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The Serpent's Shadow (The Kane Chronicles, #3), by Rick Riordan

Updated on November 21, 2015

"The Serpent's Shadow" opens three months after "The Throne of Fire" ended. The population of Brooklyn House is still growing, and Felix is no longer the youngest member of the Fifty-first Nome. That honor is held by Shelby, a kindergartner with a lot of magical skill and the heart of a warrior. The kids of the Fifty-first Nome (except for Carter, who has opted to continue to be home schooled) are also now attending a day school, the Brooklyn Academy for the Gifted (which leads to lots puns involving the word "bag") in an effort to give them some normalcy as they await the end of the world. Fortunately, being magicians gives them a leg up on the proof of their giftedness.

The kids of the Fifty-first Nome have been told that there are several copies of "The Book of Overcoming Apophis" that may contain the secret to defeating the Lord of Chaos. Carter and Sadie and their crew arrive in Dallas to retrieve the final copy from a Tutankhamun exhibit. They arrive just ahead of Apophis's minions. However, the kids are unable to defeat them and the final copy is destroyed. All is not lost, however. A face that Sadie sees in a wall tells her that it can help them, and they would be well served to take the small golden shrine from the exhibit.

And so begins their new quest -- to find another way to forestall the rise of Apophis. Along the way, they also need to find a way to restore Bes, who lost his ren to Khonsu in "The Throne of Fire" and is now living at Sunny Acres, and find out what is happening to Zia, who is beginning to have blackouts.

The face is also correct that the shrine from Tutankhamun's exhibit, technically a naos, though that word is not used in the book, will give them a hint about how to accomplish their goals. The shrine contains one of Tutankhamun's souls -- his sheut, or shadow.

They also have to find the owner of the face that Sadie saw at the Brooklyn Museum and get the help he promised, which may be not so helpful. The face belongs to Khaemwaset, also known as Setne, a magician from the 19th dynasty. He is a tricky customer who has escaped his judgment many times, fooling both gods and other magicians through the ages.

While we return to Memphis, to visit Thoth (and eat barbecue) and visit Dallas at the opening of the book, most of the travel is, once again, in Egypt. We visit Sais, both in the present day and in a shadow of the past. We also visit the Serapeum in Saqqara (which was designed by Setne) and, of course, we visit Cairo and the pyramids (both above- and below-ground), which are the home of the First Nome.

Riordan ties up the series neatly, if a little bittersweetly, in the end. I have a weird theory about where at least some of the characters of "The Kane Chronicles" might go next, given the way the book ends. I do, however, very much look forward to seeing Sadie, Carter, Zia, and the rest of the kids of the Fifty-first Nome, wherever Riordan ends up taking them.

As I write this, we are waiting for the release of "The Serpent's Shadow" in paperback, which will come with a "Kane Chronicles"/Percy Jackson crossover short story, "The Son of Sobek." As I already own a hard copy of the hardcover, I am going to wait until June and buy the audiobook of "The Son of Sobek," which is narrated by Riordan himself. I don't know if I will be able to make a full book review out of it, so I may tack the review of "The Son of Sobek" onto this review when I get finished with it.


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