The Battle of Governors Island was a battle pitting demigods Percy Jackson, Annabeth Chase, magicians Carter Kane and Sadie Kane and Egyptian goddess Nekhbet against evil ghost magician Setne on Governors Island.
In a desperate attempt to defeat Apophis in the war against him, Carter and Sadie Kane intervened in the Trial of Setne to gain the aid of the ghost magician Setne in locating the Book of Thoth and a spell Setne had designed that could kill a god. Carter and Sadie were able to get their father to release Setne into their custody so they could find Apophis’ sheut and use it and Setne’s spell to destroy him. The Kanes succeeded in capturing the sheut and destroying Apophis, but Setne escaped with the Book of Thoth.
Following his escape, Setne began practicing with combining Greek and Egyptian magic using the Book of Thoth. To this end, Setne released a petsuchos in Montauk and summoned the god Serapis as tests for the Greek and Egyptians. Carter defeated the petsuchos with the help of Percy Jackson while Sadie defeated Serapis with the help of Annabeth Chase on Rockaway Beach, but in the process, Sadie learned of Setne’s use of the Book of Thoth and realized that Setne was testing them with his experiments in hybrid magic.
Nearly two months after the encounter with the petsuchos and a month after the encounter with Serapis, Annabeth gets a message from Athena about something bad going down on Governors Island and gets Percy to go stop it. On the island, the two find Setne surrounded by fire-breathing winged serpents and casting a spell from the Book of Thoth while creating a hurricane around the island. Needing backup, Annabeth tries to call Sadie on her cell phone while Percy tries to contact Carter using the Eye of Horus hieroglyph Carter gave him, both with no luck. Realizing that they can’t wait, the demigods decided to attack Setne themselves with Annabeth using her Yankees cap to get close to Setne invisibly despite the fact that they weren’t sure it would work. As Annabeth tried to sneak up on Setne, Percy used Riptide to cut two of the serpents in two, but was unable to kill them. Two more attacked him, but Percy avoided their attack by tripping before Setne called the serpents off. Setne revealed that he knew Percy was a demigod and was there with Annabeth before asking Percy to hold off until he summoned the deshret before they could “chat.” After revealing that the deshret was the crown of Lower Egypt, Setne cast the Divine Word sun-ah at Annabeth, rendering her visible and binding her in magic ropes. Setne mocked Annabeth’s attempt at invisibility and then used hu-ai to hex Percy to fall on his face and be unable to get up to keep them both restrained until he was done.
Though Annabeth tries to warn Setne that attempting to make himself a god will destroy everything, Setne explains that his release of Serapis was an experiment and he copied down the spells that Serapis used to build his Alexandria lighthouse and cross-referenced them with the older spells in the Book of Thoth to find the perfect combination to become a god. Setne then finished his spell to summon the goddess Wadjet while Percy crawled towards Annabeth in hopes of using Riptide to free her from Setne’s spell. After taking a selfie with Wadjet who was restrained by Setne’s hurricane, Setne cast a spell that was a mixture of Egyptian and Ancient Greek that granted him the ability to consume the cobra goddess’ essence into her crown which he then gained as his first step towards immortality. As Setne retrieves the crown of Lower Egypt, Percy reaches Annabeth and tries to cut her free, but only manages to free her mouth before the spell sends off an alarm like an air horn, getting Setne’s attention. Setne explains about the alarm on the ropes and explains that he devoured the essence of Wadjet and gained the power of Lower Egypt and now intends to gain the power of Upper Egypt by going after that crown and then putting the two together. As Setne prepared to consume the two demigods, Percy stabbed him in the gut with Riptide to no effect. Telling Percy that he was now beyond killing, Setne began consuming everything around him including Riptide, the spells on the demigods and all the wood, glass and stone nearby. Afterwards, Percy discovers that Riptide didn’t reappear in his pocket in ballpoint pen form as it would usually do and that absorbing its essence gave Setne knowledge of himself and Annabeth. Setne then prepares to consume the two, but Carter and Sadie arrive as a falcon and kite respectively and drop the camel Hindenburg on Setne, crushing him flat. Setne quickly destroys Hindenburg, but flees when Carter and Sadie go into an attack run on him, having gotten what he needed.
After landing, Carter and Sadie returned to human form and explained that Setne’s storm messed up their locator magic so they had a hard time finding Percy and Annabeth. The demigods quickly explain what happened to the magicians who realize that Setne will now be going after the crown of Upper Egypt and will then be able to become immortal. Annabeth tells them that after he becomes immortal, Setne plans to “vacuum up” all the Greek and Egyptian magic in the world Percy wants Riptide back. After hearing their story, Carter explains that Setne wants the pschent or crown of Ptolemy who had tried to become a god after getting control of Egypt, but was unable to as, unlike Setne, he didn’t have access to magic from the Book of Thoth to help him. The group realizes that Setne will go after Nekhbet, the guardian of the crown of Upper Egypt next and guess that he will go to the south end of Governors Island which is between Manhattan and Brooklyn, the headquarters for their respective branches of magic. After briefly arguing, the group decides to make their way to the south end of the island while figuring out a plan for defeating Setne. Eventually Carter and Annabeth came up with the plan to do what Setne was doing to defeat him: combine Greek and Egyptian magic as neither Greek nor Egyptian magic alone will be enough to defeat Setne. Remembering how when Annabeth took her wand on Rockaway Beach it turned into a celestial bronze dagger, Sadie has Carter give Percy his wand in hopes of creating a Greek sword out of an Egyptian wand. When Percy takes the wand, it transforms into a kopis, the Greek version of the Egyptian khopesh sword Carter utilizes. Though it’s unwieldy, Percy determines he can use it in battle. Remembering Sadie using the ha-di spell on Rockaway Beach, Annabeth asks her about it and Sadie writes it down on a piece of papyrus. After Sadie tells Annabeth that she can write the hieroglyph on the papyrus without triggering the explosion and use the magic the scroll stored later, Annabeth writes the Ancient Greek word for blast on another piece of papyrus which Percy translates for Sadie so she can use it in the form of a spell the way she would ha-di. As Sadie was better with such magic, Annabeth gave the scroll to her and suggested trading her Yankees cap for Carter’s khopesh. When the cap proved capable of turning Carter invisible, Annabeth suggested that it might work better for him or at least differently against Setne than it did for her as she was a Greek demigod using a Greek magic item but Carter would be an Egyptian magician using a Greek item. At that moment, the ground shakes and a white glow lights up the horizon causing them to realize something is happening and to speed up their efforts to reach the south end of the island and Setne.
Carter, Sadie, Percy and Annabeth make their way to a muddy field where they find Setne casting another spell circled by six vultures. Sadie realizes that Setne is summoning Nekhbet and though Carter and Annabeth try to come up with an attack plan, Sadie simply charges in followed by the others. Percy is able to kill two vultures with his new kopis, but Setne teleports away when he tries to use the sword on them. Two vultures attack Sadie, but she destroys one with a whack from her staff and another with a blast of white fire from it, causing the surviving vultures to flee. As the group tries to find Setne, he reappears and casts a spell that creates a ring of earth where coils of sand prevent anyone from getting close to him, Sadie’s legs get trapped in mud and Annabeth is stuck outside. As the group struggles to get through the slowly loosening spell, Setne completes his summoning spell and Nekhbet appears before him, enraged to see Setne who demands the hedjet, the crown of Upper Egypt she protects. Nekhbet is enraged as she refuses to bow to him as she is the protector of the crown and the shield of the pharaoh, but Setne is unimpressed so Nekhbet breaks his spell holding down the demigods and magicians, freeing them. Setne remains unimpressed and begins reciting the spell that will allow him to consume Nekhbet’s essence so Percy and Annabeth charge Nekhbet and push her across the field while Sadie casts the blast spell Annabeth prepared for her, knocking them all off of their feet and leaving a smoking crater where the spell hit. However, Setne survives the blast and is left more dazed than hurt. Setne finds the hedjet which had fallen off of Nekhbet’s head when Percy and Annabeth tackled her and prepares to consume them and Sadie. However Carter, successfully rendered invisible to Setne by Annabeth’s Yankees cap, casts the stahp spell, cutting off Setne’s right hand which holds the Book of Thoth. While Setne considers going after the Book of Thoth, Percy threatens him with his kopis and Setne retreats without the Book, saying he doesn’t need it anymore.
After being saved, Nekhbet is displeased, telling the group that she could’ve destroyed Setne. However, Percy tells her about Setne consuming Wadjet. After they briefly argue with Nekhbet, Carter reminds everyone that they were at least able to save Nekhbet and get back the Book of Thoth and wonders what Setne’s next move will be and how to stop it. Nekhbet tells them that Setne now has both halves of the pschent and while it won’t be as powerful without her essence, wearing it Setne can still turn himself into a god. Sadie asks Nekhbet if it will be possible for them to defeat Setne which Nekhbet says can be done as Setne is not a full god yet, but her own powers are greatly diminished without her crown. Sadie suggests they use the Book of Thoth as it helped them destroy Apophis and Nekhbet admits that the Book does contain a spell for imprisoning gods that they could use, but that it would take a lot of concentration and preparation to perform. Nekhbet tells the group that at least three of them would need to prepare the trap while the fourth distracted Setne until it was ready. Focusing on Percy, Nekhbet tells them that they need a very potent hybrid attack, an abomination that Ptolemy would be proud of. After Nekhbet comments that as Percy is a son of Poseidon it would be “a most unexpected combination”, Sadie realizes that Nekhbet wants to take Percy as her host to battle Setne despite him being a demigod and not blood of the pharaohs who can safely host a god. Carter is less skeptical as Percy isn’t a usual host and if the pairing worked, it could leave him very powerful. Carter explains the nature of gods and their hosts to the confused demigods and Annabeth volunteers in Percy’s place. However, Nekhbet tells them that Annabeth is unsuited to be her host due to her more complicated mind while Percy’s simpler mind and great power make him perfect. Nekhbet insists that they need the power of a god to defeat Setne and as Horus and Isis aren’t responding, Nekhbet is all they’ve got. As Percy continues to hesitate, a red glow starts nearby which they realize is Setne starting the ritual to make him a god. Out of options, Percy consents to host Nekhbet who enters his body in the form of black smoke. After Nekhbet enters his body, Percy struggles to maintain control of himself while Carter and Sadie give him advice on finding a balance between himself and Nekhbet rather than one having full control over the other, but due to the situation, are unable to give him more than some tips before they have to go off to face Setne.
Following the red glow, the group makes their way across the island to where Setne is on a nearby soccer field. Using Nekhbet’s enhanced senses, Percy is able to tell that Setne is strip-mining the Duat for more power to make himself a god and tries to absorb Percy and Nekhbet, uniting them in their desire to avoid such a fate. As Percy approaches Setne, the ghost magician notices him and is pleased that he brought Nekhbet rather than be threatened by him. Percy draws his ‘’kopis’’ on Setne and demands that he surrender or be destroyed, but Setne recognizes that Percy is just trying to distract him while his friends set a trap and calls out to Carter that he was impressed with Carter’s spell that cut off his hand. Setne tells Carter that the spell would make Carter’s father proud and offers that if Carter joins him, he will resurrect Julius fully which would make him even more proud. Setne creates a new hand for himself and asks what Carter thinks only for Carter to use the Fist of Horus to pound him into the ground and make himself visible to refuse. Percy reminds Carter that he was supposed to wait and tells him to go help set the trap while Carter feels justified as Setne brought up his father. Annabeth orders Percy to retrieve the crown, however, he freezes as while Nekhbet wants to retrieve it, Percy fears being consumed like Wadjet was. Before the two can resolve their differences, Setne rises from the ground and tells Carter that his father wouldn’t be proud of the way Carter responded to Setne’s offer. Carter summons his combat avatar, but Setne simply absorbs it, causing Carter to collapse. Sadie shoots a blast of white fire at Setne in rage, but Setne absorbs the blast and offers Sadie the chance to join him in tearing up the universe and destroying things as they see fit, tempting Sadie’s love for destruction. Sadie, Annabeth and Percy are left struggling to concentrate due to Setne’s power and Setne tells them he thinks that Governors Island will be perfect for his new palace once he’s a god and he plans to consume the old pantheons such as Zeus and Osiris and only take what he needs from them. Carter starts to stir and when Setne threatens him, Sadie starts to charge the evil magician before Annabeth reminds her to fight smart, not angry. Declaring she will do both, Sadie begins the trap spell from the Book of Thoth, but Setne sends out a massive ring of fire to kill them. Able to tell what Setne is about to do thanks to Nekhbet’s enhanced senses, Percy orders the recovering Carter to get down and uses Nekhbet’s combat avatar to shield Sadie and Annabeth from the blast which blackens the field, destroys Percy’s discarded kopis and chars Carter’s hair and blisters his face. Setne tells them that the spell he’s casting will be irreversible in a few minutes and orders Percy to drop his combat avatar before Setne takes it from him and Sadie to give him the Book of Thoth before she hurts herself as there’s no spell she could read from it that could harm him. However, Sadie tells Setne that she can’t harm him but she has friends and gives Annabeth the Book of Thoth and whispers her secret name to her, enabling Annabeth to perform Egyptian magic. As Annabeth begins the binding spell, Sadie tells Percy to distract Setne while she tends to Carter and Annabeth handles the trap. Panicking, Setne begins casting a counterspell while Percy tries to move but has to fight Nekhbet who wants to consume Carter. The thought of his friend dying while he does nothing gives Percy the strength to take control and he uses his combat avatar to grab Setne before he can finish his spell and fly them high into the sky.
In the sky, Percy works to try to knock the crown off of Setne’s head, spiraling through the storm and shaking Setne, but to no avail. Setne begins blasting Percy with blasts of fire and flashes of light, but Nekhbet’s combat avatar shields him. However, the effort of shielding himself with the avatar causes Percy’s magical reserves to start to diminish and the avatar to weaken. Once they get over the top of the cloud layer, Setne begins attacking Percy with cold, taking advantage of his drenched state to try to weaken him in a subtler way. As Percy tries to use his avatar’s claws to crush Setne, Setne reminds him of the time he turned down godhood after the Battle of Manhattan and offers him a second chance at it through working with Setne. Surprised, Nekhbet reads Percy’s memories of the events surrounding him turning down godhood and starts to consider him a fool for turning down power, leading to a difference of opinion between them. Setne tells Percy that he did the noble thing but that the gods didn’t honor their promises which, combined with Nekhbet’s opinion, causes Percy to start to doubt his decision. As Setne continues to talk to Percy, his power starts to numb Percy’s limbs and turn his thoughts sluggish, something which he is unable to break free of. Setne continues, telling Percy that it’s hard having a powerful dad which he knows from having Ramesses the Great as his father and insists that the gods don’t care about mortals and the only way to catch their attention is to be bad. As Setne speaks to Carter, Nekhbet does nothing to try to convince him otherwise and Percy is able to see in her mind that she only cares about maintaining the power of Egypt and keeping the worship of the gods alive. Setne insists that Percy should’ve taken Zeus’ offer as it would’ve made him powerful enough to enact the changes he wanted and that Setne is now giving him a second chance to get what he wants. However, Percy continues to refuse to give in to Setne’s persuasion and Nekhbet separates her consciousness from Percy’s as she favors the strong and she now sees Percy as weak and Setne as strong, forgetting who the enemy in the situation is. Remembering Setne’s strip-mining of the Duat, Percy finally understands that Setne acts by looking into his enemies minds, finding something he can relate to and use it against them. However, Percy tells him that it won’t work on him as unlike Setne, Percy doesn’t want immortality. Setne admits that it was worth a try, especially as it made Percy lose control of Nekhbet. Taking advantage of the separation between Percy and Nekhbet, Setne uses an explosion of cold to shatter Percy’s weakened combat avatar. As he falls, Percy grabs Setne and holds him so they fall together into New York Harbor. Upon hitting the water, Percy’s nature as the demigod son of Poseidon causes the water to heal his injuries and revitalize Percy’s energy. Now in his element, Percy easily overpowers Setne and begins choking him before Nekhbet reminds him that he can’t destroy Setne as he’s too far down the path to immortality, even in the water. Knowing she’s right and he can only restrain him for so long, Percy returns to the shore with the defeated Setne.
On shore, Percy is met by a bandaged but alive Carter who Setne shoots a stream of fire at. However, Carter easily deflects the stream of fire with a glowing magic rope he has created as part of the trap and Setne is left dazed and deflated by being strangled by Percy underwater and is no longer able to fight back while the seawater has restored Percy to full strength and Nekhbet is cooperating again and ready to shield him from anything Setne might try. Carter and Percy then return to the destroyed soccer field where Sadie and Annabeth have created a chalk circle of Greek and Egyptian words of power over the rift that Setne had created to strip-mine the Duat. Percy tosses Setne into the middle of the circle, causing the Greek letters and Egyptian hieroglyphs around it to burn and swirl into a funnel cloud to contain Setne. Percy explains to his friends what he figured out of how Setne works and how it didn’t work on him as Setne tried and failed to get a handle on Percy’s motives for turning down immortality in the past and thus couldn’t find anything to relate to get past Percy’s defenses. Nekhbet pushes Percy to destroy Setne, however, he refuses as he’s not the kind of person to do that. Instead, Percy has Sadie, Carter and Annabeth ready themselves to finish the spell to imprison Setne. Percy tells Setne that he was right about there being a lot of power in mixing Greek and Egyptian magic and thanks him for introducing him to Sadie and Carter with whom he will continue “mixing it up.” However, Percy tells Setne that there’s a difference between stealing and sharing and reaches into Setne’s mouth and removes Riptide which he finds in the form of a ballpoint pen in the back of Setne’s throat. Removing Riptide causes all of the magic Setne absorbed to come spewing out, releasing Wadjet and everything else Setne absorbed in a rainbow of magic. As Setne loses all of the power he’d collected, Sadie and Annabeth utter command words, causing the funnel cloud of magic created by the spell to hem Setne in and cause him to start to shrivel up with the crown of Ptolemy falling off his head. Carter then threw his glowing rope on Setne causing a flash of light that when it cleared, left Setne trapped in a cheap plastic snowglobe of Governors Island with the crown of Ptolemy lying beside it and Nekhbet gone from Percy’s mind now that Setne is defeated.
After imprisoning Setne, the group returns to the fort where Setne consumed Wadjet and has a small picnic. Percy questions Carter on how the spell caused Setne to become trapped in a snowglobe and Carter tells him that the snowglobe idea had gotten stuck in his head after Setne mentioned it and when he sprung the trap, the spell conformed to his thoughts and trapped Setne in a snowglobe. After Carter tells them that Setne will now become a paperweight on his desk, Sadie jokes about how it will be so boring for him that it would’ve been kinder to allow Ammit the Devourer consume his soul. Sadie explains that she gave Annabeth her secret name, her ren which granted Annabeth access to her experiences and abilities and allowed her to perform Egyptian magic. After Carter explains the danger of giving someone your ren, Sadie tells them that she knew she couldn’t create the containment circle on her own and that it would take both her and Annabeth. Annabeth reassures Percy that the effects of learning Sadie’s ren are wearing off and she can’t cast anymore Egyptian magic. The group then wonders why Wadjet and Nekhbet didn’t reclaim their crowns and Percy realizes, from traces of Nekhbet’s personality left over in his mind that the goddesses are testing them to see if any of them will try to use the crown to gain immortality. In the end the group decides to send the crown of Ptolemy to the magic vaults of the First Nome where it will be safe but recognize that Setne’s actions sent tremors through the Duat that could be felt by gods, magicians and likely demigods. They realize that even if they lock up the crown, hybrid magic will be tempting to people and they need to keep their worlds apart as much as possible due to the damage hybrid magic could do to the Duat and the mortal world. To this end, the group agrees to keep their adventures a secret but to keep in touch in case they are needed again to deal with another threat. The Kanes then transform into their bird forms and fly off while Percy and Annabeth decide to go on a date.