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The Son of Neptune


WARNING:This is a complete story summary intended for parents or others who wish to know the contents of The Son of Neptune. It will contain spoilers. To see a spoiler-free summary and other details about the book please visit the review page.

Percy Jackson is chased by flying Gorgons to the gates of Camp Jupiter. He has little memory of his past and only the training he received from the she-wolf Lupa combined with natural skill has helped him survive. At the entrance to the Roman Camp, guarded by Hazel Levesque and Frank Zhang, he is met by an old lady who forces him to carry her across the Little Tiber. As he does so the Gorgons attack Frank and Percy uses the power of the river to destroy them. At the same time he realises that a protection he has been carrying has now been stripped away. The lady turns out to be Juno, the Roman form of the goddess Hera, and Percy is accepted into the camp by its Praetor Reyna who seems to recognise him, yet denies it.

Hazel has a blackout involving a flashback to 1940 when she and her mother lived in New Orleans. Her father Pluto has turned up on her 13th birthday but her mother is only angered and tells Hazel that they’re moving to Alaska. Frank remembers the time when his grandmother told him how his life was bound to a half-burnt stick and that he’d be going to Camp Jupiter. Using Hazel’s ability to find tunnels and Percy’s control of water, the three of them win the evening’s War Games for the 5th Cohort. The God of War turns up, claims Frank as his son, explains that Gaia has Death chained up so that no-one need stay dead, and sends Percy, Frank & Hazel on a Quest to Alaska to free Thanatos, the God of Death. Before they go, Reyna tells Percy to find her sister Hylla, Queen of the Amazons, and offers him her friendship and a role as Praetor, which he refuses.

Percy, Frank & Hazel set off in a small boat and Hazel has another blackout in which she relives the moment, half a century earlier, when she decided to sacrifice her own life by drowning an entire island to prevent the Titan Alcyoneus from rising. When she wakes they’ve made landfall near San Francisco and, almost immediately, Hazel is kidnapped by Karpoi, grain spirits working for Gaia. She holds them off long enough for Percy & Frank to rescue her. They discover an Army over the rise, led by the Titan Polybotes whose hair sheds poisonous basilisks. The demigods take shelter in an organic wholefood store run by the Goddess Iris and, while Percy and Hazel attempt to get a message to Camp Jupiter about the army, Iris tells Frank about his famous ancestors and hints at an extra gift he might possess.

They travel on to Portland while Percy dreams of the people searching for him from Camp Half-Blood. In Portland they find the seer Phineas keeping three starving Harpies from eating any of his food. Percy gambles that Gaia needs him for her plans more than she needs Phineas and challenges the Seer to a life-of-death wager using the two phials of Gorgon’s blood which Frank has with him. He survives and starts to regain his memory. One of the Harpies, Ella, has taken a fancy to them and travels with them when they leave.

On their way to Seattle, Hazel explains that she was brought back from the Underworld by Nico di Angelo and she and Frank share a blackout in which he sees her save her mother from punishment. He confides his secret to her and entrusts her with the part-burnt stick which represents his lifeline. In Seattle they find the Amazon building and discover that, not only is it the online sales company, it’s also the headquarters of the tribe of female warriors whose Queen, Reyna’s sister, is facing a challenge from an former Amazon queen, returned from the dead now that Thanatos is held captive by Gaia. The demigods are taken prisoner but escape using Arion, a demigod horse with which Hazel forms a special relationship.

The horse leaves them near Frank’s grandmother’s house, which they find surrounded by Laistrygonian giants. Frank uses his spear, a gift from Mars, to raise an skeletal warrior which kills the giants before disappearing. In the morning, Frank’s grandmother tells him of the arrangements she’s made to get them to Alaska and helps him to understand the family gift. Percy uses his power over water to keep the giants at bay and they escape in Frank’s grandmother’s car to a plane waiting for them three miles away, Frank using his archery skills and his mother’s special arrows to cover their escape.

In the air Percy, who’s recovered most of his missing memory, manages to get a dream message through to his Cyclops half-brother Tyson who’s searching for him nearby, telling him that Ella the Harpy is hiding in the woods. He also dreams of the advance of Polybotes’ army upon the Roman Camp. The plane leaves them in Anchorage where they take a train which is attacked by Gryphons. Frank uses the last skeletal soldier from his spear to defend the humans on the train and then shoots down some of the Gryphons. Percy tricks a Hyperborean giant into freezing the remaning gryphons.

Percy falls down into some muskeg – a sort of quicksand bog – and Hazel dives after him anchored from above by Frank. Down in the earth she’s given a choice by Gaia but chooses to stay and help her friends. On Arion (the wonder horse) they reach the glacier where the god of Death is chained up. Hazel & Percy fight off Alcyoneus’ soldiers while Frank uses the burnt stick which represents his life to melt the chains holding Thanatos. Alcyoneus brags that he is unbeatable in his own land, so Frank uses his family gift for the first time and transforms into a bear, knocking him unconscious. With Hazel on Arion, they drag the Titan over the border into Canada where he is vulnerable. Hazel wounds him and Frank transforms into an elephant and knocks him down for Hazel to deliver the coup de grâce.

Back at the glacier, they find Percy and take as much Roman weaponry as they can find around, plus the Fifth Cohort’s missing eagle, and travel on Arion back to Camp Jupiter where they’re in time to turn the tide against the invading Titan’s army. Percy defeats Polybotes with the help of the border god Terminus. The next day, they receive advance notice of a Greek ship arriving by air: the Argo II, captained by Leo Valdez and carrying Annabeth, Jason, Piper and the Satyr Gleeson.