The formerly glorious god Apollo, cast down to earth in punishment by Zeus, is now an awkward mortal teenager named Lester Papadopoulos. In order to regain his place on Mount Olympus, Lester must restore five Oracles that have gone dark. But he has to achieve this impossible task without having any godly powers and while being duty-bound to a confounding young daughter of Demeter named Meg. Thanks a lot, Dad.
With the help of some demigod friends, Lester managed to survive his first two trials, one at Camp Half-Blood, and one in Indianapolis, where Meg received the Dark Prophecy. The words she uttered while seated on the Throne of Memory revealed that an evil triumvirate of Roman emperors plans to attack Camp Jupiter. While Leo flies ahead on Festus to warn the Roman camp, Lester and Meg must go through the Labyrinth to find the third emperor—and an Oracle who speaks in word puzzles—somewhere in the American Southwest. There is one glimmer of hope in the gloom-filled prophecy: The cloven guide alone the way does know. They will have a satyr companion, and Meg knows just who to call upon…
The cover and excerpt of the first chapter of this book was released on January 17th, 2018.
Apollo, Meg McCaffrey, and Grover Underwood had been navigating through the Labyrinth for two days. In three days, Camp Jupiter would be attacked by Triumvirate Holdings on the night of the new moon. The trio comes across a narrow passage and barely miss a blast of fire, meaning they’re getting close. They then encounter—and are chased by—strixes; owl-like creatures who eat human flesh and curse anyone who kills them. Upon reaching a large circular chamber, Meg and Grover manage to hold most of them off with tomato plants, but one breaks free and manages to paralyze Apollo. Grover, who can talk to animals, tries to make peace with the strix; but it replies that the emperor commanded them to eat them. Meg accidentally kills that strix by sending it flying into the brick wall. She and Grover then strengthen the tomato barrier and duct tape Apollo to Grover's back. During the climb, Apollo takes the Arrow of Dodona out for advice about the strixes. Meg tries and fails to summon Peaches to help fight, and the strixes manage to break the tomato barrier. The arrow says that they can be repelled with pig entrails and "arbutus". Grover suddenly summons Panic, which he was given from Pan, causing the strixes to flee. Meg got paralyzed from the waist down but Apollo is feeling better, enough to walk without Grover's assistance. The top of the chamber is a domed ceiling, and Grover claims that it looks familiar. He and Meg realize that arbutus plants resemble strawberries. The strixes are returning leading Meg to plant her seeds on the ramp. Grover and Apollo use music to make them explode like fireworks, which the strixes hate. Suddenly, the chamber begins to rumble as the strawberries break through the dome, flooding the chamber with sunlight, which kills the strixes. Apollo, Meg, and Grover use them as a trampoline to get out. Apollo gives Meg ambrosia for the paralysis, and they head towards Grover's base.
In a dream, Apollo sees a young woman chained over a pool of lava. Speaking similar to the way crossword puzzle hints are written, she apologizes to someone and says Apollo must come to save her even though she knows it is a trap. After the woman dissolves into flames, the dream transitions to a terrace near the Gulf of Naples at night. A muscular man approaches a younger man, referring to him as Princeps. The first man has just killed someone by asphyxiating them with a pillow, and the younger man responds, claiming the "old pig" deserved it as he's been waiting for his death for years. When the Princeps steps into the moonlight, Apollo recognizes him, noting that he was handsome, but horribly evil.
Apollo wakes up on a tarp in the desert near twilight. He realizes that he and Meg have been unconscious for hours. They are currently on the outskirts of Palm Springs, and the nearby ruins are part of Grover and his "others'" base. Meg seems to have been here before; claiming to be unhappy to be here "again". Grover brings them to the ruins of an old greenhouse. There, they meet Prickly Pear, Aloe Vera, and Joshua, who are all dryads. They all then head into the Cistern, an underground chamber, where Mellie, a cloud nymph, is taking care of a baby satyr named Chuck. Mellie wants Apollo and Grover to find her husband, Gleeson Hedge, as he had left a while ago and still has not returned.
Finding the store takes forever, because Grover keeps getting sidetracked. Night falls, the western horizon glows ominously from flames, smoke blots out the stars. Apollo remembers the wave of flames in the Labyrinth. Despite his fuzzy memories, Apollo was sure that woman was the Erythraean Sibyl, the next Oracle he has to free from the emperors. Grover explains that the flames are the cause of the natural disasters, fires have been gathering in the Labyrinth underneath Southern California like an infection. It obviously unnatural and it's killing Grover's friends, he feels bad that Pan faded, he could've stopped this. Grover thinks the emperor is responsible for this but all he knows is that he uses the name Neos Helios (Greek for New Sun), it's being referred to as the Burning Maze. The heroes stop at a major intersection, across the boulevard is a warehouse store with a sign: MACRO’S MILITARY MADNESS! The parking lot is empty except for Hedge's car.
Apollo and Grover head into the store, the satyr doesn't smell any monsters. As predicted, Gleeson Hedge was in the firearms section, whistling as he stuffed his shopping trolley with rifle scopes and barrel brushes. The store manager tricks Apollo into telling him that he is the god who's now human. It turns out that all the employees are automatons, they replaced the emperor's original guards but were then replaced by human mercenaries, strixes and "big ears". The manager is revealed to be Naevius Sutorius Macro, praetor who used to serve the emperor. He wants to capture Apollo so that he gets into the emperor’s good graces, he was the stronger man in the dream who killed emperor Tiberius. Macro reveals that the west emperor's full name is Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, upon hearing this Apollo tells Grover and Coach Hedge to run. But Gleeson charged at Macro in an attempt to kill him, luckily Apollo pulls Hedge away and they ran down an aisle trying to escape. Grover gets separated in the confusion. They try to get out the front doors after Coach Hedge executed a perfect roundhouse kick at Macro, but the doors are locked. Grover knocked over a canoeing display and temporarily immobilizes the Praetor. They head to the back room and barricade the door and try desperately to open the back door. Grover notices more automatons and tells Apollo to activate them. When they are all online, Apollo "accidentally" activates Plan Twenty-Three, and, as soon as Macro breaks down the door, the automatons surround him and his employees and start to steam and heat up. Grover realizes the automatons thought he ordered a different plan, Plan Petersburg instead of Plan Thermopylae, and they start to self destruct. The two satyrs get the door open and pull out Apollo before the store explodes with Macro.
They land in a dumpster, and overhear Incitatus, a English speaking horse belonging to the third emperor, whom Macro called earlier. "Big C" gets mad when his horse suggests that the ruins of Aeithales may not have been taken care of, Incitatus leaves after the police arrive. After returning to the cistern and meeting a dryad named Reba, Apollo announces that the emperor is remembered by history as Caligula.
After discussing the emperor and the Dark Prophecy, Grover decides to drive Apollo and Meg in Hedge's mustard yellow 1979 Ford Pinto coupe to Malibu the next morning. They hope to find friends of Percy Jackson who know how to get through the maze: Piper McLean and Jason Grace. That night, Meg reveals that her father, Phillip McCaffrey, actually built Aeithales. She gave Apollo a vision of him playing with his daughter and plants, he shows her seeds that will be planted only when the time comes. But when the scene shifts, Phillip was on the phone hearing that his property is being taken away. The scene after that shows Aeithales getting burned down, Apollo realizes that Caligula was responsible.
On the way to Piper's mansion, Apollo remembers how he gave the Erythraean Sibyl, Herophile, the gift of prophecies. Upon arriving, they see moving trucks parked outside and Tristan McLean, looking bedraggled and stunned, pacing at the end of their driveway. Apollo and his friends engage in a short conversation with him, then enter the mansion. They find Piper at the end of the fireplace, then as Piper recognizes Grover and hears the recounting of their previous adventures, she invites them to the terrace for a private conversation. She fills them in on what she knows about the maze and the previous attempt she made with Jason to find the heart of the maze. From the way she says Jason's name, Apollo and Meg deduce that Jason and Piper have broken up, and Piper verbally jabs them about it explaining that "things change." Meg peeks at the legal documents covering the desks, and Piper proceeds to explain how Caligula has been working for years, spending tens of millions of dollars to ruin her dad, destroying everything-her dad's credit, assets, reputation, all the studios, etc. She mentions how Mellie spotted the trouble and tried to prevent it but was too late, Jane among others were in on the plan. After some more chatter, they get to the subject of how Meg's life was also ruined by an emperor and Piper embraces the younger girl. Finally, Apollo gets to the point of why they're here, and Piper grabs her weapons - Katoptris, and a blowgun with poison darts, "borrows" a car from her neighbor, Mr. Bedrossian, and they set off for the maze.
Piper takes them to the entrance to the Burning Maze in the Hall of Records near Grand Park in downtown L.A.. At the sight of a Big Ears, Piper warns them to get down, then she shoots the guard with a blow dart with her Grandpa Tom's family secret poison recipe. The guard topples, paralyzed. They make their way into the maze, until they find Agave and Money Maker, who are nature spirits from Aeithales and a search party sent by Grover. They are both very weak Money Maker more so than Agave. Grover helps them back out to tend to them with sunlight and water. Apollo, Meg, and Piper continue on into the maze. They talk about how Piper and Jason were separated the last time they came here, and speculating that Jason found the Oracle. Piper and Apollo bounce thoughts off each other, confirming that the sorceress in the Burning Maze is in fact Medea, the sorceress whom Piper encountered in Chicago during the quest to free Hera.
As they figure it out, Medea herself rides around the corner of a passageway on a chariot pulled by her Sun Dragons - Phil and Don. Piper and Medea charmspeak battle, Medea trying to persuade them to give up, Piper countering her. Medea taunts Apollo until he discovers that Caligula has had the same goal since his rule during the Roman Empire: to literally become the New Sun, replacing Apollo as the god of the sun. Apollo also comprehends that the flames in the Burning Maze are actually the essence of Helios, summoned and controlled by Medea. Medea uses charmspeak, trying to get Meg to give up Apollo, but Piper again counters, telling Meg to decide for herself. Meg's stubborn personality wins over, and she denies Medea. Medea charges, but Piper throws her dagger into the left dragon's eye. This causes the dragons to veer off, dragging Medea away and gives them time to quickly discuss how to defeat Medea. In the distance, Medea gets her dragons under control, turning her chariot around to reengage. Meg gives herself earplugs by growing bluebonnet seeds in her ear canals. Medea tries charmspeak again but Meg ignores it. Piper's charmspeak causes one dragon to stop while the other is urged on by Medea's charmspeak. The result is chaos, as Meg beheads both Sun Dragons, releasing an intense blast of heat. Medea incapacitates Apollo with a ventus and throws Meg against a wall, knocking her out. Medea reveals that Jason found a way to the oracle but the only way to get to her is by wearing Caligula’s shoes. Piper stalls, buying time for them to recover, and challenges Medea to a battle, "woman to woman". They taunt each other some more, then Medea accepts her challenge, on the condition that they only get one weapon. Piper chooses Katoptris, and Medea announces that she chooses Helios, the Titan of the Sun. She unleashes a maelstrom of fire and heat, forcing Piper back. Meg becomes conscious, and yells at Apollo to consult the Arrow of Dodona, which tells them to use the blowgun. Apollo relays the information to Piper, and while Medea is occupied by Meg, Piper snipes Medea, scoring a hit, and Medea laughs at the blowgun, ridicules the poison, then topples over, warning them that she wasn't summoning Helios-she was holding him back. Apollo understands what that means, and yells for them to run. A few moments later, the parking lot goes supernova. They make it out, and Grover uses healing tunes to keep them alive until they reach Aeithales, where Aloe Vera finishes healing them.
Apollo has a dream where Nero and Python are talking at Delphi. Python cannot believe that Apollo is still alive, but Nero insists that he will die as soon as his great-uncle gets the former god's power, Meg will also return to them. Python did promise to back Nero but he's thinking about changing his mind if Caligula's plan succeeds, the Grove of Dodona is under control of Camp Half-Blood and the Cave of Trophonius has been destroyed. Nero promises he will keep his end of the bargain, Python says the next few days should be very instructive.
After Apollo wakes up with a gasp, a conference is held in Aeithales. The heroes settle on a plan: Steal Caligula's shoes so they can navigate the maze. The problem being that they don't know where Caligula is. Piper recalls that Jason knew and they set off for Edgarton Day and Boarding School. Piper charmspeaks the teachers and staff, letting Jason out of class and they discuss things in his dorm room. Jason reports that the facility has been infiltrated: he has already slain a blemmyae who was his AP Calculus teacher, and he believes the humanities teacher is an empousa. Apollo proceeds to explain everything since their time in Indianapolis. Jason shows them his "project", a mini replica of New Rome with all his improvements and shrines for minor gods like Kymopoleia. Then Piper interrupts, getting them back onto the topic of the Burning Maze. Jason tells them some information that he'd held back - the things Apollo already knew from his dream - that the Maze itself was a trap for Apollo, that Jason and Piper couldn't do anything, and that Apollo has to be the one to rescue the sybil. If they themselves tried, it would be "too dangerous". Piper laughs at that, and mentions Medea in passing. They explain this problem to Jason and then Piper goes to the office to bust Jason out, taking Meg along just in case the empousa decides to attack them. Jason then reveals to Apollo that the Sybil also told him that, if Jason and Piper went to find the emperor, one of them would "three letter word, starts with 'd'". In other words, one would die. Jason also makes him promise that since he and Piper are going after Caligula with Apollo, if Jason is the one to die, Apollo would take his designs to New Rome. He also extracts another promise from Apollo - to remember his human experiences after he retains his place on Olympus. After they rejoin Piper and Meg and head off to find the emperor in Santa Barbara, Jason admits there was more to the prophecy, and tells Piper. Nevertheless, Piper and Jason agree to not let each other die.
It is now the night of the new moon. After reaching the Stearns Wharf at Santa Barbara, our heroes are eating some fish tacos, when Jason spots a huge boat on the horizon, with two helicopters on it, and a small submarine on the side. Then a second identical yacht appears, then a third, until dozens of yachts form a line across the harbor: the Bridge of Boats. Apollo explains that Caligula rode across a similar pontoon bridge near Baiae to prove what a Roman astrologer said wrong regarding him becoming emperor. Several mortals notice but they probably all work for the emperor, Meg says that even Nero doesn't have that much influence. The heroes decide to go to the middle boat despite Apollo and Jason disagreeing on how strong it is, but searchlights light up from the boats and small patrol boats crisscrossed the harbor. Strixes will be coming soon, owls are evil in the Cherokee stories too so Piper is scared as well. She charmspeaks three men in a boat (one using the searchlight, one with the engine, and one carrying an assault rifle) to accept a bribe so they can buy dinner at the docks for themselves. She also steals their outfits, weapons, and communication devices for herself and her friends.
Upon reaching the yacht, they discovered it's named JULIA DRUSILLA XXVI. Julia Drusilla was Caligula's younger sister, he loved her so much that died at a very young age from that suffocating love. All of the yachts are named after her, they have to search them quickly for Caligula's shoes before they're detected. Jason flies everyone up. Once onboard, Apollo tells Meg about how Zeus made him mortal the first time because Zeus was angry that Apollo had killed the cyclops that made his lighting bolts as revenge for Zeus killing his son, Asclepius. This makes Meg kick him in the shin saying that was dumb, Apollo compares this to her anger towards Caligula instead of Nero. They are then surrounded by more "Big Ears" holding khandas, the actual name of the race is pandai. Two archer ones then come and attack Jason and Piper, only the Pandai were around them, there weren't any alarms. The largest pandos guard named Amax explains that they can hear the lies Apollo is telling, but he is very surprised the Meg is Nero's stepdaughter. The archers, Timbre and Crest, are told to steady their weapons, Peak is the fourth pandos who helps take them all below for interrogations. Near some heavy oak doors, a human mercenary named Florence and a Cyclops named Grunk open them into a surprisingly nice room, one of the paintings was from Piper's house. When they reached the lounge, each hero was shoved into a plush chair. Apollo first attempts the pandai to join him for being such great archers but they are not interested in the Olympians. Crest actually likes music but the other pandai chose to follow Caligula and won't stab him to death like the germani. Meg suddenly kills Amax and Peak with her scimitars, Jason uses lightning to kill Timbre, Crest was actually the pandos from L.A. and Apollo spares him. He unintentionally uses the arrow of Dodona to shoot Grunk dead. Apollo and Piper decide to go to boat forty-three for the shoes while Meg and Jason take care of the emperor.
Pandai and strixes were flying above to see what that lightning was, but the ships were lightly guarded. They go through boats with a water park, spa, and literal moveable feast. On boat thirty-one, they were about to be ambushed by human mercenaries and cyclopes. Piper suddenly began to sang Joe Walsh's ‘Life of Illusion’, Apollo joined her with his ukulele, everyone just stood there letting the heroes pass. Boat forty is a huge wardrobe without shoes, Piper reveals that her dad put the song on when he got his first acting career. Regarding Jason, Apollo remembers the time he dated Grand Duchess Tatiana Romanov but Piper assures him that their relationship was only because of Hera, and Aphrodite was pushing her. The next boats are a lingerie department and a regular yacht. On Julia Drusilla XLIII, Apollo plays Tiny Tim's 'Tiptoe through the Tulips' causing Wah-Wah and the other pandai to force them to reveal the location of the caligae. Lots of shoe pairs were on tons of pedestals, Apollo and Piper couldn't decide which one to take, but they see leather sandals in the corner of the room. Suddenly, Crest arrives wanting Apollo to teach him how to play the C minor six tri-chord because Meg and Jason have already been captured by the emperor. Then Incitatus appears and attacks the trio, some pandai tied them onto his back so they can be taken to the emperor. Apollo was going to attack but Incitatus warns him not to, as he can feel it. He reveals that Medea will put Apollo in chains and flay his human form to extract his remaining godly essence, with that combined Caligula will become the new sun god. After that, he intends to overthrow the human race and institute a government by and for horses.
After witnessing several boats damaged by Jason and Meg, the trio is taken to the twelfth. In the throne is Caligula on his dais, Medea, and Reverb with twelve other pandai. Jason and Meg were trapped in Medea's swirling columns of wind with glittering shrapnel. The emperor has some pandai wake Piper up, after that he taunts Apollo but Medea is getting tired of controlling her wind. Reverb is told to cut Wah-Wah's heart out for not having stopped Apollo before, but Crest is spared because Caligula finds him harmless and amusing. Then he taunts all three of the demigods and reveals that the seeds Phillip McCaffrey will reincarnate the "blood-born/silver wives". Piper attempts to use charmspeak but is knocked out by Caligula, Apollo fails to attack as well. The emperor says he didn't have it all bad because he wasn't a god from the start like Apollo. Before Medea can kill Meg and Jason, Apollo pulls out the arrow of Dodona threatening to kill himself. Caligula actually grows worried because if he's dead Medea can't extract his magic, he wants him to stop saying he doesn't play games like Commodus, Jason was now meditating. A pandos named Flange comes in and reveals that the attack on Camp Jupiter that night has failed, Caligula kills him as a result. Another pandos named Boost spreads the word around the other ships that they're sailing north to the Bay Area. Apollo quickly stabs himself but misses his heart, Caligula and Medea desperately try to extract the magic, using that time, Jason made the cages of venti explode. Luckily, no one was hurt by the blast of shrapnel, except Meg who was sent flying out of the yacht. Apollo has Crest rescue her, Jason draws his gladius and summons Tempest, ready to fight Caligula on Incitatus. Medea disappears before Piper can fight her, pandai have arrived and are now shooting arrows at Jason while he's controlling thunderstorms. After he yells "GO! Remember!" Jason Grace is stabbed in the back with Caligula's golden spear and dies. He falls off Tempest who carries Apollo and Piper to safety, Piper is devastated and seething with rage.
The two get dropped off at the beach at the McLean's Malibu house, Meg McCaffrey and Crest are there too. Tempest leaves to go check on Jason and comes back with his corpse. Piper McLean demands that Apollo fixes him using the Physician's Cure, her Cherokee stories, or the Doors of Death, but Apollo says none of them will work. Tristan McLean arrives and, upon seeing Jason's body, thinks that Jason died in a surfing accident and makes attempts to call 9-1-1. However, all the phones are down with the exception of Crest's so with Apollo's help, he calls 9-1-1. Piper is very furious and understandably upset about their situation, and in her anger, screams at Apollo to "just GO!" Apollo believes that Jason's tragedy was his fault, he begins to think that if he had never bothered Jason and Piper, this would never have happened. Apollo and Meg then leave for Palm Springs in Gleeson's car with Crest. He compliments her on her work at Aeithales. At the Cistern, Apollo reveals that he has retrieved the boots, but at the cost of Jason's life. Gleeson Hedge blames himself and leaves with his family, and Grover remembers almost losing Thalia Grace, Jason's sister. A dryad named Cholla hears that Crest is here for music lessons and that he helped the heroes on the yacht, he knows a way to the oracle. The dryads begin to heal all the injured, as they plan for their next action.
Before they leave, Meg finds and plants the seeds her father gave her. Joshua explains that the Meliai Caligula mentioned were born from the blood of Ouranos when he was chopped up by Kronos, they married humans who lived during the Silver Age, and gave birth to the race of the Bronze Age. This explains why Caligula burned Aeithales down and sent Meg in the care of Nero. In the red Mercedes XLS, Grover drives Apollo, Meg and Crest through the Morongo Valley. During the ride, Apollo teaches Crest music, he reveals his mother sent him to work for Caligula. The car stops at the old Los Angeles Zoo, the human abandoned it decades ago and built the new zoo. The entrance is supposed to be in a bear pit, but Crest can't find it and blames himself for telling Screamer. Upon remembering the Door of Orpheus, Grover plays Rush’s ‘Tom Sawyer' with his pipes and opens a steep set of rough-hewn stairs.
Down below is a series of chambers, Apollo puts the sandals on and a certain number of glowing gold square tiles appears in each chamber. An inscription in in Ancient Greek appears:
Python-slayer, golden-lyred, armed with arrows of dread.
The group realizes that this is a word puzzle, the answer is Apollo so they go down the path with six squares, the arrow of Dodona tells them the answers will be in English. The next clue appears in English:
Herald of new entrances, opener of the softly gliding year, Janus, of the double.
Janus has to two faces so they go down the path with five squares. The next clue is in Ancient Greek again:
But the highest god, mighty with his thunderbolt, sent Hypnos and his twin from snowy Olympus to the fearless fighter Sarpedon.
Hypnos' twin is Thanatos which is Greek for death, so they go down the path with five squares. To his horror, Apollo realizes they're also putting together a word-puzzle prophecy, and so far they have Apollo faces death but they have to carry on. The next clue is a quote from Ovid in Latin:
Now must I tell of the flight of the king. The last to reign over the Roman people Was a man unjust yet puissant in arms.
Apollo explains that in the very first days of Rome before it became a republic, the city was ruled by kings instead of emperors. The seventh and final king was Lucius Tarquinius Superbus, he was overthrown for his tyranny, so they go down the path with seven squares for Tarquin. The next clue is
Leaves, body-leaves, growing up above me, above death, Perennial roots, tall leaves – O the winter shall not freeze you, delicate leaves.
The answer is tomb because that's how Walt Whitman's poem, Leaves of Grass, start. The next clue appears on a fountain instead of a wall:
Named for Apollo’s fallen love, this flower should be planted in autumn. Set the bulb in the soil with the pointy end up. Cover with soil And water thoroughly ... you are transplanting.
Apollo gets reminded of his former boyfriend, Hyacinthus, but when he runs down the eight squared corridor only six red letters appears. The word is unless, they had to fill in the ..., as a result they all drop into a pit of fire. Meg chews Apollo out as Grover tries to pull them up on a crevice, she uses her scimitar to stab the wall, Apollo allows Grover to let him go. The sun god remembers how he took the place of Helios' throne and Sun Chariot. Apollo lands and the flaming essence of the faded titan is ready to burn him. But Apollo promises him that he will be free once he defeats Medea, Helios wants her dead but the fires raced away.
The heroes reached the room where Herophile is being held captive, the lava is actually the divine ichor of Helios. Floating on the surface of the ichor were large stone tiles, it's a crossword puzzle. During a conversation, Herophile thought they would use the other "Seven letters, ends in Y": Doorway. Then she says she has to talk in puzzles or else she has to be "Nine letters, fifth letter is D": Soundless. Herophile says the hero have to stop Caligula from becoming a "Three letters, middle letter is O": God. Then she says "Some days, I wish prophecy was a present I had never ‘Six letters. Last letter is a D’": Opened. Each answer makes a bridge for the heroes to get to Herophile, after asking for a simple question and answering by, Medea suddenly arrives with two pandai and Crest as their prisoner! When Meg struck the shackles, but they snap onto Apollo. The pandai named Flutter and Decibel want revenge on him for killing Timbre and Peak, all Medea has to do is mix in Apollo's essence while tainting the ichor with Lester Papadopolous' blood, as she begins chanting the ichor glows white. Meg, Grover, and Herophile prepare to attack, Grover keeps playing on his panpipes, Medea decides to have the pandai attack, but plants grow and attack them from the music. Medea summoned a ventus to dump the dying pandai in the ichor, then she prepares to do the same to Apollo's comrades. Apollo can't think straight, Herophile says to use the place he took and that help will arrive, Apollo shouts sixteen lines of words and each appears on floating stone tiles. Crest tries to buy him time by playing music but Medea stabs him just as the prophecy is complete. As Medea prepares to finish them off, Piper McLean stabs her with Katoptris and dumps Medea into the ichor. Around Piper were seven warrior maidens, the Meliai have been born, they obey Meg and loved Grover's music. As Crest turns to dust, Apollo calls him a music god and they will have concert with the nine Muses. Meg realizes that all the lines Apollo said make a acrostic: BELLONA'S DAUGHTER. Piper realizes that it means the senior praetor at Camp Jupiter, Reyna Ramírez-Arellano. Suddenly, the chamber begins to collapse, before they leave Apollo tells Helios that the deed is done, he is much better than Apollo, and he can now rest in peace in the ether of Chaos.
The part of maze they are in begins to crumble when the ichor is gone. When they come back to the bear pit, Incitatus and a dozen pandai surround them outside. The horse reveals that Caligula is currently sailing to Camp Jupiter, Meg has the Dryads quickly kill Incitatus and the pandai.
Piper had to go back her home in Malibu, as she and her father will be leaving for Oklahoma together tomorrow evening with the Hedge family. Herophile tried to play I Spy while driving but everyone was too sombre. But since the Burning Maze is gone, the desert around Palm Springs is now blooming with wildflowers after a rainfall. The Meliai can be rooted somewhere else and Meg decides to leave them and Herophile at Aeithales. Grover Underwood decides to go back to Camp Half-Blood, Juniper probably waiting for him. The only oracle left besides Delphi are the Sibylline Books, they are currently being reconstructed by Ella the harpy. Apollo unlaced the sandals of Caligula and tossed them away.
But then he had a nightmare, the goddess Styx taunted and scolded him at his broken promises, the deaths of Jason Grace and Crest to be exact. Until amends are made, Styx will kill more people close to him due to breaking his vow on her river. However, when Apollo wakes up, the McCaffrey mansion has been regrown! Meg is so happy but she has to go with Apollo for now.
Using the Mercedes Grover left them, they drive to a private airfield near Santa Monica to find Piper McLean and the Hedge family. Ground-crew members were loading the coffin containing Jason Grace on a plane that will take them to the Bay Area, Piper has Jason's temple hill diorama and sketchbooks, the school let her clear his stuff out and she wants Apollo to finish the work he started. Suddenly, Leo Valdez arrives on Festus, he was so happy to see everyone but becomes miserable when he hears about Jason's death, he didn't see him after he died fighting Gaea. Regarding the attack on the new moon, Camp Jupiter suffered major damage and many casualties of good people. But it was stopped and Frank Zhang, Reyna, and Hazel Levesque are okay. Leo decides to take Piper to Tahlequah on his way back to Indianapolis. Apollo and Meg leave on the plane, the former god will remember what it was like to be Lester Papadopoulos.
In the Labyrinth, Herophile guided Apollo to where she was being held through a series of word puzzles. Herophile spouted multiple word puzzles that, combined with the ones leading to her, say the following:
Apollo faces death in Tarquin’s Tomb unless the doorway to the soundless god is opened by...
Upon solving the word puzzles, Grover, Meg and Apollo reached Herophile in her chains. After Meg tried to free her, Apollo began spouting the following lines:
Bronze upon gold
East meets west
Legions are redeemed
Light the depths
One against many
Never spirit defeated
Ancient words spoken
Shaking old foundations
Destroy the tyrant
Aid the winged
Under golden hills
Great stallion’s foal
Harken the trumpets
Turn red tides
Enter stranger’s home
Regain lost glory
While those words illuminated the floor tiles, Meg noticed that they were an acrostic that spelled out "Bellona's Daughter" making the full prophecy the following:
Apollo faces death in Tarquin’s Tomb unless the doorway to the soundless god is opened by Bellona's Daughter.
Unraveling the prophecy
Bellona's daughter refers to Reyna Ramírez-Arellano, the senior praetor of the twelfth legion. It is believed that Apollo would die in the tomb of Lucius Tarquinius "Tarquin" Superbus, the final king of Rome, unless Reyna releases some soundless god.
- Naevius Sutorius Macro
- Medea's Sun Dragons
- Helios (essence)
- Storm Spirit
- Nero (vision)
- Python (vision)
- Empousa (mentioned)
- Phillip McCaffrey (flashback)
- Aloe Vera
- Money Maker
- Prickly Pear
- Once was Apollo/ Now a rat in the Labyrinth/ Send help. And cronuts
- Now I'm a suitcase/ Duct-taped to a satyr's back./ Worst. Morning. Ever.
- Strixes do sucketh/ Yea, verily I tell you/ Much sucking is theirs
- Welcome to my base/ We have rocks, sand, and ruins/ Did I mentions rocks?
- First-aid succulent/ Heal me of my many cuts!/ (But no slime trail, please)
- Random plumes of fire/ Ground squirrels nibble my nerves/ I love the desert
- Family fun packs/ Should be for frozen pizza/ Not for frag grenades
- We blow up some things/ You thought all the things blew up?/ No, we found more things
- Collect call from Horse/ Do you accept the charges?/ Nay-ay-ay-ay-ay
- Cute kid you got there/ With the itty-bitty boots/ And murderous grin
- No touchy the god/ Unless your visions are good/ And you wash your hands
- O, Pinto, Pinto!/ Wherefore art thou puke yellow?/ I'll hide in the back
- Don't move the gas grill/ Meg is still playing with it/ We are so KA-BOOM
- Bedrossian Man/ Bedrossian Man, run as/ Fast as ... yoga pants
- Grover leaves early/ Grover is a smart satyr/ Lester, not so much
- Let's charmspeak battle/ You are ugly and you suck/ The end. Do I win?
- Phil and Don are dead/ Bye-bye, love and happiness/ Hello, headlessness
- Whoa, there, Medea/ Don't be all up in my face/ With your hot granddad
- In my underclothes/ Slathered with grease. Really not/ As fun as it sounds
- O muse, let us now/ Sing in the praise of botanists!/ They do plant stuff. Yay.
- When life gives you seeds/ Plant them in dry rocky soil/ I'm an optimist
- For my school project/ I made this pagan temple/ Monopoly board
- It's a beautiful/ Day in the neighborhood- Wait/ Actually, it's not
- Ah, Santa Barbara!/ Famed for surfing! Fish tacos!/ And crazy Romans!
- All in the same boat/ Wait. Two of us disappeared./ Half in the same boat
- Oh, Florence and Grunk/ La-di-da, something, something/ I'll get back to you
- I can kill you all/ Or I can sing you Joe Walsh/ Really, it's your choice
- Apollo, disguised/ As Apollo, disguised as.../ Nah. Too depressing.
- A horse is a horse/ Of course, of course. and no one/ Can- RUN! HE'LL KILL YOU!
- I'll never leave you/ Love will keep us together/ Or glue. Glue works too
- I give you my heart/ I mean metaphorically/ Put away that knife
- Don't make me do it/ I'm crazy, I'll do it, I'll-/ Ow, that really hurt
- No good news awaits/ I warned you right at the start/ Turn away, reader
- Surfing accident/ My new euphemism for/ Worst evening ever
- If you give a pan-/ dos a ukelele, he/ Will want lessons. DON'T.
- A suspended fourth/ The kind of chord you play just/ Before suddenly-
- Want to play a game?/ It's easy. You take a guess./ Then you burn to death.
- I sing to myself!/ Though Apollo is cooler/ Like way, way cooler
- Noble sacrifice/ I'll protect you from the flames/ Wow, I'm a good guy
- Congratulations/ You finished the word puzzle/ You win... enemies
- Meg sings. It's over./ Everybody just go home/ We are so roasted
- You want prophecy?/ I'll drop some nonsense on you/ Eat my gibberish!
- Favorite chapter/ Because only one bad death/ That is just messed up
- Ha-ha-ha, dryads?/ That's straight from the horse's mouth/ Good-bye, Mr. Horse
- Desert flowers bloom/ Sunset rain sweetens the air/ Time for a game show!
- Second prize: Road trip/ With Bon Jovi on cassette/ First prize: Please, don't ask
- In-flight beverages/ Include the tears of a god/ Please have exact change
- The Dutch and Italian covers have nothing to do with the book.
- The book is dedicated to Melpomene, the Muse of Tragedy, with the quote “I hope you’re pleased with yourself”.
- While The Hidden Oracle does not complete any prophecy, and The Dark Prophecy completes the Limerick Prophecy, The Burning Maze does not complete a prophecy. It merely sees the completion of the second and third verses of the Sonnet Prophecy.
- The Ship of the Dead, the final main book in the Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard series, alludes to the events of this novel: Magnus calls Annabeth Chase, his cousin, to relate some news at the end of the novel, only to notice she's been crying. Annabeth merely tells him she got some bad news when she and Percy arrived in California.
- This is the first main series book since his debut in The Titan's Curse where Nico di Angelo is not seen or mentioned.
- Grover mentions to not have met Reyna, but in The Blood of Olympus, he's seen talking to her along with Rachel.