Carter Kane, along with his sister and their trainees, must awaken the Sun God in five days to stop the Apophis from destroying the world. Carter Kane and his sister have taken over training new magicians in Brooklyn in preparation for the return of Apophis. Apophis, the lord of chaos, is a giant snake who plans to consume the sun the morning of the winter solstice. Only the return of Ra, the Sun God, can stop him.
Carter and Sadie must collect the three scrolls of the Book of Ra to awaken him. The first resides at the Brooklyn Museum. Drafting two of their students, Jaz and Walt, the group infiltrates the museum. They find the scroll but are attacked by spirits from the Duat, the Egyptian Underworld. The group manage to fight them off, but Jaz overuses her powers and falls into a coma. A griffin is born from the first scroll and carries the four back to their training house.
That night, Sadie has a vision of a Russian magician named Menshikov plotting to destroy their home. Carter also has a vision that if they continue to try to awaken Ra, the other Gods may attack them. Despite this knowledge, Sadie insists that she return to London to celebrate her thirteenth birthday with her friends. When she arrives she finds that her grandparents have been possessed by the Gods of Baboons and Vultures. These two chase Sadie and her friends across London. Sadie goes to a graveyard to ask Anubis, God of Death, for help. Anubis gives her a knife and tells her the second scroll of the Book of Ra is in Menshikov's home. Unable to manifest outside of places of death, Anubis can be of no further help. The kids are rescued by Bes, the Dwarf God, who is so loud and ugly he has the power to scare away other Gods.
Carter casts a spell to see how Sadie is doing, but when the spell shows disaster he races to London. He arrives in time to find Sadie and Bes perfectly safe. The three travel to St. Petersburg and steal the scroll from Menshikov. Menshikov summons a poisonous snake who wounds Carter before they manage to escape.
With some otherworldly help, Carter finds out the home village of a magician he has fallen in love with named Zia. Determined to save her, He and Bes travel to the destroyed village. Sadie rejoins with Walt to find the third scroll. When Carter finds the girl, she is imprisoned in a water sarcophagus and has no memory of him. She attacks him believing him to be a traitor. Menshikov arrives and joins the attack on Carter and Bes. Walt and Sadie come to their rescue and the group moves to Cairo. Zia is convinced by Sadie to aid them in their quest. She stays with Carter in Cairo while Sadie and Walt continue searching for the third scroll. They find it amongst a legion of Roman mummies, who immediately attack. Walt manages to fight them off, and Sadie learns that he is cursed to die young.
Walt and Zia return to Brooklyn to defend the house from the oncoming forces of Menshikov while Carter and Sadie begin a journey through the Duat. They must retrace the steps of the Sun God's journey through night in order to awaken him. They find his body in a retirement home in the Duat and revive him. They bring him with them on their boat ride through the Lake of Fire. When they arrive at the prison that contains Apophis, they are forced to battle Menshikov once again. This time they prove victorious and manage to return the Sun God to his throne.
When the group arrive back in Brooklyn, the battle for their home is in full swing. They join the fight and eventually triumph. The power of Ra is transferred to Zia, and feeling the warmth of the power is enough to awaken Jaz from her coma. The group find out that they've only delayed the arrival of Apophis, and get the Gods and magicians to pledge to fight for their cause.
Best part of story, including ending:
This story does an especially good job of showing character growth. Carter and Sadie are becoming the heroes that destiny demands, and Riordan does an amazing job of taking us through their struggles to fulfill their destinies. It helps build empathy for the characters, without ever making them seem too powerful.
Best scene in story:
My favorite scene is when the Kanes find Ra in the retirement home. This whole book Ra has been portrayed as a powerful God who will save the world from Chaos. However, when the kids find him he is a feeble old man who talks to himself. The disappointment is palpable as the kids struggle to return him to his throne.
Opinion about the main character:
Carter has shown real growth in the series. He was never sure of himself, but with the support of his family and friends he has overcome so much. His confidence is built through the series and he is being molded into the leader of the group. Watching him grow in strength is especially rewarding in this novel.