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The Son of Neptune

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The Son of Neptune
Heroes of Olympus - The Son of Neptune.png
Author Rick Riordan
Illustrator John Rocco
Country United States
Language English
Series The Heroes of Olympus (Book 2)
Genre Fantasy, Greek and Roman mythology, Young adult
Publisher Disney-Hyperion
Publication date
October 4, 2011 (hardcover, audiobook CD, Kindle/Nook eBook)
Media type Print (Paperback, hardcover, audiobook CD, E-book)
Pages 510 (paperback)
ISBN 978-1-4231-4059-7
Preceded by The Lost Hero
Followed by The Mark of Athena

The Son of Neptune is a 2011 fantasy novel, the second book in The Heroes of Olympus series written by Rick Riordan. The story follows the adventures of amnesiac Percy Jackson, a demigod son of Poseidon, as he meets a camp of Roman demigods and goes to Alaska with his new friends Hazel Levesque and Frank Zhang to free the Greek god of death, Thanatos and help save the world from Gaia, the earth goddess.

The book received mostly critical acclaim, won the Goodreads Choice Award in 2011,[1] and appeared on several bestseller lists.[2] The book continues Riordan's use of third person narration, where chapters are from the point of view of one of the main characters, switching between Percy, Frank, and Hazel.

The book was first published in hardcover on October 4, 2011 by Disney-Hyperion with a cover designed by illustrator John Rocco. After an initial hardcover printing of three million copies, the book has since been released in paperback as well as an audiobook and e-book, and has been translated into 37 languages.[3]

Development and promotion[edit]

In an interview by Scholastic with Rick Riordan for The Lost Hero, Riordan was questioned about the whereabouts of Percy Jackson. The author hinted that the answer would be revealed as Jason's quest progressed. By the end of the book, he said that readers would have a good idea where the second book is going.[4] On May 26, 2011, Riordan released both the cover art and the first chapter for The Son of Neptune confirming that Percy would play a role in the book.[5]

On August 8, 2011, Rick Riordan released a video giving more information about the book and its characters. The video includes pictures of a black haired boy with a bow and arrow in his hands who is later revealed to be Frank Zhang, a blonde-haired boy holding a teddy bear later revealed as Octavian, a girl with black hair wearing gold armor and a purple cloak sitting on a throne flanked by a gold and a silver canine creature, both with red eyes, who was revealed on Rick Riordan's blog to be Reyna, and another girl riding a horse named Hazel Levesque.[6] Along with this, two chapters were released prior to the book's launch: one was put on Riordan's website and another read out by Riordan on Percy's birthday, August 18.[7]


Go to Alaska.
Find Thanatos and free him.
Come back by sundown on June twenty-fourth or die.

This prophecy is given by Mars, the Roman god of war, in Camp Jupiter. Yet, during the course of the story, the harpy Ella recites what seems to be the first two lines of the true prophecy: "To the north, beyond the gods, lies the legion’s crown. Falling from ice, the son of Neptune shall drown –". After reciting the prophecy, Ella says, "Hmm. Burnt. The rest is burnt." Percy, Frank and Hazel think that Ella read the Sibylline Books and that the rest of the page has been burned. So Percy, Frank, and Hazel protect Ella from the Romans who would make her a slave.

Plot summary[edit]

Entering the Roman Camp[edit]

Percy Jackson, the narrator of the previous series, is in the Berkeley hills, California, being chased by the Gorgons, Stheno and Euryale. Despite killing them numerous times, they still regenerate in a few minutes and resume the hunt. It is revealed that one night, few months ago, Percy woke up in the Wolf House, suffering from amnesia, unable to recall any events of his life. His only memories are about his girlfriend, Annabeth, his name and identity as a demigod and the knowledge about monsters he had acquired over the years. Percy was trained as a Roman demigod by Lupa, the wolf goddess. After she finished his training, Lupa told Percy to go west and find a new home solely by using his instincts.

The Gorgons corner Percy at a cliff and want to kill him as he had slain their sister, Medusa (in The Lightning Thief). Percy kills them one more time and slides down the cliff, where he meets a crone named June. June gives him two options: take her to the nearby Roman camp and face a dangerous future, and gain his memories at the cost of his Styx invulnerability. Or else flee to the ocean to live a long and easy life. Percy chooses the first and carries June.

Percy enters the Caldecott Tunnel, where two Roman demigods, Hazel and Frank, are guarding the entrance. The guards quickly escort Percy through the tunnel and into an open field, where there is a Roman style military camp, named Camp Jupiter, surrounded by a river, the Little Tiber. Percy crosses the river, losing his Achilles invulnerability in the process.

The gorgons arrive and lift Frank into the air, about to devour him. Percy summons two gigantic hands from the river and kills the gorgons, dissolving their essences in the river, slowing down their regeneration.

In front of the assembled demigods, June reveals herself to be the Roman Goddess, Juno, wife of Jupiter, and announces Percy as the Son of Neptune. Reyna, the Roman praetor (leader), seems to recognize Percy, but does not show it. She calls him in for interrogation.

Exploring Camp Jupiter[edit]

Reyna interrogates Percy, but gets nothing from him due to his lost memories. The praetor tells him she is a daughter of Bellona. Reyna mentions a missing demigod, Jason Grace and Percy mentions that the Gorgons told him the Camp would be attacked by Gaea, the primordial goddess of earth. Reyna warns Percy not to spread mass panic by revealing the news.

Hazel takes it upon herself to show Percy around the Camp, telling him it was formed by the 12th Legion Fulminata. She takes him to Octavian, a descendant of Apollo and the camp augur. Octavian declares Percy to be fit for the Legion, although he suspects Percy is not who he appears to be. Octavian blackmails Hazel into voting for him as praetor, or else he would reveal her secret. Percy is tempted to attack Octavian, but follows Hazel.

Hazel tells Percy how Octavian is power hungry and ambitious for the rank of Praetor, and has been pestering Reyna for it, ever since the previous Praetor, Jason Grace went missing for months. Hazel tells Percy that she is a daughter of Pluto, and introduces him to her half-brother, Nico di Angelo.

Nico becomes nervous, when he meets Percy Jackson, as he knows Percy's past and who he really is. Percy experiences a déjà vu feeling about Nico, but cannot remember clearly. Nico tells Percy that lately monsters are regenerating faster than usual and monstrous giants rising from the earth to destroy Olympus. Nico calls Hazel aside and tells her that Percy is a reliable friend, but a dangerous demigod.

The War Games[edit]

In different POVs, Hazel's secret is revealed. She is a demigod from the 1940's, whose powers (controlling the underground, summoning precious stones and controlling metals) were cursed to bring bad luck to everyone around her. Her mother, Marie Levesque, was possessed by Gaea and forcibly took Hazel to Alaska, the land beyond control of the gods. There, Marie used Hazel's powers to resseruct the giant, Alcyoneus. Hazel had sacrificed herself to delay Alcyoneus's rise and died.

Many years later, when the boundaries between the living and the dead began to weaken, Hazel's ghost was discovered by a son of Hades, Nico di Angelo, who promptly ressuructed her.

Frank Zhang is revealed to be a descendant of an ancient Greek Hero from his mother's side. Her mother had served in the Canadian army and died in war in Afghanistan. Frank's grandmother reveals to him that his father is a god and that he possesses a secret ability from his maternal ancestors. She further tells Frank that because of power potential, his life force is tied to a stick, and he will die if the stick burns. Subsequently, Frank was sent to Camp Jupiter.

At present, in the evening, Percy is recruited into the Legion at the rank of Probatio. Because he has no recommendation letters, Percy is ordered to join the Fifth Cohort, the worst cohort where Frank and Hazel belong to. Hazel guarantees for Percy's behaviour and Percy joins the Legion.

At dinner, Percy deduces that the Fifth Cohort had somehow lost the Legion Eagle, the prestigious symbol of the Camp. Frank tells him that the Eagle could summon lightning. In the 1980's, the then praetor, Michael Varus of the Fifth Cohort, had led an expedition to Alaska. Something had mysteriously massacred almost the entire cohort, and the survivors were driven insane. The Fifth Cohort lost the eagle, most of the imperial golden weapons and had disgraced the entire legion. Jason Grace had tried to restore its reputation by being raised as praetor, but vanished. Since then the Fifth Cohort always lost in the War Games.

During the War Game, Percy, Hazel and Frank break away. Hazel summons a tunnel and brings them near the enemy fortress. Percy blasts the opposing water cannons and the trio scales the walls. Percy single handedly defeats the entire First and Second Cohorts, the best cohorts of Camp Jupiter, and defeats Octavian. Hazel barges into the fortress and captures the opponent banners. Frank and Percy rout the cohorts and thus the three demigods win for the Fifth Cohort.

The trio are shocked to find that Gwendolyn, the Centurion of the Fifth Cohort, was treacherously impaled by a pilum from behind, presumably by Octavian. Gwen wakes up. Suddenly, Mars the Roman god of war appears and explains that Thanatos has been captured by Gaea and has weakened the boundaries of the dead and the living. Mars reveals that he is Frank's father and assigns his son a quest to Alaska. Mars also chooses Percy for the quest and leaves.

The Senate Meeting and the Quest[edit]

As per Camp rules, Gwendolyn is honorably discharged from the Legion and Frank is made centurion in her place. Percy reveals to Reyna that Alcyoneus, the giant born to destroy Hades, was the one who had massacred the Fifth Cohort in the 1980's and is in Alaska, with Thanatos. Octavian spitefully makes sure that Percy, Frank and Hazel get very little resources from the camp. Percy demands a boat and Reyna agrees.

Reyna calls Percy aside and reveals to him, that years ago, he and Annabeth had once defeated Circe and unleashed pirates who had captured Reyna and her elder sister, Hylla. She informs him about a huge monstrous army, led by Alcyoneus's brother, about to invade Camp Jupiter. Reyna tells Percy to approach Hylla in Seattle and ask her for help.

She also tells Percy that she would offer him power and authority over Camp Jupiter and hints at a romantic relationship between them. Percy refuses the last offer, but agrees to help Reyna to protect the camp and leaves.

Percy finds a small, ill cared Roman boat and journeys north with his friends. Hazel experiences a flashback blackout and the boys take her to Mendocino. Hazel is captured by the karpoi or grass spirits, but they are massacred by Percy and Frank. They notice the giant army and Percy falls sick when he sees Polybotes, the giant born to oppose his father, Poseidon. Polybotes drops three small basilisk snakes in front of the Goddess, Iris's garden and leaves. Iris welcomes the trio and gives Percy medicine, while she boosts Frank's self esteem.

The goddess tells Frank to go to Portland, and find Phineas, the blind son of Poseidon a.k.a Neptune, with the gift of Prophecy. Frank kills the basilisks by summoning a spartus from a magic dragon tooth spear, given by Mars.

Portland, Seattle and Vancouver[edit]

The group meet Phineas in Portland, where they find the old man driving away the Harpies with a weed whacker. Phineas gloats about how he gets to eat his fill while the Harpies starve, just by serving Gaea.

Percy is disgusted by his half brother's actions. Phineas tells Percy to bring him a particular Harpy and bring her to him. Percy recognizes the Harpy, Ella, who has the savant like habit of memorizing entire books. Somehow, she had memorized burnt copies of the Sibylline books, which contained prophecies. Percy realizes why Phineas would want the Harpy for a slave and decides to play roulette with him.

Percy returns with Ella and wagers with Phineas, on two vials of Gorgon blood (he got it when he slew the Gorgons at camp). One vial would horribly kill the person who drank it, while the other would cure a person of any ailment (Phineas his blindness and Percy his amnesia). If Phineas won, the Harpy would be his and would be spared alive. If Percy won, he had the right to know Alcyoneus's location in Alaska. Percy prays to Gaea for help, as he knows she would keep him alive for her plans. Phineas writes the location on a napkin and warns Percy of a horrible future.

Gaea tricks Phineas into choosing the wrong vial, killing him instantly. Percy reads the note "Hubbard Glacier", and sets out for Seattle. Frank and Hazel reveal their secrets and Percy isn't surprised at all. The trio go to the Amazon shipping company in Seattle, and find out that it is indeed run by Amazons.

Hylla is revealed to be the Queen of Amazons and imprisons the boys. Hylla explains to Hazel that Otrera, the first founder queen of Amazons and daughter of Ares had been brought back to life by Gaea, to throw the Amazons in civil war. Hylla tells Hazel that Otrera had challenged to a duel, delaying her from helping Reyna. She points at a captured horse, Arion, the immortal son of Poseidon and Demeter. Hazel tames the dangerous horse and Hylla decides to help Hazel.

Hazel frees Percy and Frank and frees Arion as well. Percy quickly assembles a chariot and harnesses the horse. Ella, Percy, Frank and Hazel climb the chariot, and escape. Arion gallops at supersonic speeds and the group reaches Vancouver in no time.

Frank's house is surrounded by cannibal Laistrygonian giants and Frank summons the spartus for a decoy. The group reach the house where Frank finds Mars waiting for him. Mars tells Frank that they belong to the seven greatest demigods, destined to defeat Gaea and her giants.

In the morning, Frank's grandmother tells him that a former legionnaire of Camp Jupiter is waiting for them to fly them to Alaska, and that she'll die shortly afterwards. Frank realizes that his ancestor is the Argonaut, Periclymenus, the grandson of Poseidon, and auspects his special ability.

He finds Percy and Hazel, holding the ogres at bay. The ogres burn down Frank's house and Percy drives them to the airfield. Onboard, Percy tells his friends that he is a Greek demigod, and he is from Camp Half-Blood, a supposed rival of Camp Jupiter. He tells them that he wants peace between the two camps.

Frank and Hazel offer their support for Percy. Percy sleeps, and in his dreams, informs his Cyclops Half-brother, Tyson to rescue Ella and rendezvous at Caldecott.

Perils in Alaska and Alcyoneus[edit]

The trio begin their journey to Hubbard Glacier. On the way they are attacked by Gryphons. Percy tricks a Hyperborean giant into freezing them and the demigods resume their journey. Gaea swallows Percy and Hazel underground, and threatens Hazel into giving up. She tells Hazel that she is holding Hazel's brother, Nico hostage and releases them.

Sometime later, Arion arrives and takes them to Alcyoneus's lair, atop a tall iceberg. Alcyoneus reveals his plans to destroy the gods at Greece. He expresses his wish to recruit Percy Jackson. The hundred ghosts of the Fifth Cohort which participated in the doomed Alaskan mission now serve Alcyoneus as his army. Frank sets his stick on fire and melts the chains of Thanatos.

Hazel mounts Arion and fights Alcyoneus. Percy captures the lost Eagle Standard, summons a whirlwind and singlehandedly fights the ghosts, though he is unable to kill them due to their instantaneous regeneration. Exhausted, Percy causes the glacier to explode, falling from the cliff along with the entire ghost cohort.

Frank is shocked about the sacrifice. He realizes that his gift is shapeshifting into any animal. He knocks Alcyoneus unconscious and drags him into Canada. Hazel stabs Alcyoneus, killing him. She kisses Frank.

They return to Alaska, to find that Percy is still alive. Percy suggests they collect the old Imperial Golden weapons as booty and return to camp. They secure the weapons on a chariot and harness Arion.

Return and battle at Camp Jupiter[edit]

Percy regains all his memories in the four hour journey, and is furious at Hera for doing this to him. The demigods meet Tyson, Ella and Percy's pet hellhound, Mrs O'Leary at Caldecott, and rush to help the Romans.

Frank distributes the weapons to the Fifth Cohort. Percy brandishes the Eagle standard and rallies the Legion against Polybotes. Percy summons several lightning bolts and razes many enemy troops. The Amazons arrive, led by Hylla, who had slain Otrera, and attack the monsters.

Percy challenges Polybotes to single combat, and tricks the giant into crossing the Pomerian Line. This infuriates Terminus, the statue god of boundaries. Percy topples Polybotes and smashes his face with Terminus's statue head, thus killing him. The Romans and Amazons cheer Percy and directly raise him to praetor. The demigods celebrate their victory.

At night, Juno appears in Percy's dream, telling him he will be joining the seven along with his friends, and the importance of uniting the Greeks and Romans.

The arrival of Jason Grace and the Greeks[edit]

The next morning, Percy dons his attire as praetor, and receives a message from Leo Valdez from Camp Half-Blood. Percy tells the senate about the Greeks. Octavian, still sore about Percy taking away his chance to power, rants about attacking the Greeks. Percy tells them to stand ground and allow the Greeks to explain. He further informs Reyna about Jason Grace's arrival. Percy points the Romans to the flying ship, the Argo II and heads out with them. Percy knows that his girlfriend, Annabeth was in that ship and everything will end well.

Major characters[edit]

  • Percy Jackson: A demigod son of Poseidon, who is the main protagonist in the first Camp Half-Blood series. He and Jason Grace have been swapped, because Hera (Juno in Roman form) has wiped their memories away to unite the two demigod camps. Percy is sent to Camp Jupiter, from which Jason comes from. He goes on a quest with Frank Zhang, son of Mars, and Hazel Levesque, daughter of Pluto, to save Thanatos, Pluto's lieutenant and the deity of death. He succeeds and at the end of the book leads the Roman camp into battle against Gaia's forces and is made praetor by the campers. His memories are restored at around the middle of the book, as Percy drinks gorgon's blood when he challenges Phineas.
  • Frank Zhang: a son of Mars. He is a Roman demigod at Camp Jupiter, a camp for Roman demigods. Frank has a crush on Hazel, which she reciprocates. He is a Chinese Canadian.
  • Hazel Levesque: daughter of Pluto and Nico's half sister. She has been recently resurrected by Nico from her death in 1942 at the age of 13 and lives in Camp Jupiter. She has a crush on Frank Zhang. She is an African American demigod from New Orleans.
  • Nico di Angelo: Hazel's half-brother and son of Hades. Initially, he is aware of what Hera has done to Percy, and pretends he does not know who Percy is. He rescues Hazel, his half-sister, from the Fields of Asphodel, giving her a second chance.
  • Reyna Avila Ramirez-Arellano: daughter of Bellona, the Roman goddess of war, and praetor of Camp Jupiter. It is found that Reyna and her sister Hylla were servants of the witch Circe, whom Annabeth and Percy had killed in The Sea of Monsters. Reyna goes on to Camp Jupiter, and Hylla goes to the Amazons, where she later becomes queen.


The Son of Neptune was given a first printing of three million copies, the largest for Disney-Hyperion to that point.[8] Upon release, the book ranked No. 1 on The New York Times bestseller list, USA Today bestseller list, and The Wall Street Journal bestseller list.[2] It was the Amazon Best Book of the Month in October 2011.[9]

Critical reception[edit]

The novel was met with mostly positive reviews. Dana Henderson of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer called the addition of new characters "refreshing and captivating" and claimed that it would "make the reader to want to keep reading".[10] Kimberly Bennion in Deseret News cited it as an "emotional roller coaster" and would please both old and new fans. However, she thought the characters had flaws.[11] The Hutchinson Leader‍‍ '​‍s Kay Johnson wrote that the plot was confusing and the first half was not engaging, but thought Riordan should be given credit for introducing Greek and Roman mythology to a new generation.[12] Kirkus Reviews was positive about the book, thinking that Riordan had "regained his traction" after "spinning his wheels" in The Lost Hero.[13]


The Mark of Athena was released on October 2, 2012 and "The House of Hades" was released on October 8, 2013[14]


  1. ^ "The Son of Neptune wins the GoodReads Choice Award 2011". GoodReads. Retrieved January 29, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "The Son of Neptune goes on three bestseller lists". Rick Riordan Official Website accessdate=January 29, 2012. 
  3. ^ Lodge, Sally. "First Printing of Three Million for New Percy Jackson Book". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 6 May 2014. 
  4. ^ "Rick Riordan talks about The Son of Neptune for the first time". Scholastic. Retrieved January 29, 2012. 
  5. ^ "The Son of Neptune cover released". Rick Riordan Official Website. Retrieved January 29, 2012. 
  6. ^ "Official Youtube video giving sneak peek about characters". Disney-Hyperion. Retrieved January 29, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Riordan reads the first two chapters of The Son of Neptune" (PDF). Rick Riordan Official Website. Retrieved January 29, 2012. 
  8. ^ Lodge, Sally (August 18, 2011). "First Printing of Three Million for New Percy Jackson Book". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved November 25, 2011. 
  9. ^ "The Son of Neptune is Amazon's book of the month". Retrieved January 29, 2012. 
  10. ^ Henderson, Dana (October 13, 2011). "Book Review: The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan". The Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved January 16, 2012. 
  11. ^ Bennion, Kimberly (October 14, 2011). "Review: 'Son of Neptune' is worth the wait". Deseret News. Retrieved January 16, 2012. 
  12. ^ Johnson, Kay. "Book Review: "The Son of Neptune," by Rick Riordan". Hutchinson Leader. Retrieved January 16, 2012. 
  13. ^ "The Son of Neptune". Kirkus Reviews. November 1, 2011. Retrieved January 16, 2012. 
  14. ^ "The Mark of Athena publisher=Rick Riordan Official Website". Retrieved January 29, 2012.