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In this book, a quest is undertaken by both Hunters and campers to save Annabeth Chase and the goddess Artemis when it is realized that they have been abducted by the same forces. The quest they will undergo, however, is not all that it seems to be as secrets are revealed and the time of the Great Prophecy draws ever closer.
In December, six months after the Sea of Monsters adventure, Percy Jackson, Thalia Grace and Annabeth Chase go to Westover Hall to meet Grover Underwood, who had found two powerful demigod siblings there, Bianca and Nico di Angelo. Thalia displays the ability to manipulate the Mist, and tries to convince a resident teacher and the vice principal there that the three belong to the school. She manages to not let the three get kicked out before they could find the satyr.
Grover soon informs them that Dr. Thorn, the vice-principal of Westover hall, is a manticore (a half scorpion, lion, and human monster), and is suspicious of the two half-bloods' true identities, and therefore he was not fooled by Thalia's trick of the mist. She formulates a plan to distract Dr. Thorn; however the plan backfires on them. Percy, who is forced to dance to blend in with the crowd, sees Dr. Thorn attempting to sneak away with the two half-bloods. He is unable to spot Thalia, Annabeth, or Grover in the crowd and so follows Dr. Thorn.
As he nears Bianca and Nico, Dr. Thorn throws a thorn and it grazes his shoulder. Percy realizes that poison has entered his system. Percy is too weak to fight and instead, listens to the manticore as he talks about The Great Stirring. Percy tries to reassure Bianca who is panicking and Nico who is both overjoyed and scared. Percy lets Dr. Thorn bring them to a cliff and they wait for the manticore's allies to collect them. Percy tries hard to send a message to Grover that he was in danger. It works and soon Grover, Thalia and Annabeth show up and Dr. Thorn reveals his true form as a manticore.
Suddenly, some silver arrows pass Percy and hit the manticore. Thorn retaliates and shoots a volley of thorns to the shooters and more silver arrows come out and split them perfectly in half. The archers get out of the bushes. They are all adolescent girls wearing silver clothing. Thalia introduces them as the Hunters of Artemis. They are about to shoot when Dr. Thorn lunges at Percy and Thalia, knowing they are both weak and stunned. Annabeth climbs on Dr. Thorn with her knife, but the hunters release their arrows, and he falls from the cliff, taking Annabeth with him as she leaves her Yankee's cap behind.
Artemis appears and orders the Hunters to set up camp. Percy is invited to come and have a talk with the goddess, who appears in the form of a girl around the age of twelve. She asks Percy to restate what Dr. Thorn mentioned and concludes that dangerous times are near. She decides to hunt a powerful monster, one that has the power to bring down the gods and Olympus. Before she goes alone to do so, Zoë Nightshade, her lieutenant, is placed in charge of the Hunters and is told to stay at Camp Half-Blood until Artemis returns. During their short stay at the outskirts of Westover Hall, Bianca chooses to join the Hunters and attain immortality and a new family, along with forswearing romantic love forever, while leaving Nico in the trust of those at Camp Half-Blood.
Thalia Attempts to Drive
The group receives a ride from Artemis's brother Apollo who lets them use the sun chariot, with Thalia at the wheel. The combination results in a gut-wrenching experience for the group because Thalia is scared of heights and the sun chariot can fly. Soon, they arrive at Camp Half-Blood, almost crashing in the canoe lake. Percy and Thalia lead Nico to the Big House for a conversation with Mr. D and Chiron. The two are quickly forbidden to carry out any rescue plans they have for Annabeth, with Dionysus stating that there is a small chance that she would survive.
Percy's Latest Dreams
Chiron announces that a "friendly" game of Capture the Flag is going to be held against the Hunters, as it is a tradition at Camp Half-Blood. Percy returns to his cabin to learn that his father has installed a fountain for him, filled with golden drachmas to remind him to keep in touch with his family. Percy sends an Iris message to Tyson, only to learn that the Princess Andromeda is being protected by old spirits and that it was headed to the Panama Canal.
Percy soon has a dream in which Luke Castellan tricks Annabeth into holding up a ceiling of a cavern. He later learns that the ceiling is actually the sky, and that Annabeth has actually taken over the former burden of Atlas. Percy tells Grover of his dream, only to learn of the possibility that Annabeth was considering joining the Hunters. Percy attempts to seek help from the Oracle, but the Oracle does not respond. Later, after a humiliating defeat in Capture the Flag by the Hunters, Percy and Thalia are about to come to arms when Percy sees the Oracle walking towards Zoë. It was astounding as, according to Chiron, the Oracle never left the attic of the Big House.
The Hunters, Demigods and a Satyr Team Up
A discussion is held about who is to go on the quest. It is decided that Zoë, Thalia, Bianca, Grover and Phoebe would go, leaving Percy protesting. When asked whether his determination was due to his desperation to rescue Annabeth, Percy hesitates. In the end, the decision is final and there is nothing he could do to change it. Chiron tries to comfort him. Percy then sends an Iris message to his mother, and finds her chatting with Paul Blofis, her new boyfriend. Before the connection is cut, Sally encourages Percy to do what he thinks is right.
Later, Percy has another dream, in which Artemis takes Annabeth's place holding the sky to save her from likely death. In the dream, the General tells Luke to kill Annabeth, but Luke convinces the General to let him keep her alive until winter solstice, as further bait. Percy awakens find Blackjack, a pegasus, as the latter asks him to rescue a marine cow-like creature called the Ophiotaurus. Percy names the creature Bessie, not knowing what it is, thinking it is a girl, and not knowing its true power.
Upon his return, Percy finds Nico eavesdropping on the Hunters. Using Annabeth's Yankees cap, he turns himself invisible and learns that Phoebe is bedridden due to a prank the Stoll brothers pulled. He quickly stops Nico, who is attempting to follow his sister on the quest (which Percy figures out after the conversation between the Hunters). Percy promises Nico that he would try to protect Bianca, before taking off on Blackjack and following the group.
After many hours following the van containing the four, Percy and Blackjack stop at a museum. From a distance, Percy sees Dr. Thorn and hears him confirming that Annabeth is alive and that his dream had been true. Dr. Thorn does not go into the museum with the rest of them, and instead goes somewhere else. Percy follows, and soon he sees the General and Luke. There the General creates skeletal warriors, which are almost impossible to destroy, by putting dinosaur teeth — dragon teeth, in actuality — into the soil and watering it with blood. Their original purpose was to kill Zoë and Bianca. The General is about to give them a cloth to get the Hunters' scent when Percy grabs it. However, the skeletons tear a chunk out of Percy's sleeve and inhale his scent, making him their target.
Percy quickly escapes using Annabeth's Yankee cap and notifies the others. Though the group (Zoë in particular) is rather surprised and angry as they realize he has followed them, they are interrupted when the Nemean lion attacks. Nothing is able to pierce its hide, much to the displeasure of the group. However, Percy discovers a weakness and has an idea to expose it. He finds astronaut food in a gift shop and throws them into the Nemean lion's mouth. It causes the creature to expose its mouth long enough for Zoë to finish it off with an arrow.
Zoë then gives Percy the trophy of the lion pelt, saying that he was the one who defeated the lion fair and square, even though she was the one who shot the killing arrow. The skeleton warriors, disguised by The Mist as gray security men, are now following Percy, but Zoë refuses to leave him behind as she realizes that he is the fifth quest member. They soon reach an area called the Sun West line after taking many trains to lose their followers. There, they meet a homeless person and share his fire. They are oblivious to the fact that the homeless person is actually Apollo.
Percy soon encounters Apollo again when they get on another train headed west. Apollo advises him to seek out Nereus, the Old Man of the Sea. Percy soon has a dream, in which he is given the sword Anaklusmos by a girl. Unbeknownst to him, he is in fact seeing through the eyes of Hercules and the girl, he later realizes, is Zoë.
With help from Apollo, they reach a small town in New Mexico. There they try to take a break when Grover swoons as Pan's presence overcomes him. Following that, the skeleton warriors surround them, using handguns. Though Percy deflects a bullet and cuts down a skeleton warrior, it immediately forms back together, reassembling itself. Somehow, though, Bianca defeats a warrior, stabbing it right in the chest, with her knife blasting it to flames. This, however, does not stop another from shooting at Percy. Miraculously, Percy survives and realizes that the Nemean Lion pelt he wears is bulletproof. Grover then senses Pan's presence again along with a wild gift from him — the Erymanthian boar. The giant boar temporarily defeats the skeletal warriors and carries them further on to San Francisco.
It takes them to the Junkyard of the Gods, where Percy meets Ares and talks to Aphrodite, at which point it is hinted that Annabeth and Percy will most likely have a romantic future together. Aphrodite mentions that she likes Percy, and because of this, she would make his love life interesting. Eventually, the group enter the junkyard (located near Gila Claw, Arizona), where Bianca tries to steal a Mythomagic action figure for her younger brother. Because of this, she awakens a defective Talos.
The group battle the automaton when Bianca has a plan to defeat it. She enters via a maintenance hole in his left foot to destroy him. She succeeds in destroying the prototype Talos, but is electrocuted when Talos crashes into electric lines, causing him to short-circuit and crash to the ground. After failing to find her, Grover tearfully announces that the next stage in the prophecy has been fulfilled: Bianca di Angelo has died in the desert, the land without rain.
The Hoover Dam
Finding a truck in the junkyard, Thalia drives until they reach a river. There, they find some canoes, and Percy convinces a group of Naiads to steer them to the Hoover Dam. Percy, Thalia, and Grover begin spouting facts about the Dam, indicating just how close their relationship is to Annabeth, as the Hoover Dam was one of her personal favorites. After making some 'dam' jokes, Percy gets separated from the group when he hears and approaches the Ophiotaurus. The 11 remaining skeletal warriors attack him, and as he tries to escape, he ends up with a tour group inside an elevator. As the group leaves the elevator, Percy is alone with the tour guide, who turns out to be Athena. She is knowledgeable about his predicament and cryptically tells him that there is a way out for those who can find it.
Athena leaves, and Percy dashes behind a wall to hide from the skeletons. He hears a noise behind him, and, thinking it is a skeleton, blindly slashes at a mortal girl who can see through the Mist, named Rachel Elizabeth Dare. Because she is mortal, the blade passes right through her, as if it is an illusion. She saves Percy by confusing the skeletons, allowing Percy to escape to his friends. The group gets trapped on the dam but are saved when the giant metal angel statues given to Zeus by Athena carry them off after Thalia prays to her father.
Reaching San Francisco, Percy wrestles Nereus, the Old Man of the Sea, and learns that Bessie the Ophiotaurus is the monster Artemis is seeking, for burning its entrails will give a person the power to destroy Olympus. Dr. Thorn appears with a small force of mortals, and he tries to convince Thalia to wield the Ophiotaurus' power. Percy manages to shake her out of her stupor, and as they are cornered, they manage to get an Iris message to Camp Half Blood and see Dionysus, the camp director. He saves them after Percy reluctantly asks for help. Grover then takes the Ophoitaurus back to Long Island with the Poseidon's help after Percy sacrifices the lion's pelt to Poseidon.
Percy Takes the Titan's Curse
They go to see Annabeth's father, Dr. Chase, to ask for help. Percy notes that the Chase home is one that 'looks like it had been lived in forever.' Dr. Chase lends them his car, and before they leave, Percy makes a promise to Mrs. Chase to tell Annabeth that she still had a home there. As they drive up the mountain, the car explodes due to a lightning bolt that Kronos threw to make Thalia angry at her father.
They complete the rest of the climb on foot to the Garden of the Hesperides, where Zoë meets her sisters and is poisoned by the dragon, Ladon. They continue to the place where Atlas used to hold up the sky, and they see Artemis taking on his burden. Annabeth is bound and gagged by Luke and Atlas. Realizing that the prophecy made by the Oracle involved him, Percy takes the burden of the Titan's curse from Artemis.
In the ensuing fight, Percy could see the ruins of Mount Othrys, the rival capital of Mount Olympus, rebuilding itself. This could only mean that the Titans' chances of triumph are increasing. Atlas kills his daughter by throwing her against the rocks. Artemis kicks Atlas back under the weight of the sky, as only a Titan can be forced to bear the sky and the impact pushes Percy backwards. The sky smashes against Atlas' back before he struggles to his knees, pinning him to the ground. In a battle between Thalia and Luke, Luke falls into a chasm; Percy assumes that Luke is dead, but it is later confirmed by Poseidon that the traitorous demigod had survived. Before leaving Mount Tam, Artemis turns Zoë into a constellation — the Huntress — as both a reward for the latter's services and as a reminder to the world of her existence. They then go to Mount Olympus via Blackjack and his pegasi friends.
The Council of the Gods
When Percy, Thalia and Annabeth arrive, the gods have already started the meeting. Thalia chooses to take Zoë's place as the Hunters' lieutenant for her to never turn 16 and not be the child of the prophecy. Percy experiences discomfort before she makes her decision, as he assumed that it would be Annabeth joining the Hunters. Ares and Athena suggest that the gods kill Percy because he will be the next child of the prophecy after two years. Fortunately, many of the gods vote to let the heroes live after Artemis declares that if the heroes are punished, then the gods are no better than the Titans. Poseidon also vouches to let the Ophiotaurus live. He states that it would be kept in Mount Olympus.
After partying with the gods, the group return to camp. Percy tells Nico about Bianca's death and gives him the figurine of Hades, that Bianca meant to give to Nico. Nico throws the statuette away and tells Percy that he hates him for not saving his sister. Suddenly, four of the skeletal warriors appear and Nico unintentionally splits the earth to swallow them up. Percy figures out that Nico's father is Hades after this incident. The remaining seven skeletons are never seen again in the rest of the series. As Percy discusses Nico's abilities with Annabeth, Grover arrives, claiming that, while drinking coffee, he had heard Pan's voice speak three words in his head, "I await you."
This book's prophecy is given to Zoë Nightshade.
Five shall go west to the goddess in chains,
One shall be lost in the land without rain,
The bane of Olympus shows the trail,
Campers and Hunters combined prevail,
The Titan's curse must one withstand,
And one shall perish by a parent's hand.
Unraveling the Prophecy
- The group consisting of Zoë, Thalia, Grover, Bianca di Angelo, and Percy go west to find Artemis who was the goddess in chains.
- Bianca sacrifices herself in the Junkyard of the Gods, which is located in the Southwestern U.S. desert region, to save the group from the Talos prototype.
- They follow the Ophiotaurus, which was the bane of Olympus because of its power.
- The group that took the quest consisted of three campers and two hunters.
- Percy (along with Annabeth and Luke) withstand the Titan Atlas's curse of holding up the sky.
- Zoë is killed by her father, the Titan Atlas,after being poisoned by their dragon, Ladon.
- My Rescue Operation Goes Very Wrong
- The Vice Principal Gets a Missile Launcher
- Bianca di Angelo Makes a Choice
- Thalia Torches New England
- I Place an Underwater Phone Call
- An Old Dead Friend Comes to Visit
- Everybody Hates Me but the Horse
- I Make a Dangerous Promise
- I Learn How to Grow Zombies
- I Break a Few Rocket Ships
- Grover Gets a Lamborghini
- I Go Snowboarding with a Pig
- We Visit the Junkyard of the Gods
- I Have a Dam Problem
- I Wrestle Santa's Evil Twin
- We Meet the Dragon of Eternal Bad Breath
- I Put on a Few Million Extra Pounds
- A Friend Says Good-bye
- The Gods Vote How to Kill Us
- I Get a New Enemy for Christmas
- (Preview of The Battle Of The Labyrinth)
- Percy Jackson - fourteen years old, son of Poseidon; he is the main protagonist and narrator of the whole series.
- Thalia Grace - fifteen years old, daughter of Zeus. Thalia is described as looking very punk-rock, with black clothes, chains, and eyeliner. Thalia is a lot like Percy and they clash often. She is afraid of heights, which Percy finds ironic as her father is Zeus is Lord of the Sky. She replaces Zoë Nightshade as the lieutenant for the Hunters of Artemis so as to allow the Great Prophecy to land on Percy's shoulders and not hers.
- Annabeth Chase - fourteen years old, daughter of Athena. She is kidnapped when the rescue operation for both the di Angelos and Grover goes wrong, and is forced to take on the burden of the sky.
- Grover Underwood - A large-hearted satyr, whose favorite foods include aluminum cans and cheese enchiladas. He wants to look for Pan, the satyr god of nature and the wild, who fell into a deep sleep due to the humans' pollution of his domain.
- Nico di Angelo - Half-blood son of Hades; ten years old but he is technically eighty years old. He and his sister Bianca were trapped in the Lotus Hotel and Casino. He has black hair, dark eyes, and olive-toned skin. He also is slightly obsessed with a battle-based card game called "Mythomagic", but loses the obsession by the end of the book.
- Chiron - A centaur that is immortal for as long as he is needed to teach heroes, trainer of demigods, assistant director of Camp Half Blood. Chiron is a son of Kronos. Chiron almost dies in a myth.
- Dionysus - God of wine, disgruntled director of Camp Half-Blood. He intentionally never gets anyone's name correct.
- Kronos - A Titan condemned to Tartarus. He is being resurrected through a gold sarcophagus. He is not only the father of Zeus, Poseidon and Hades, but of Chiron as well.
- Poseidon - God of the Sea. He has black hair and green-sea eyes, Percy's father. Described as taking the form of a man in khaki shorts, a Hawaiian shirt, and a nautical hat.
- Ares - God of War. Ares puts a curse on Percy which would cause Percy's sword to fail him when he will need it the most. This curse takes effect at the end of The Titan's Curse when Percy battles Atlas on Mt. Tam.
- Aphrodite - Goddess of Love and Beauty.
- Apollo - God of the Sun, Medicine, and Prophecy. He drives a sun vehicle that, though is most often a Maserati Spyder, can change with the push of a button. Apollo had recently traveled to Japan, and creates terrible haikus often.
- Artemis - She saves Percy and his friends from Dr. Thorn but fails to prevent Annabeth from being captured by Dr. Thorn. She later sends the Hunters to Camp Half-Blood while she goes on hunting on the Ophiotaurus alone and is kidnapped in the process. The goal of the quest is for her and Annabeth to be rescued. She later declares Percy and his companions as heroes in the Olympus.
- Atlas - The Titan that once held up the sky. Father of Zoë Nightshade and General of the Titans. He gets trapped under the sky again by Percy Jackson and Artemis. The book's main antagonist.
- Bianca di Angelo - Half-blood daughter of Hades; twelve years old, but is technically eighty-two years old. She and her brother Nico were trapped in Lotus Hotel and Casino. She joins the Hunters of Artemis, but is killed in the quest to save Artemis. Her death greatly upsets Nico, who is quick to blame Percy.
- Zoë Nightshade - Daughter of Atlas. Zoë is the lieutenant and the oldest member of the Hunters of Artemis (she states that she has led the hunt for 2,000 years). She is over hundreds of years old, but still looks approximately 14 due to her immortality. She is turned into a constellation by Artemis when she dies, so that she would forever live in the stars and be honored by the world.
- Dr. Thorn - A manticore who works for Kronos. He has a French accent and has heterochromia (his eyes have different colors).
- Bessie the Ophiotaurus - A male, mistakenly named Bessie by Percy, who originally thought he was female. He is a legendary creature with the front half of a brown baby cow and the back end of a serpent. He becomes attached to Percy after being saved from a fishing net. It is said that whoever sacrifices the Ophiotaurus and burns the entrails as an offering will have the power to destroy Olympus.
- Skeleton Warriors - They are monsters who were formed from ancient dragon teeth after Atlas plants them in soil and waters them in blood.
- Nemean Lion - The lion that Hercules slayed as one of his tasks. Once slain, its pelt becomes a coat protecting the wearer from harm.
- Erymanthian Boar - An animal sent as a gift from Pan.
- Talos - A smaller version of Hephaestus's Talos.
- Ladon - The dragon that guards the Golden Apples of the Hesperides. Ladon was supposedly raised by Zoe as she tried to make him remember how she fed him by hand. Ladon is very fast and agile for his size. He is precise when attacking as shown when he snaps Zoe's side and poisons her. Percy describes his body as "thick as a booster rocket, glinting with coppery scales. He had more heads than I could count, as if a hundred deadly pythons had been fused together. He appeared to be asleep. The heads lay curled in a big spaghetti-like mound on the grass, all the eyes closed."
- Bianca di Angelo - Sacrificed herself to defeat Talos, a giant robot forged by Hephaestus. Talos was brought to life when Bianca took a Mythomagic figurine for her brother Nico, which depicted their father, Hades.
- Zoë Nightshade - The Lieutenant of the Hunters. Poisoned from a bite from the dragon, Ladon, and is dealt with the killing blow by her father, Atlas.
- The Titan's Curse is the only book in which a date is paired up with the day of the week (December 21, 2007 was a Friday).
- When Dr. Thorn, the manticore, manages to drive Percy and friends to the edge of a cliff, a number of mortal soldiers reinforce him. It is unknown which outfit they belong to (although the black helicopter accompanying them that was blown into ravens by Artemis may suggest a connection to Academi, a likely candidate due to its bloody activities in Iraq), when their contract with Atlas ended, or even what persona was used by Atlas to buy their services, but this is the only book in which they make an appearance.
- The "dam" joke is mentioned again in The Mark of Athena.
- When Percy decides to send his first Iris Message from the new fountain in Poseidon's cabin, he wonders if it would be possible to contact a god like that and says he has never tried if before, even though he has already used this mean of communication to reach Dionysus in The Sea of Monsters.
- A graphic novel adaptation was released on October 8th, 2013, the same day The House of Hades was released.
- Dionysus briefly alludes to the story of Bellerophon when he threatens to throw Percy "off [this] building, minus the flying horse..." In the myth, Bellerophon tried ascending to Mount Olympus using the original Pegasus, but was struck down by Zeus for his hubris. Pegasus, however, reached Olympus and was made the carrier of Zeus' lightning bolts. Fittingly, both Percy and Bellerophon were sons of Poseidon.
- ↑ I Learn How to Grow Zombies - pg 117, UK edition