Riordan Wiki
RRP portal.png Not part of Riordanverse

This book or series is published under Rick Riordan Presents and its contents is not canon to the Riordanverse.

Ballad & Dagger is the first book in the Outlaw Saints duology by Daniel José Older published under Rick Riordan Presents in 2022.

This article is written from a real world point of view.


Ballad & Dagger introduces readers to Mateo Matisse, born in San Madrigal, an island in the Caribbean that for centuries provided a refuge for pirates, Sephardic Jews fleeing the Inquisition, and Cuban Santeros. After the island is destroyed by a freak hurricane, a vibrant diaspora emerges in Brooklyn. Fifteen years later, Mateo, now a teen and a piano prodigy, lives with his two aunts—one alive, the other a spirit. While he is playing the piano at the San Madrigal Grande Fete, a raucous annual party, gods and magical creatures appear, resulting in street battles breaking out between the three neighborhood factions. During the melee, Mateo discovers that he has healing abilities. One person seems to know what's going on: Chela Hidalgo, the rabbi's daughter, who, like Mateo, possesses newly discovered secret powers. Mateo and Chela set aside their differences to unravel the mystery behind their sunken homeland and to stop a dangerous political operative who's trying to harness their powers to unleash a whole new terror on the world.



  • Was previously mislabeled as "Mateo Matisse: Lullaby for a Lost Island", but it was announced on February 18 2021 as Ballad & Dagger.
  • The book is based on the author's own experiences as a Cuban-Jewish man, Santeria priest of 10 years, protest medic, and music lover.
Outlaw Saints
Books: Ballad & Dagger
Main Characters: Mateo Matisse | Chela Hidalgo
Minor Characters:
Related Content: Daniel José Older | Rick Riordan Presents
Rick Riordan Presents
Pandava Quintet: Aru Shah and the End of Time | Aru Shah and the Song of Death | Aru Shah and the Tree of Wishes | Aru Shah and the City of Gold
Storm Runner Trilogy: The Storm Runner | The Fire Keeper | The Shadow Crosser
Throne of Sand Duology: Throne of Sand
Sal & Gabi Duology: Sal & Gabi Break the Universe | Sal & Gabi Fix the Universe
Tristan Strong Trilogy: Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky | Tristan Strong Destroys the World | Tristan Strong Keeps Punching
Paola Santiago series: Paola Santiago and the River of Tears | Paola Santiago and the Forest of Nightmares | Paola Santiago and the Sanctuary of Shadows
The Gifted Clans series: The Last Fallen Star | The Last Fallen Moon | The Last Fallen Realm
Serwa Boateng series: Serwa Boateng's Guide to Vampire Hunting
Outlaw Saints: Ballad & Dagger
Winston Chu Duology: Winston Chu Versus the Whimsies
Moko Magic Duology: Moko Magic
Stand Alone Novels: Dragon Pearl | Race to the Sun | City of the Plague God | Pahua and the Soul Stealer
Others: The Cursed Carnival and Other Calamities: New Stories About Mythic Heroes