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A Heroic Homecoming

NEW CLASSIC Rick Riordan has been writing books set in the Percy Jackson universe since 2005. FROM LEFT: COURTESY BECKY RIORDAN; 3D BOOK COVER ILLUSTRATION BY STEPHEN BLUE FOR TIME FOR KIDS

Percy Jackson is back, for his toughest adventure yet. He’s applying to college. The Chalice of the Gods is Rick Riordan’s latest book. It takes place in his sprawling world of modern mythology. It’s his first Percy adventure in 14 years.

“I wasn’t planning on writing another book from Percy’s point of view,” Riordan told TIME for Kids. In 2019, he was pitching a Percy Jackson TV show. It gave him ideas for a new story. “What if I did a thank-you letter to the fans who’ve been waiting so long for this show?” he recalls thinking at the time.

The TV show will air on Disney+ in December. Riordan was on set for it. That’s where he wrote The Chalice of the Gods. The show returned him to the characters’ origins. It helped him imagine their futures. He dedicated the book to the show’s cast.

Percy provides his usual sarcastic narration. Riordan was nervous. He hadn’t written in Percy’s voice in many years. “But I quickly found that Percy is so much a part of me,” he says.

After saving the world twice, Percy is ready for college. But his plans are thrown off course. He needs recommendation letters from the gods. He’ll have to complete a series of quests for them. The first quest sees him and friends searching for the lost Chalice of the Gods. “This [quest] is more like, ‘What does your demigod crew do on an average Tuesday?’” Riordan says. “That made it different and refreshing to me.”

Riordan wants the book to bring joy to fans new and old. “If you know the series, it feels like a homecoming and a joyous reunion,” he says. “If you don’t know the series, I hope it’s a great place to start.”