Also by Rick Riordan
Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book One:
The Lightning Thief
Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book Two:
The Sea of Monsters
Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book Three:
The Titan’s Curse
Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book Four:
The Battle of the Labyrinth
Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book Five:
The Last Olympian
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
The Heroes of Olympus, Book One:
The Lost Hero
The Heroes of Olympus, Book Two:
The Son of Neptune
Many thanks to Seán Hemingway, curator of Greek
and Roman antiquities at the Metropolitan Museum of
Art, New York, for helping me follow the Mark of
Athena to its source.
Copyright © 2012 by Rick Riordan
All rights reserved. Published by Disney • Hyperion
Books, an imprint of Disney Book Group. No part of
this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form
or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including
photocopying, recording, or by any information storage
and retrieval system, without written permission from
the publisher. For information address Disney •
Hyperion Books, 114 Fifth Avenue, New York, New
Also by Rick Riordan
About the Author
Strays and wanderers are often sent by the gods.
UNTIL SHE MET THE EXPLODING STATUE, Annabeth thought
she was prepared for anything.
She’d paced the deck of their flying warship, the
Argo II, checking and double-checking the ballistae to
make sure they were locked down. She confirmed that
the white “We come in peace” flag was flying from the
mast. She reviewed the plan with the rest of the crew—
and the backup plan, and the backup plan for the
Most important, she pulled aside their war-crazed
chaperone, Coach Gleeson Hedge, and encouraged
him to take the morning off in his cabin and watch
reruns of mixed martial arts championships. The last
thing they needed as they flew a magical Greek trireme
into a potentially hostile Roman camp was a middleaged satyr in gym clothes waving a club and yelling “Die!”
Everything seemed to be in order. Even that
mysterious chill she’d been feeling since the ship
launched had dissipated, at least for now.
The warship descended through the clouds, but
Annabeth couldn’t stop second-guessing herself. What
if this was a bad idea? What if the Romans panicked
and attacked them on sight?
The Argo II definitely did not look friendly. Two
hundred feet long, with a bronze-plated hull, mounted
repeating crossbows fore and aft, a flaming metal
dragon for a figurehead, and two rotating ballistae
amidships that could fire explosive bolts powerful
enough to blast through concrete…well, it wasn’t the
most appropriate ride for a meet-and-greet with the
Annabeth had tried to give the Romans a heads-up.
She’d asked Leo to send one of his special inventions
—a holographic scroll—to alert their friends inside the
camp. Hopefully the message had gotten through. Leo
had wanted to paint a giant message on the bottom of
the hull—WASSUP? with a smiley face—but Annabeth
vetoed the idea. She wasn’t sure the Romans had a
sense of humor.
Too late to turn back now.
The clouds broke around their hull, revealing the
gold-and-green carpet of the Oakland Hills below
them. Annabeth gripped one of the bronze shields that
lined the starboard rail.
Her three crewmates took their places.
On the stern quarterdeck, Leo rushed...
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