noted, "that's not all bad".[6]


The Red Pyramid was named a School Library Journal Best Book of 2010.[7] It has also been shortlisted for the 2011 Red House Children's Book Award.[8]

Publication history[edit]

The Red Pyramid had a first printing of one million copies.[9] The series was planned to come out with one book per year to build anticipation.[9]

A graphic novel based on the book was released in 2012.[10]

The second book in the series, The Throne Of Fire, was published on May 3, 2011.[11][12]

The third and final book in the series, The Serpent's Shadow, was published on May 1, 2012.


  1. ^ a b c "The throne of fire". LC Online Catalog. Library of Congress ( Retrieved 2015-11-09.
  2. ^ a b Riordan, Rick (May 4, 2010). The Red Pyramid. Disney Hyperion. p. 516. ISBN 978-1-4231-1338-6. 
  3. ^ Quattlebaum, Mary (June 20, 2010). "Novels for kids from John Grisham, Candace Bushnell and Rick Riordan". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2011-01-18. 
  4. ^ "Summer Book Club for young readers includes books by blockbuster authors". The Washington Post. June 16, 2010. Retrieved 2011-01-18. 
  5. ^ Handy, Bruce (June 4, 2010). "Children's Books – Justice League". The New York Times Book Review. Retrieved 2011-01-18. 
  6. ^ "The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan". Kirkus Reviews. April 15, 2010. Retrieved June 1, 2011. 
  7. ^ "School Library Journal Best Books of 2010". School Library Journal. Retrieved 2011-01-19. 
  8. ^ "2011 Shortlist". Red House. Retrieved June 1, 2011. 
  9. ^ a b Farley, Christopher John (May 4, 2010). "'Percy Jackson' Author Rick Riordan on His New Book 'The Red Pyramid': Does the Cover Tell the Whole Story?". The Wall Street Journal. Speakeasy. Retrieved February 25, 2011. 
  10. ^ Riordan, Rick (February 13, 2011). "The Week in Review–Myth & Mystery". Retrieved February 13, 2011. 
  11. ^ Riordan, Rick. "Kane Chronicles – My Books: The Online World of Rick Riordan". Retrieved 2011-01-18. 
  12. ^ Riordan, Rick. "The Throne of Fire – Kane Chronicles: The Online World of Rick Riordan". Retrieved 2011-01-18. 

External links[edit]