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 American author Rick Riordan. It is the first novel in The Kane Chronicles series.

The book is written as though it were a transcription of an audiorecording by siblings Carter and Sadie Kane, alternately narrated in first-person by the siblings.


The novel opens with Carter and his father Julius Kane to visit Carter's sister Sadie, who has been living with her maternal grandparents since the death of the siblings' mother, Ruby Kane. Julius, who is secretly a magician but posing as a simple egyptologist, takes the siblings to the British Museum, where he tries to bring Osiris (the Egyptian god of the Underworld) back into the mortal world. Julius's magic has the unintended side effect of also summoning the gods Horus, Isis, Nephthys, and Set; and alerting the magicians Zia Rashid and Michel Desjardins to his actions, which are illegal within the magical community. Set, a god of chaos, captures Julius and destroys the museum. Unbeknownst to Carter and Sadie, each of the gods chooses a mortal host from the humans in the room.

Carter and Sadie are taken to Brooklyn by their uncle Amos, who explains to them that they are descended from a long line of magicians, beginning with the Egyptian pharaohs Ramesses the Great and Narmer. He also explains the grave danger Set poses to the world, and goes to find the loose god. While he is away, the mansion is attacked by minions of Set. With help from Sadie's cat Muffin, who is host to the goddess Bast, and Zia Rashid, they escape to Cairo. Once there, Carter and Sadie discover that they are hosts to the gods Horus and Isis, respectively. They train in magic until the magicians' leader Iskandar dies and Michel Desjardins orders their deaths for illegally collaborating with gods. The siblings escape and formulate a plan to defeat Set - hoping to both rescue their father and clear their names within the magical community.

They travel towards Set's lair in New Mexico, gathering ingredients for a magical spell and evading hostile monsters and magicians. After Bast sacrifices herself defending them from another god, Carter and Sadie encounter first Amos and then Zia. The foursome heads to Set's hideout, where they learn the final piece of the spell they need from a dying Zia, the unknowing host of Nephthys. Carter, Sadie, Horus, and Isis use the spell to bring Set to his knees, although they stop short of completely destroying him because they realize his actions were dictated by a far worse enemy - Apophis, a much more powerful god of chaos. Desjardins reluctantly allows Carter and Sadie to go free after they part with Horus and Isis.

After a tearful goodbye with Zia, who turns out to have been a magical copy of the real young magician, Carter and Sadie return to Brooklyn. They visit their father, now in the underworld with their ghostly mother, and are saddened to be parted from him. As a gift, Osiris (hosted by the deceased Julius) helps Bast return to the mortal world. The novel ends with Carter and Sadie describing their plans to recruit other magicians to (illegally) study the path of the gods. Carter also resolves to seek out the real Zia Rashid, while Amos Kane begins therapy after being forcibly possessed by Set.

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 and 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]