Study Guide

The Red Pyramid

The Red Pyramid Summary

On one of their infrequent visitations, siblings Sadie and Carter take a nice trip to the British Museum in London with their Egyptologist father Julius Kane—during which he blows up the Rosetta Stone, releasing five imprisoned ancient Egyptian gods: Isis, Osiris, Horus, Set, and Nephthys. Set, generally not known to be a nice guy, imprisons Julius in a tomb and makes cryptic remarks to Carter and Sadie before vanishing.

Sadie and Carter's uncle, Amos, steps in and brings the kids to New York, revealing that they come from a line of ancient Egyptian magicians and need to be brought up to speed. Amos disappears while gathering info on Set's nefarious plans, and Set's minions attack the kids and Amos's baboon sidekick Khufu. The cat goddess Bast comes to their rescue and carts the kids around until Zia, a teenaged magician from the House of Life, brings Carter and Sadie to the magicians' headquarters in Egypt.

Turns out the kids are in deep, as they're suspected of being "godlings," or hosts for the escaped gods Isis and Horus. Though ancient Egyptian magicians and pharaohs used to work with gods, in the last few thousand years, the magicians decided to imprison and outlaw the gods. Seeing that they might be condemned to death, Zia lets Carter and Sadie escape. Bast escorts them on a quest to figure out how to defeat Set, who is constructing a giant red pyramid in Phoenix, Arizona, in order to focus his power and destroy a good chunk of North America.

Sadie and Carter come to terms with the gods inside them and meet other deities, such as Anubis (the god of funerals), Nut (the sky goddess), Geb (the earth god) and Thoth (the god of wisdom and knowledge). They battle various demons while gathering the ingredients for a ritual to defeat Set. They bicker like siblings do. Bast provides comedic relief but also key information, like the fact that Ruby Kane died while trying to bring the old gods back into the world.

Things come to a head in Phoenix, where Zia joins Carter and Sadie, despite the fact that magicians and gods are supposed to be at odds. The kids must simultaneously battle Set, who's super powerful, and let their father fully merge with Osiris by dying and becoming god of the underworld. They realize partway through the battle that Set is being controlled by Apophis, the primal force of chaos, so since he's the real enemy, they don't have to destroy Set. They merely bind him long enough to get him to knock off that blow-up-North-America nonsense.

The magicians of the House of Life, who had been battling Set, are close to destroying Sadie and Carter for being godlings. Their leader, Desjardins, is especially stuck on the whole thing, but he lets Sadie and Carter go with a warning after they consciously choose independence from Isis and Horus rather than continue to let the gods rule them and use their bodies. So the book ends with a compromise: Sadie and Carter have refused the limitless power that Isis and Horus could offer them, deciding instead to learn how to be magicians before getting back with the gods. Sadie and Carter decide to find others like them, and, with Bast's help, they attempt to learn the way of the ancient gods once again.

  • Warning

    This is a handy little author's note letting us know that what follows is a transcript of a digital recording. The audio quality was poor, and the author had to edit out a lot of scuffling and sounds of fighting. Is it authentic? Read ahead and decide for yourself.

  • Chapter 1

    A Death at the Needle

    • As if one warning weren't enough, this chapter also starts with one: you may be in danger if you're listening to this recording, so find the locker, open the package, and pass it on in a week.
    • Our narrator says Sadie is telling him to quit stalling and get to the story, so he drops us this tidbit: it started in London, the night their dad blew up the British Museum. Wait, what?
    • Finally, an introduction: our narrator's name is Carter Kane. He's fourteen, and his home is a suitcase.
    • Carter explains: his dad, Dr. Julius Kane, is a famous Egyptologist, so they travel the world together. This means Carter was essentially homeschooled, though he also learned a lot about the things his dad loves: basketball, ancient Egypt, and jazz musicians.
    • Carter and his dad both keep all their belongings in a suitcase, except his dad also keeps a workbag for his archaeological stuff. Carter's not allowed to look inside the workbag, and he never did… until the explosion.
    • Carter informs us that the explosion happened on Christmas Eve, while he and his dad were in London to visit Carter's sister, Sadie.
    • Julius is allowed two days a year with her because of a rocky relationship with the grandparents. The result is that Sadie lives with Mom's parents and Carter lives with Dad; visitation happens twice a year.
    • Carter notes that on the day he and his father fly in, his dad seems kind of nervous. Normally he's charismatic, in part because he's a big guy. Carter notes that his dad has dark brown skin, piercing eyes and is bald with a goatee, meaning he rocks the evil genius look.
    • Carter also notices that his father is clutching his workbag, which tends to happen when there's danger.
    • Example: One time, gunmen attacked their hotel in Cairo, and Carter followed the sounds of gunshots only to find his father zipping up his workbag as the gunmen hung harmlessly from the chandelier. Another time, they were caught in a riot in Paris, and every car but theirs was overturned and set on fire. That's some exciting stuff.
    • As they travel through London, Carter notices the landmarks, which start to blur together— that's what happens when you travel 24/7. He doesn't feel particularly lucky to get to travel so much, in part because he feels more like a fugitive than a tourist.
    • As the taxi pulls up at his grandparents' place, Carter notices a stranger: a guy with dark skin and braids, who's snappily dressed. Julius tells Carter to go on ahead and get Sadie.
    • Sadie opens the door, annoyed at Carter for being late. She's holding her cat Muffin, who'd been a going-away gift from Julius six years ago.
    • Carter describes Sadie for us. He and she don't look like siblings, since Sadie inherited their mom's fair skin, light-colored hair and blue eyes, while Carter's got darker skin like their dad. Sadie has red streaks in her hair and is dressed like she's going to a concert, in battered jeans and combat boots.
    • We see one of many interjections—Carter noting that he must've done a good job of describing Sadie, since she didn't hit him—reminding us that this narration is being recorded.
    • Carter notes that there wasn't much to their greeting; when siblings see each other only twice a year, they end up feeling more like distant cousins, without a lot of common ground.
    • Sadie accompanies Carter outside, and they see their dad confronting the stranger. Sadie suggests that they sneak up and spy on them.
    • Sadie and Carter overhear the stranger—Amos—trying to talk Julius out of doing something, because the Per Ankh is onto them. Julius says that he's got a plan that they won't figure out.
    • Amos asks about the children, and Julius says he's arranged for them to be protected. It sounds like the two men might fight, when Sadie pops out and hugs her dad.
    • Amos awkwardly exits, but not before Carter notices something familiar about him.
    • Julius doesn't answer the kids' questions, but he does say that he has a wonderful evening planned for them at the British Museum.
    • Sadie grumbles that her dad only ever thinks of research. Julius protests that that's not true—and Carter believes it, since he's been with their dad all those times he was either looking at pictures of their dead mother or drifting off into space, probably thinking about their mom.
    • Carter remembers the story of how their parents met on a dig in the Valley of the Kings. Julius was a young Egyptologist, their mom an anthropologist looking for ancient DNA.
    • On the ride over, Julius asks the taxi driver to stop, and he gets out at Cleopatra's Needle. It's an obelisk that the Brits brought back from Egypt, though it has nothing to do with Cleopatra.
    • Sadie is annoyed at the stop, but then Julius reveals that this is the last place he saw their mother.
    • Carter asks Julius to clarify, since the kids have never learned any details about their mother's death, other than that she'd died in an accident in London and that their grandparents blamed Julius.
    • Instead, Julius asks Sadie whether she still has her cat—so random—and whether she still has her amulet. Julius had given them both amulets when they were little. Carter's is an Eye of Horus, a protection symbol from ancient Egypt.
    • Sadie, to Carter's surprise, answers that of course she still has the amulet.
    • Before the kids can get more answers, there's a flash, and two figures appear near them: a pale man with a forked beard and a girl with coppery skin, both in robes. Then they disappear.
    • Julius pushes Sadie and Carter into the cab and gives them a talk about how he needs their cooperation because he's going to make things right.
    • When they reach the British Museum, Julius pays the driver and tells him to keep going. When Carter looks into the cab, it looks like there's a man and two children inside already. Weird.
    • In retrospect, Carter realizes he should've gotten out of there and taken Sadie with him. But that's not what happened.
  • Chapter 2

    An Explosion for Christmas

    • Carter, still narrating for us, says that while the museum's closed when they roll up, the curator's there.
    • The curator greets Julius like he's a rock star, complimenting him on translating spells in his paper on Imhotep.
    • Carter gives Sadie a brief lesson in Egyptology: Imhotep was a high priest and architect, he designed the first pyramid, and he was possibly a magician. Sadie doesn't care.
    • Julius introduces Carter and Sadie to the curator, who recognizes as Carter as Julius's son, but doesn't recognize Sadie as Julius's daughter.
    • When Julius says that Sadie is also his child, the curator's stare goes blank. This happens all the time: people think they're open-minded about this kind of thing, but when confronted with a mixed ethnicity family, they go all: "What?"
    • As they all discuss the Rosetta Stone, it comes out that Sadie thinks that Rosetta Stone refers to a computer program, so she gets a brief education from her dad: until the discovery of the Rosetta Stone, no one could read the ancient Egyptian written language. With its lines of text in Egyptian, Demotic, and Greek, it allowed scholars to crack the code.
    • Julius goes on to say that it is possibly the most important connection between the modern world and ancient Egypt—and he was a fool not to realize its potential sooner.
    • Julius asks the curator for some papers from the archives, and then tells Carter and Sadie to lock the curator in his office. Yes, that's right: lock the curator in his office.
    • Sadie gleefully agrees. Julius tells them that he loves them, and that he's sorry about a lot of things... and that it's important to stay out of the room.
    • Guess what Carter and Sadie do? As soon as they lock up the curator, they hide near the room.
    • Carter and Sadie see Julius standing in a circle of blue light, facing the Rosetta Stone, drawing hieroglyphs on it with what looks like a white boomerang.
    • Strangely, Sadie is able to translate one of the hieroglyphs: open. Carter is impressed because as long as he's hung around his dad, he's only picked up a few hieroglyphs (they're tough).
    • Carter recognizes the next hieroglyph: Wo-seer, which means Osiris, the Egyptian god of the dead. Sadie translates what Julius is saying: Osiris, come. Then she shouts "No!" at Julius.
    • He turns to see the hieroglyphs… and then the Rosetta Stone explodes.
    • When Carter regains consciousness, he hears a horrible laugh. The gallery is a mess, Sadie is passed out next to him, and Julius is facing down the fiery outline of a man.
    • Julius tries to give the kids a chance to escape by distracting the fiery dude. He transforms his staff into a serpent, but the man grabs it, and it turns to ash.
    • Julius, still trying to distract the fiery dude, asks how many he has released. The fiery dude answers: five. He says that he'll soon release more, and that he'll be named king again. Julius responds that they'll stop him before the Demon Days.
    • Fiery dude then conjures a coffin around Julius, and it sinks into the ground.
    • What does fiery dude say? "Good-bye, Osiris." Cryptic much?
    • Sadie throws a rock at fiery dude, and Carter screams "Dad!"—but it's too late. Fiery dude looks at Carter, and he has freaky superimposed features, as though part of him is human and part is beast.
    • Fiery dude lunges at Carter but is stopped by some force a few inches away from Carter's face. Fiery dude says to Carter: "So… it's you." There's an explosion, and fiery dude vanishes.
    • Carter sees the two people from Cleopatra's Needle standing over him. The girl has a knife out, but the man says that they must be certain before they destroy them. Carter loses consciousness.
  • Chapter 3

    Imprisoned with My Cat

    • The first thing we see is Sadie asking to be given the bloody mic and telling us that Carter's a rubbish storyteller.
    • Sadie recaps: explosion, fiery bloke, Dad in a coffin, two threatening people, passing out.
    • When Sadie wakes up, the police separate her from Carter and stick her in an office.
    • Then the police take Sadie to her grandparents' house. But they just toss her in her room, so she's stuck waiting some more.
    • Sadie looks at the necklace from her father, which looks a bit like an angel or something similar. She's not sure why her father had asked if she still had it.
    • Thinking back to the whole museum incident, Sadie feels frightened and horrified. It was also weird how her dad had stopped at Cleopatra's Needle right before, as though the whole thing were somehow connected with her mother.
    • Sadie goes over to her desk, where she keeps a picture of her mom, whose name is Ruby.
    • It's a picture of Ruby holding baby Sadie at their home in Los Angeles overlooking the Pacific. Sadie thinks her mom was really beautiful, with perfect skin—which bugs Sadie, since there's a spot on her chin.
    • In the photo, Sadie's mom is wearing a shirt with an ankh, the ancient Egyptian symbol of life, on it. The irony of this—since Sadie's mom is now dead—appeals to Sadie.
    • Right then, a police inspector enters Sadie's room. He asks her to tell the whole story, even though she's already told the police. So, even knowing that it sounds crazy, she does.
    • That's when it dawns on Sadie: they're talking about her dad as though he's a terrorist. After all, he destroyed priceless artifacts and apparently killed himself in the process.
    • Sadie gets angry, since she was told to tell the truth, but when she does, no one believes her.
    • Sadie looks out the window and sees the stranger, Amos, looking concerned. He still looks really familiar to Sadie, which bugs her.
    • The inspector asks Sadie whether she's protecting Carter because she considers him a proper brother. This annoys Sadie further, since she hates it when people assume they aren't related, as though their family couldn't exist.
    • The inspector keeps pushing, asking if Sadie knew anyone else who was involved. Sadie names Amos to see the inspector's reaction. He says that's impossible—they just talked to Amos in his New York home one hour ago.
    • Sadie turns back to the window, only to see that Amos has disappeared. Weird.
    • The inspector plays his last card, saying he has a full confession from Carter and that Sadie might as well help, since there's no way to protect their father.
    • Sadie yells that Carter would never say anything against their dad, and neither will she.
    • The inspector keeps up the jerk act and tells Sadie to come downstairs with him to discuss consequences with her grandparents.
  • Chapter 4

    Kidnapped by a Not-So-Stranger

    • In her typical sarcastic style, Sadie tells us that she just loves family meetings, which are nice and cozy with a pot of tea and a detective waiting to arrest you.
    • Sadie thinks that Carter looks awful, by which she means worse than usual. He has no sense of style, dressing like a Mini-Me version of their father (khakis, button-down shirts, loafers). Sadie's buddies Liz and Emma think Carter is hot, though, which mystifies Sadie.
    • The inspector tries to get Grand and Gramps to coerce the kids into cooperating. The grandparents waffle and are ultimately not helpful in this discussion.
    • When the inspector tells Sadie that Julius abandoned her to face the consequences of his actions, it hits a sore spot, as Sadie feels like her dad really did abandon her after her mother's death. Then the inspector tells Sadie and Carter that they're being deported for their own good.
    • Everyone is befuddled at this change of events. The inspector and his two helpers leave, and guess who shows up? Amos.
    • Gramps threatens to beat up Amos—which would be bad, as Gramps used to play rugby.
    • Amos says that it's bad timing, but the kids will have to come with him.
    • Sadie protests that she's not going with some stranger, but Amos says he's no stranger. And oddly, Gran and Gramps are backing Amos up on this pseudo-kidnapping.
    • Amos says he'll be able to get the kids out of the country ASAP. Carter asks how, since Amos had said they wouldn't take a plane.
    • Amos traces hieroglyphics in the condensation on the window. Sadie spells it out and says aloud that it's a boat. Amos looks suspiciously at her, but Sadie says one of the symbols reminded her of a boat… which is ridiculous, since taking a boat to America would be, well, ridiculous.
    • Then Carter looks out the window and points out a boat: not just any boat, but an Egyptian reed boat. Amos's trench coat seems to be steering it.
    • Both Gran and Amos remind Sadie not to forget her cat. Right then, Muffin leaps into her arms.
    • Sadie keeps pushing for options, saying that she can't just go off with some stranger, but Amos retorts that he's not a stranger.
    • Sadie hazily remembers his face from long ago, from a birthday party. She guesses that Amos is her uncle, and he confirms that he's Julius's brother. Now they need to go.
  • Chapter 5

    We Meet the Monkey

    • Carter takes over the narration, saying they had to turn off the tape while being followed by—well, he never really tells us. Tease.
    • Sadie and Carter follow Amos down to the reed boat and cautiously step on.
    • Amos nods at the steersman—a little fellow in a coat and hat whose face is hidden—and suddenly everything lurches. The boat is enveloped in fog.
    • Nauseated and surrounded by weird voices and screams and blurred lights, Carter is relieved when the fog lifts and he can see—the New York City lights.
    • Somehow, after only traveling for a few minutes, they've gone from London to New York. They dock at Brooklyn near an industrial yard with a warehouse.
    • There it is: a five-story mansion atop the warehouse. We're guessing it violates a lot of building codes, but that's okay, because it's magic.
    • Always curious, Sadie asks why they couldn't live in Manhattan, and Amos says they've got other problems and other gods there. He doesn't elaborate.
    • Amos introduces the house as the Twenty-first Nome. Which is different from a gnome. Amos explains that nome is a term from ancient Egyptian times, when Egypt was divided into provinces or regions by that name.
    • Egypt itself is the First Nome by this count, while Greater New York is the Twenty-first.
    • Amos leads Sadie and Carter to the entrance, which is barred by a huge block of wood. He tells Carter to figure out how to open it.
    • Somehow, Carter thinks to extend his arm and raise his hand. The wood lifts too, thus opening the main entrance. Amos is impressed by this, saying it's not the way he would've done it.
    • The Great Room is the first room they see, and boy, is it great: there are huge stone pillars with hieroglyphs holding up a really high ceiling, balconies, a giant fireplace, and a huge flat screen TV. There's a set of doors marked with the Eye of Horus and locked up with padlocks.
    • In the center of the Great Room is a statue of Thoth, god of knowledge, depicted as a thirty-foot-tall dude with the head of a bird.
    • Sadie recognizes the hieroglyph for Per Ankh on the scroll he's holding, and translates Per Ankh as the House of Life.
    • Sadie asks what the deal is with the gods having animal heads, and Amos says they don't normally appear that way. The gods could appear in many forms, and since they're bridges between humanity and nature, having animal heads shows that they exist in both worlds at once.
    • Amos goes on to say that Thoth founded the House of Life.
    • Carter has tons of questions, but Amos tells him to go to bed, and they'll talk in the morning.
    • Amos calls out, "Khufu!" Carter thinks Amos has sneezed until a baboon shows up in response.
    • This baboon is wearing an L.A. Lakers jersey (that's Carter's home team). Khufu shows Sadie and Carter to their rooms after Amos takes Julius's workbag and locks it in the library.
    • Carter and Sadie get adjoining rooms on the third floor. The room is swank, though Carter's mystified by the lack of pillows. Instead there's an ivory headrest like Carter has seen in Egyptian tombs.
    • Before they go to sleep, Carter and Sadie talk through their locked doors about whether they're prisoners (possibly) and whether what they saw that night was magic (definitely).
    • Carter feels oddly protective of Sadie since she's his little sister. He's not used to that feeling, since she's usually the brave and bold one.
    • The ivory headrest is uncomfortable, so Carter puts it on the floor instead of sleeping on it. Big mistake, he tells us.
  • Chapter 6

    Breakfast with a Crocodile

    • Carter is unsure how to describe this strange thing that happens to him: it's like a nightmare, but it's realistic.
    • As Carter falls asleep, he feels as if he's hovering over his body. Then he sees that his form is golden, and he has wings instead of arms (Sadie interjects to say that he looked like a chicken).
    • Suddenly Carter rises up through darkness and mist and realizes that he's come to a different place.
    • It's a desert. This is also when Carter realizes that his head and face are still his own, though his body has changed, since he can feel the dry wind on his skin.
    • Carter sees two figures that are demonically ugly: one like a toad, and the other with rooster feet.
    • A fiery form appears and the two figures grovel. Carter freaks out, because it's fiery dude from the British Museum.
    • Rooster-footed-guy IDs the location to fiery dude as Phoenix.
    • Toad-guy gives fiery dude some lip about how he'll manage to find and eliminate the "other four," so fiery dude melts him to death. Ick.
    • Fiery dude says that he'll build his temple right here, and then summon the greatest storm ever known in order to destroy all life on earth.
    • Rooster-guy whispers a suggestion to fiery dude, which apparently he likes, since he tells Rooster-guy to unleash the forces and bring the younglings to him.
    • Fiery guy says that he likes the name Phoenix. He'll rise from its ashes, which will be a fabulous birthday present.
    • Carter wakes up, his heart pounding. Muffin is on his chest (however she got in).
    • The events from yesterday—especially his dad disappearing—make Carter feel grief all over again, but an inner voice tells him to keep it together, since he has to be ready: someone's after him.
    • Carter doesn't understand what he saw in the vision, or how he saw it, but it's pretty clear that the younglings are probably he and Sadie. That means they're in trouble.
    • The only clothes at hand are plain white linen pajama-style pants and shirts. This isn't really Carter's style—not that he has much of a style, according to Sadie, since their dad made him dress like a grown-up.
    • Carter remembers complaining to his dad about having to wear a long-sleeved shirt one time when it was really hot, and his dad told him that since he's an African American man, people will judge him more harshly, so it's up to him to make a good impression.
    • So Carter dons the pajama-like clothes and goes to look for everyone.
    • Sadie and Amos are eating breakfast out on the terrace. There's a feast set out, and Amos wishes Carter a Merry Christmas. This causes Carter to reflect on how he and Sadie haven't spent a Christmas morning together since their mom died.
    • Sadie's dressed in the same white PJs as Carter, and Amos is impeccably dressed (again).
    • On the topic of food, Amos says that Khufu only eats things that end in –o, such as Doritos, burritos, and flamingos. Ew.
    • While Carter gets his own food, he notices a giant albino crocodile in the pool. His name is Philip of Macedonia, and he likes bacon.
    • Amos begins with the explanations, saying that Julius was trying to summon a god. Unfortunately, it worked.
    • Carter says yeah, he's heard his dad saying, "Osiris, come." But Osiris is just a legend, right?
    • Amos says nope: Egypt was one of the most ancient and greatest civilizations, and her influence lives on. So do her gods.
    • In fact, the gods were the origin of magic, since priests would channel their power back in the day. Then the House of Life was established, where magicians train and study. And guess what? Amos and Julius are both magicians.
    • Carter argues that his dad's an archaeologist, but Amos says that was just his cover story. In fact, the Kane family's interest in Egyptian magic goes waaaaay back. Their mom's family, the Fausts, also have old ties to magic
    • Amos drops it on them: Sadie and Carter are two of the most powerful Kane children to be born in centuries.
    • Another thing? By the end of ancient times, magicians had learned (with Thoth's help) that gods are not to be worshiped. In fact, magicians strive to control the gods.
    • So Julius releasing gods was not exactly a good thing to do, from most magicians' point of view.
    • Sadie, Carter, and Amos talk about why Julius broke the Rosetta Stone. Amos breaks a saucer by throwing it on the ground and says he could've done that with magic, using the word ha-di. And to fix it with magic, he says hi-nehm, and the saucer reassembles itself.
    • Amos goes on to explain that Julius had probably realized that the Rosetta Stone could act as a focus for a really powerful spell. Carter asks why he'd wanted to summon Osiris.
    • Sadie answers: their dad had been talking about making things right. He'd been referring to their mother, who's dead. And Osiris being the lord of death… yep.
    • According to Amos, Julius did successfully release Osiris, and he probably joined with him in the process. He also released four other gods at the same time.
    • Amos says that the gods of Egypt are dangerous, and magicians have made every effort to banish and bind them.
    • On top of that, according to a decree from Chief Lector Iskandar in Roman times, magicians are forbidden from contacting the gods. Guess what Carter's parents were doing?
    • Sadie connects the dots and asks if that's what their parents had been doing at Cleopatra's Needle in London.
    • Amos confirms this, saying that it was risky, and that it cost their mom her life. Julius was exiled and monitored by the House of Life, since they suspected he would keep trying to release gods.
    • Sadie asks if the girl and the man with the beard at the museum the previous night were also magicians. Amos says yep, and that it's fortunate they let the kids go.
    • Amos answers by saying that Sadie and Carter were raised apart for a reason, and it's not because of the court battle after their mother's death.
    • When Amos says Julius had wanted to keep both kids, Sadie's startled. Amos goes on to say that they could become very powerful together.
    • At the mention of powers, Carter thinks of Sadie's sixth birthday party.
    • Time for a trip down memory lane: that was the last celebration where they'd been together as a whole family, and Sadie and Carter had a huge argument, possibly over who would blow out the candles. After the two started yelling, the cake exploded.
    • Carter remembers specks of cake on everyone there, including an adult visitor who was wearing glasses…
    • Yep, Amos says he was there, and it was clear from then on that it'd be tough to raise the two powerful (but argumentative) siblings together.
    • Carter asks what happens now, and Amos says he's going train the kids, whether or not the House approves, because the world is in danger. If only they knew where the fiery dude was.
    • Carter blurts out, "Phoenix." Then he has to relate his vision to Amos, who concludes that this is bad, bad news.
    • Amos warns Carter to use his headrest in the future, since sleep is a doorway into the Duat.
    • What's the Duat? Amos is so glad you asked. He explains: the Duat is the spirit world, with many layers of memories and magic. Mortals can pass through it, like they did on the boat last night, but it can also be super dangerous.
    • The Red Lord is the fiery dude, but Amos doesn't say more before excusing himself to go find out more. They should be safe alone, and Muffin will guard them.
    • Before Amos leaves, he tells Carter and Sadie to be careful and not to let anyone in. And definitely do not explore the library.
    • So the first thing Sadie suggests when Amos is gone, of course, is that she and Carter explore the library.
  • Chapter 7

    I Drop a Little Man on His Head

    • Sadie's tells us just how stupid Carter is for being too afraid to visit a library (he always follows the rules).
    • Unfortunately, the door's locked. Like, totally locked. Sadie remembers the word Amos said at breakfast for "destroy," and she says it at the locks. Hieroglyphs appear, and the doors explode.
    • Sadie feels so weak afterward that she almost collapses, so magic apparently takes a toll.
    • Sadie and Carter go in to explore, but the library is huge.
    • Sadie and Carter retrieve their dad's workbag, and Carter pulls out the box that Julius had used in the British Museum.
    • Carter opens the box and pulls out wax, rope, papyrus, and a wax figurine.
    • The wax guy is an ugly little dude with his legs cut off at the knee. Sadie jokingly asks him what had happened to their dad, and the wax man talks to her.
    • Sadie screams and drops the wax man on his head. He curses, and then explains that he's a shabti, which means answerer. Basically, answerers are wax models that serve their maker.
    • Sadie and Carter establish that the answerer's nickname is Doughboy, and Sadie takes charge of questioning him.
    • Doughboy can't tell much, except that Julius's staff and wand (the boomerang thing) aren't in the box, so something obviously happened to Julius. He might even be dead.
    • Doughboy declares that his service is finished, and turns back to hard, lifeless wax.
    • Sadie and Carter look around for other shabti to help them, and end up looking at a bunch of scrolls.
    • Oddly, Sadie's able to read some of the ancient Egyptian writing. She deciphers a book titled Blood of the Pharaohs, and they find their family name (Kane) in it. That kind of makes things feel more real: this magic stuff is legit, and their family's in it deep.
    • They find a picture of five animal-headed gods with a starry goddess arching over them. Carter explains that the starry goddess is Nut, the goddess of the sky, and that the birth of those five gods has something to do with the Demon Days.
    • The story, as Carter narrates it, goes like this: the sky goddess Nut was married to the earth god Geb. Things are fine until Ra, the sun god, hears a prophecy that a child of Nut will displace Ra. So Ra forbids Nut to give birth on any day of the year. Nut gambles with the moon god Khons and wins enough moonlight to create five new days. Those are the Demon Days, and the five children born (one on each day) were Osiris, Horus, Set, Isis, and Nephthys.
    • Sadie and Carter realize that if all five gods were born together, perhaps they were also imprisoned together and released together. This is especially bad news since Set was pretty evil.
    • Carter reminds Sadie that back in the British Museum, their dad told fiery dude that they would stop him before the Demon Days were over—meaning that Sadie and Carter would stop him? If he's Set?
    • Better yet, the Demon Days start the day after tomorrow, on December 27.
    • Sadie realizes how insane it is to try to develop her powers and face down Set and save Julius in a matter of days. But maybe it's not impossible?
    • There's a crash. Something's happening outside the library.
  • Chapter 8

    Muffin Plays with Knives

    • Khufu's going crazy. Then Sadie sees two things in the pool attacking their crocodile.
    • Carter names them as longnecks, and we see Sadie's incredulous reaction to the monsters: they have sleek spotted bodies like leopards, but also long scaly green necks with cat's heads.
    • As they're watching, Philip body slams the terrace, breaking it up and making everything from the pool onward fall down to the ground. He takes the longnecks with him (we hope).
    • Carter realizes that he's seen the critters before, and worries about them coming back. He drags Sadie back to the library, and looks up Narmer's Palette (a stone carving showing this ancient Egyptian king, Narmer).
    • The back of the carving shows two of the cat-snake monsters. Carter says they're called serpopards, or serpent-leopards.
    • Carter remembers back to his vision, when fiery dude had said to send the longnecks after them. He must have been referring to the monsters on their porch. Oh, joy.
    • Right then, Khufu bursts in. The monsters are back.
    • The monsters sniff around the glass doors of the terrace and poke intently at one of the door handles as though it's about to open—sort of like this—even though it was supposed to be locked and magically protected.
    • Khufu picks up Muffin and gives her to Sadie, as though that will help.
    • The serpopards begin smashing against the glass, and it starts to break. Crap.
    • Khufu throws himself at the serpopards when they enter the house, but they simply toss him over the broken terrace.
    • Muffin is still nestled in Sadie's arms, and that's when she remembers that Amos had said that Muffin would protect them.
    • So Sadie tells Muffin to protect them. When the serpopards reach them, a blast of dry air knocks away the monsters—and also knocks Sadie and Carter on their butts.
    • When Sadie looks to where Muffin had been, she sees a slender woman in a leopard-print gymnast's suit with the same pendant that Muffin had been wearing around her neck.
    • The woman tells Sadie that it's about time, and Sadie notices her eyes: yellow with slit black pupils.
    • The woman does a flip to evade the serpopards' next strike, flicks knives into her hands, ties the serpopards' necks into knots, and then beheads them with her knives. They turn to sand.
    • Then the woman tells Sadie and Carter that they should leave, because worse will be coming. Carter's like: Worse?
    • The woman asks Sadie to open a door to the Duat. When Sadie says she doesn't know how, the woman says they'll need more power, something like an obelisk, and suggests one in Central Park.
    • Sadie asks what kind of portal she and Carter need. She also asks who this woman is and what relationship she has to Muffin.
    • The woman answers that Carter and Sadie need a portal to get them out of danger, and that her name is not Muffin, it's—Bast, Carter breaks in to say, since her pendant is the symbol of Bast, goddess of cats.
    • Bast says yep, good guess, Carter, and now let's get outta here while there's still time.
  • Chapter 9

    We Run from Four Guys in Skirts

    • Carter opens this chapter by saying, "So… our cat's a goddess."
    • Bast makes Carter get his father's workbag from the library, but then they need to leave ASAP.
    • Carter interjects that Amos told them the house would be safe, and Bast responds that it was clearly sabotaged by another magician. Magicians are pretty devious, according to her, so there're a billion reasons why they might backstab each other.
    • Bast drags Carter and Sadie out of the house and into the cold, pausing to talk to a scarred tomcat who was offering to help by telling all the local cats to be on alert.
    • Suddenly, Bast pauses as though danger might be imminent. Carter looks around, but only sees some construction equipment, like an old wrecking-ball crane.
    • Bast has the same look of excitement in her eyes that kittens have when stalking a piece of string. Bast leaps for the crane, rips the giant metal ball off its chain, and destroys it.
    • Carter and Sadie look at each other, thinking: did an ancient goddess really just destroy a piece of construction equipment because it resembled a cat toy? Apparently, the answer is yes.
    • Bast announces that it's safe now—but right then, the mansion explodes, so they start running.
    • In order to save time, Bast "borrows" a silver convertible, explaining that since she's a cat, everything she sees is hers.
    • Besides, when Carter and Sadie look back at the mansion, they see four men carrying a large box (coffin-sized). The men have coppery metallic skin and are wearing kilts and sandals. Bast declares this to be very bad, so they pile into the car and go.
    • As they drive through Brooklyn, Bast IDs the dudes as carriers, summoned straight from the Duat. It's really, really bad when they follow you, because their only objective is to beat their prey senseless, throw it into a box, and take it back to their master.
    • Carter asks why Bast can't just banish or disintegrate these dudes, since she's a goddess. Bast replies that it's because her power in her mortal host—Muffin the cat—is limited. Sadie's call for help allowed her to assume human form, but even if she had a more powerful host, Set is still stronger than she is.
    • Sadie says that she's still weirded out that Bast is the same critter that ate crunchy treats and slept on her head.
    • Apparently Bast had made a deal with their father that she could stay in the mortal world as long as she assumed the form of a housecat in order to watch over Sadie.
    • Carter puts two and two together and asks whether Bast's release into the mortal world had anything to do with their mother's death at Cleopatra's Needle.
    • Bast closes the subject by saying that what's important now is that she get the kids to safety.
    • Carter asks why, if the gods are so helpful and powerful, the House of Life forbids magicians from summoning them. Bast basically says that magicians are paranoid jerks.
    • The best plan, according to Bast, is to get away from New York, find safety, and then get help challenging Set.
    • What help? Sadie asks. Well, Bast wants to summon more gods.
  • Chapter 10

    Bast Goes Green

    • Carter tells us Bast calls out to a bunch of cats who mob the carriers, thereby slowing them down.
    • Bast ditches the car at the Met, and she, Carter, and Sadie run toward Central Park.
    • Bast, Carter, and Sadie find the obelisk. Carter wishes he'd grabbed something warmer, like a wool coat.
    • Bast says that wouldn't be a good idea, as animal products interfere with working magic. Sadie objects that she's kept her leather boots on, and Bast suggests that maybe she has a higher tolerance and perhaps the leather won't affect her magic.
    • Now that they're standing at the obelisk, Bast tells Sadie to work on opening a portal (no, not that portal), since there's a window of lucky time starting right then (11:30AM).
    • Sadie is like, you're the goddess, why don't you do the portal?
    • Bast replies that she's more of a protector than a portal-opener and advises Sadie to control her emotions, since fear is bad for spells. Besides, they need to get out of there before Set summons other gods to help him.
    • Carter asks whether that means Set has a bunch of evil gods on speed dial.
    • Bast says that evil and good aren't accurate terms. As a magician, Carter should be thinking in terms of order and chaos, since those are the forces that direct the universe. And Set, as we've all guessed by now, is all about chaos.
    • A cat runs up and gives Bast some info. She tells the kids that the carriers are close, and also that something else powerful is coming (perhaps another minion?), so they need to get a move on.
    • Bast tells Sadie to work on that portal, and she'll keep off the attackers, since combat magic is her specialty.
    • The four carriers, now scratched and dented, show up. Bast's body begins to glow green, and energy surrounds her until she's encased in a twenty-foot tall glowing version of her ancient goddess form: a woman with the head of a cat.
    • When Bast raises her hand, so does the avatar. She's got sharp claws that look super deadly.
    • Bast cuts into the carriers while Sadie tries to open the portal. Carter draws his sword and leaps in. They hack up the carriers.
    • Sadie still can't get the portal to work, which is unfortunate, since a new thing shows up. It makes a creepy slithering sound.
    • The bushes explode with scorpions, and a woman walks through piles and piles of scorpions toward the group.
    • Scorpion woman is dressed in ancient Egyptian robes, with a huge scorpion sitting on her head as a crown. Bast IDs her as Serqet, the scorpion goddess.
    • Bast tells Sadie and Carter to flee to the museum and find the temple, which might protect them, since this fight isn't going to be pretty.
    • Sadie's worried about Bast, but Bast says it'll be fine and she'll catch up. She doesn't sound too sure about it, though.
    • Carter grabs Sadie, and they make a run for it.
  • Chapter 11

    We Meet the Human Flamethrower

    • Sadie informs us that she's taking the mic, since Carter won't tell this part properly. Why not? It's about Zia. Who's Zia? You'll find out soon.
    • Glancing back as they run, Sadie sees that the situation doesn't look good: Bast's warrior form is starting to flicker as more and more scorpions dog-pile her.
    • Carter and Sadie dash into the Met, skipping ticket lines and guards to get the Egyptian section.
    • They try to find the temple and end up arguing loudly. A glass case next to them shatters, reminding them of Sadie's birthday party, when they'd blown up her cake by arguing.
    • Alarms start sounding, so Carter and Sadie resume their search for the temple.
    • The Egyptian display at the Met is huge, and they end up lost. Worse, they hear the clacking of scorpions on the floor.
    • Finally, Sadie and Carter round a corner and bump into someone.
    • It's the same girl Sadie and Carter saw in London. She looks Arabic, with caramel-colored skin and dark hair. She's got golden eyes that Sadie thinks are both beautiful and scary.
    • The girl asks Carter and Sadie a few questions (like: Where's Amos? Where's the cat demon?—which tells you what magicians think of gods) before introducing herself as Zia Rashid.
    • More scorpions show up, and Zia says that she's going to save Carter's and Sadie's miserable lives.
    • Sadie and Carter follow Zia to the temple room, which is huge, since it's been built to hold a fully reconstructed ancient Egyptian temple. Zia says it should have enough power to open a gate.
    • Zia says they need to stall for time until the portal opens at noon, and she has Carter and Sadie help her with the ritual elements (chalk circle, etc.) needed for the portal.
    • When Zia touches the chalk circle with her wand, it begins to glow. Which is good timing, since right then, a bunch of scorpions scuttle in.
    • Zia instructs Sadie and Carter to stay inside the circle no matter what.
    • Serqet shows up, and Sadie asks what chance Zia has against a goddess. Zia replies that she is a scribe in the House of Life—meaning that she is trained to fight gods. Oh, yeah.
  • Chapter 12

    A Jump Through the Hourglass

    • Sadie, despite seeing Zia ignite her staff with magical fire, remains skeptical, especially as Serqet gets closer to them.
    • The closer Serqet gets, the scarier she looks: her skin glistens like an insect shell and she has mandibles (a bug jaw) in addition to human teeth.
    • Serqet demands to take the younglings, but Zia tells her to leave or be destroyed.
    • Serqet and Zia begin to magically duel, and Zia uses a handful of ribbons to bind Serqet. For some reason, Sadie knows that the ribbons will not work. Indeed, Serqet re-forms as a giant, freaky, smoky scorpion.
    • Meanwhile, the gate opens, and Carter and Sadie wait for Zia before dashing through the gate.
  • Chapter 13

    I Face the Killer Turkey

    • Carter resumes narration, protesting that Sadie has mischaracterized him as all starry-eyed about Zia; it was just cool meeting someone who could battle gods and knew about magic, he says.
    • Carter, Sadie, and Zia plunge into the sand-vortex-portal thing and emerge… at the Cairo Airport.
    • Zia's like, let's go! Carter asks whether Serqet can follow them, and Zia explains that nope, artifacts overheat when they create a gate and require a 12-hour cool-down period before they can be used again.
    • Where are they going? To the ruins of Heliopolis, Zia says. Carter remembers that this ancient city mostly lies under Cairo's suburbs.
    • Zia opens a secret door with the command sahad and instructs Carter and Sadie to touch nothing.
    • They go down a ton of stairs and reach a chasm. A thin wooden plank is all there is to cross on.
    • According to Zia, this is the entrance to the First Nome, headquarters of the House of Life. Every magician must find her own way across—and with this statement, she looks at Sadie.
    • Carter gets annoyed: everyone has been treating Sadie like she has superpowers, but Carter's capable too. And he's still miffed about the comments Sadie made in New York about how he had it sooo good traveling with their dad. He thinks his life has been hard and unfair.
    • Then Carter remembers what his dad said about life not being fair, so in order to make things fair, people need to make it happen themselves. So he draws his sword and crosses the plank.
    • In one part of his mind, Carter realizes that this is a bad idea. But another voice in his head says not to fear it. That seems strange to him.
    • On the other side of the chasm is a doorway flanked by two jackal-headed statues. The doorway starts to glow with a red light.
    • Suddenly, three daggers fly out of the light—and somehow, Carter deflects them with his sword.
    • When Carter reaches the other side, the red light turns into the shape of a man-headed bird that's like five feet tall. Carter thinks it looks like a giant killer turkey.
    • Unexpectedly, the man smiles, and says to Carter "Pari, niswa nafeer."
    • Sadie and Zia reach the other side, and Zia bows to the bird-man, who disappears, unbarring the entrance to the doorway.
    • Carter asks Zia what the turkey said, and Zia replies that the turkey was a ba, a human soul. In this case, it was the soul of a magician serving as a guardian.
    • Sadie tells Carter that the turkey-man must have had bad eyesight, since it said to him go forth, good king.
    • Sadie, Carter, and Zia pass through a bunch of columns, a marketplace, and so on. They only see a few other people, some looking pretty funky (like a guy in a business suit leading a leopard on a leash).
    • When they pass young kids learning to scry (gaze into a liquid to see faraway images), Zia explains that there used to be more initiates and magicians, until—but then she pauses and changes the subject, saying that initiates start training at no later than ten years old, with a few dangerous exceptions.
    • Carter realizes that Zia is talking about him and Sadie, since they're over ten but can do magic.
    • They stop near a sphinx. According to Zia, people are missing out on the really good tombs, since they mostly know about King Tut's tomb, which doesn't rank up there with the best. This hurts Carter's feelings, since his dad named him after Howard Carter, the archaeologist who discovered King Tut's tomb.
    • Zia opens the bronze doors to the Hall of Ages, telling Sadie and Carter to behave (if they don't want to be turned into insects), since they're about to meet the Chief Lector.
  • Chapter 14

    A French Guy Almost Kills Us

    • The Hall of Ages is huge and awesome: there are really high double pillars that support a super-tall ceiling; a blue carpet like a river running down the middle; and tiny hieroglyphs floating through the air.
    • Most impressive and perplexing of all are the displays between the pillars. Zia warns Carter and Sadie not to look at them too long.
    • Sadie steps off the rug as if in a trance, and Zia pulls her back, warning her that what they're looking at are memories so powerful they can destroy your mind.
    • As Carter, Sadie, and Zia keep walking, the images change from gold to silver, and Carter recognizes Narmer, the first king who united Egypt (who kind of looks like their dad). Carter guesses that they're looking at the Old Kingdom, the first great age of Egypt.
    • The light changes to copper and then bronze, indicating the Middle and New Kingdoms. Carter recognizes historical figures his dad had told him about: Hatshepsut (a female pharaoh) and Ramesses the Great. Another pharaoh, Nectanebo, has the same face as the ba Carter faced, and apparently could move whole armies by moving pieces on his game board.
    • A scene shows a dude throwing his staff down, which becomes a serpent. Zia says that it's Moses, the only foreigner to defeat the House of Life at magic.
    • As Sadie, Carter, and Zia keep walking, they see the Ptolemaic times, then the Arab, Turkish, Napoleonic, and British invasions.
    • Sadie, Carter, and Zia reach a throne with the symbols of the pharaoh on it (a flail and shepherd's crook), but no one's on the throne. Instead, a very, very old dude is sitting on the step below the throne.
    • Carter notices that all the hieroglyphs swirling around in the air seem to be coming from the old dude.
    • When the old dude turns his milky old-dude eyes to Carter, something inside Carter tenses, as though he should hide from this guy. The old guy raises an eyebrow, then speaks to someone behind him.
    • Out steps the guy in cream robes with a forked beard who'd been at the British Museum.
    • The bearded guy says in French-accented English that he is Desjardins, and his master, Chief Lector Iskandar, welcomes them to the House of Life.
    • Carter asks: if Iskandar can understand English, why isn't he speaking for himself?
    • Desjardins replies that the Lector understands many things but prefers to speak his birth tongue: Alexandrian Greek.
    • Sadie interjects to say: wouldn't that make Iskandar really freakin' old? Like, from the times of Alexander the Great?
    • Carter thinks back to something Amos had said about a magicians' law forbidding magicians from summoning gods. It's a law that has been in place since Roman times, and it was made by someone named Iskandar. Could this be the same guy?
    • Iskandar looks at Carter as though he knows what Carter is thinking. Creepy.
    • Desjardins says that the Kanes shouldn't worry, as they won't be held accountable for their family's crimes… yet.
    • According to Desjardins, Julius broke the law twice by summoning gods at Cleopatra's Needle: once with their mother, and once at the British Museum.
    • Desjardins says they're looking for Amos. But for now, the kids have to stay here to be trained. Moreover, they have to keep the kids safe, since the Demon Days begin tomorrow.
    • Carter exclaims that they have to find Julius—and that there are dangerous gods on the loose, like Set and Serqet.
    • The kids narrate their story to Iskandar. However, they leave out the parts where they're able to unexpectedly do magic. It's almost as though there's a voice in Carter's head telling him to edit his account of things.
    • Desjardins accuses them of lying, since Set couldn't possibly be released.
    • Sadie retorts that Set is totally out there, and Desjardins probably saw him too, as he was at the British Museum, as well. Sadie's on a roll, so she adds that Serqet was real, too, and their friend Bast died protecting them from her.
    • This annoys Desjardins: he accuses the kids of consorting with gods. It's forbidden to call on the gods, since they caused the downfall of Egypt.
    • Sadie retorts that Bast had said magicians were paranoid.
    • Desjardins becomes so enraged that it begins to smell like a thunderstorm around him.
    • But Zia steps in and says that something weird is going on: her ribbon spell should have banished Serqet, but it didn't. Perhaps there's something to the rumors of gods all over the world escaping from the artifacts where they'd been imprisoned.
    • Desjardins argues, but Zia pleads with Iskandar for a chance to work with Carter and Sadie.
    • Iskandar agrees to let Zia test Carter and Sadie, and Desjardins storms off.
    • Sadie asks what testing is like, and Zia informs her that failing the test means dying. Tough test.
  • Chapter 15

    A Godly Birthday Party

    • Sadie takes over the story, saying that Carter has been taken to a different dormitory. She doesn't know how he slept; she couldn't fall asleep at all.
    • Something's bugging Sadie while she tries to sleep, so she creeps out of bed.
    • Sadie wanders into the Hall of Ages, since the images there had been so intriguing. For whatever reason, she feels a connection to these images, as if they have an answer for her. So, of course, she does what she's been told not to and steps off the carpet.
    • Sadie sees a hall of people between the columns. She touches the image, and everything changes. Now she's surrounded by huge beings that morph between human and animal forms.
    • On a throne in the middle of the room sits an African man who looks very strong. At his side is a pregnant woman in white.
    • Sadie gasps when the woman turns toward her—she has Sadie's mother's face.
    • Someone asks Sadie if she's a ghost. Sadie turns around and sees a boy who looks about sixteen. He is pale and has dark, wild hair. She thinks he's good-looking enough that she is stuck trying to figure out how to reply ("marry me" being among the options that pops into her head).
    • Sadie shakes her head, and the boy guesses that she is a ba. He tells her to watch, but not to interfere.
    • Sadie goes back to watching and sees that the man and woman address each other as Isis and Osiris, referring to their unborn son as Horus.
    • Set appears suddenly, scaring Sadie. He looks more or less human, but with fangs. He has a pleasant laugh instead of the scary laugh she remembers from the museum.
    • Set says he's there to celebrate, and he has wolf-headed minions bring in a giant, ornate coffin… just like the one that swallowed Sadie's dad in the British Museum. She's definitely freaked out.
    • Set talks up the sleeping casket and the expensive materials it's made from, saying it's a gift for whomever can fit perfectly inside it.
    • All the gods try this new game, yet even those who can change their shape don't quite fit.
    • Set flatters Osiris, saying only the best god can fit. Osiris decides to try, despite Isis's warning.
    • When Osiris lowers himself into the box, Sadie thinks that Osiris has her father's face. Then the box snaps shut, boiling lead pours over the coffin, and the coffin sinks into the ground.
    • Set attacks Isis, saying her son will never be born. Suddenly a goddess in blue jumps on Set, distracting him. Set addresses her as his foolish wife and then goes after Isis.
    • Isis turns into a bird and flees, and Set pursues her. Sadie starts seeing the scene as though she is the bird, and she's worried about Set closing in on her.
    • The voice of Isis speaks to Sadie, telling her to escape, to avenge Osiris, and to crown Horus king.
    • Sadie feels like her heart's about to burst, when she suddenly feels a hand on her shoulder.
    • The images disappear, and Sadie sees Iskandar standing next to her. He says, in perfect English, that she'd been about to die.
    • Sadie collapses and loses consciousness.
    • Sadie wakes up at Iskandar's feet by the throne. He tells her she was lucky to survive.
    • Sadie asks whether Iskandar's really that old, and he confirms that he is. He was the last magician to be trained before the House went underground, and many secrets and spells were lost in the process, including the spell used to extend his life.
    • Apparently magicians already live longer-than-normal lives, but Iskandar is unique in that he's been alive for two millennia (2,000 years). Sadie asks if he's immortal, and Iskandar says no. He also has an old-sick-person coughing fit.
    • Iskandar asks Sadie to tell him what she saw in the hall, and Sadie decides that he sounds like a kind person, so she tells him in detail about all the gods she saw. She leaves out the part about the good-looking boy, though, since she's embarrassed about crushing on a stranger.
    • When Sadie finishes, Iskandar tells her that she saw a very old event: Set taking the throne of Egypt and hiding Osiris's body.
    • Isis searched the entire world for the body, and Osiris was resurrected in the underworld, where he became lord of the dead. Horus eventually challenged and defeated Set, too.
    • Iskandar says it's a very old story, one that the gods have repeated many times in their history.
    • Sadie asks what he means by "repeated." Iskandar clarifies: the gods follow patterns, fighting the same fights, with only the settings and their hosts changing.
    • Next Sadie asks about different versions of the story: in her vision, Isis and Osiris were married, and their son was Horus, but in Carter's version, they were all siblings, born to the sky goddess.
    • Iskandar explains that the gods can't be on earth in their pure forms: they must have hosts, which can be people or powerful objects (like artifacts)—but they tend to prefer people. Humans can think creatively, whereas gods get stuck in their patterns.
    • Mortal hosts wear out, though, so while Osiris and Isis were brother and sister the first time they walked the earth, they've also been incarnated in humans who were husband and wife. That time, Horus (who'd been a sibling in a previous life) was their son. Sadie says this is gross.
    • Iskandar says that relationships work differently for the gods; they view human hosts like a change of clothes.
    • It can be dangerous to host gods, though, since they can burn out mortals young. King Tut was an example of a pharaoh channeling a god who died young.
    • Another reason it's dangerous to host gods is that they have their own agendas. Even those born to it could muck it up, leading the magicians to determine that when Egypt fell to Rome, practically no one had the strength to master a god's power anymore.
    • Sadie makes a connection and asks if having the blood of the pharaohs is what makes you likely to be able to unite with a god's power.
    • Iskandar says Sadie reminds him of her mother, who had trained there with him.
    • Apparently Sadie's mother had excelled at divination and had turned up some things that made Iskandar rethink his beliefs. But he drifts off into memory land before clarifying this for Sadie.
    • Finally, Iskandar tells Sadie that there's a hard path ahead for her and Carter, and she should do her best to guide her brother. Zia will help them, too.
    • Iskandar tells Sadie that it's time for her to rest—and for him to rest, too. Sadie falls asleep instantly.
  • Chapter 16

    How Zia Lost Her Eyebrows

    • Bucket of ice water in the face: that's how Sadie wakes up.
    • Zia is yelling at Sadie to get up. Sadie asks if the ice water was necessary, and Zia admits that it probably wasn't.
    • Zia brings Sadie to a large fountain where Carter is waiting. He also looks like he's slept badly, but says he'll tell Sadie about it later.
    • Sadie and Carter are supposed to drink this purified water (purified since it came in contact with Thoth).
    • Sadie is skeptical until she remembers Iskandar saying that gods could inhabit practically anything. After one sip, she feels amazingly energized and alert, so hey, it works.
    • Next, Zia paints tattoos of Ma'at (the symbol of order and harmony) onto their tongues. The blue ink tastes icky.
    • Carter keeps their dad's kit of magicians' tools, while Sadie is issued a new one. Sadie is not thrilled with its contents: a rod that turns into a staff, paper, an ink set, twine, and wax.
    • Sadie complains that she wants a Doughboy, but Zia says that'll come later, when they determine her specialty. When prodded, Zia lists a few specialties: statuary magic, healer, amulet maker, combat magician, and so on.
    • Zia, Sadie, and Carter start with a basic test in the library. The library is full of circular rooms like honeycombs.
    • Zia brings Sadie and Carter to a table and gets out a papyrus scroll and stylus. She explains that the Egyptian word shesh can mean scribe or writer but also magician.
    • Zia instructs Carter and Sadie to write words, sending power into them to make them real.
    • Carter asks if he can write in English, and Zia says any language will work, though hieroglyphs are best, because they're the language of creation and magic. But be careful, Zia warns Carter.
    • Right then, Carter draws a hieroglyph of a bird. It lifts itself off the scroll and splatters Carter's head with ink poop. Sadie laughs, of course.
    • Zia cautions them to leave one part off if they write the name of anything living, because it could come alive. Carter realizes that this is why his father's statue (Doughboy) has missing legs.
    • Next, Carter tries to summon fire and then a sword, but he isn't really successful.
    • Sadie asks whether Iskandar was summoning the hieroglyphs that appear around him. Zia replies that Iskandar is powerful enough that he makes the language of the universe visible simply by being present.
    • Whatever a magician's specialty is, the goal is to become powerful enough that the magician can alter reality simply by speaking, not by having to use a scroll.
    • Sadie asks if that's like saying the word shatter and have a door explode. Yeah, like that, Zia says—except it would take years of practice. Sadie almost says that she's done that, but a warning look from Carter shuts her up.
    • Sadie tries to write something powerful, and she writes the English word fire. Zia leans forward to look at it and caution Sadie against—we never know what, since a giant pillar of flame erupts in Zia's face and singes off her eyebrows.
    • Zia stares at Sadie, pauses, and says that they're ready to duel.
    • Using a portal, Zia takes them to Luxor, which is hundreds of miles from Cairo.
    • Sadie is not impressed, since if you've seen one pile of ruins, you've seen them all. Still, she notices rows of sphinxes and a single obelisk.
    • Carter informs Sadie that the other obelisk of the pair is in Paris. Sadie doesn't care; she just wishes that she were also in Paris.
    • Zia draws two circles in the sand a little distance apart from each other and directs Sadie and Carter to stand in them. The point is to try to use magic to knock each other out of the circles.
    • Zia deflects their concerns and says that the only way to learn magic is to do it. Besides, she'll be keeping an eye on them, so nothing too bad can happen, right?
    • When Zia gives the signal to begin, Sadie whips out her rod, which extends to a full-length staff. She summons fire with it… and instantly collapses, exhausted.
    • According to Zia, Sadie drew on her own reserves rather than on the staff's magic, which is why she's all tired. That's also a big no-no in magic, since you could accidentally use up your life force and literally burn yourself out.
    • Magic can also come from the gods—and here Zia stares intensely at Sadie.
    • This leads Sadie to protest that she doesn't go looking for gods; they just seem to find her.
    • Carter asks about Luxor. This was where the pharaohs would hold ritual processions and host the gods. This place was sacred to his mother's side of the family, apparently.
    • Sadie and Carter do the math and realize that their parents were descended from different royal lines (since their dad resembled Narmer, a pharaoh from a different family).
    • Stunned, they realize that the House of Life magicians believe that Sadie and Carter are hosting gods, since it was something ancestors on both sides of their family used to do.
    • Sadie and Carter confront Zia about this, and she tells them to duel in order to prove to her that their magic is too weak for it to be true.
    • This makes Sadie mad. She's had a terrible few days—she's lost her dad, her uncle, and her cat—so she decides: whatever, she's going to do some magic.
    • Sadie throws her staff at Zia, and it becomes a lion. The lion attacks Carter.
    • Carter summons a giant avatar warrior form like Bast's, but his has the head of a falcon and is golden. He slices up the lion, which turns back into a staff.
    • Both Sadie and Carter realize that they're not tired from doing this kind of magic. Neat.
    • Zia is shocked. She starts to speak but is interrupted by a young initiate from the First Nome.
    • After the initiate gives the news, Zia's eyes are red. She tells Carter and Sadie that Iskandar has died. This is a bummer, but Zia tells them that the real problem is that Desjardins is next in line, and he'll order Sadie and Carter executed for hosting gods.
    • Zia is torn, since she knows Desjardins will order her to bring the kids in, and she is loyal to the house, but… as Sadie says, that's not what Iskandar would have wanted.
    • Sadie briefly relates the part of her conversation with Iskandar when he told her to trust Zia and look to her for help.
    • Zia makes her choice: she tells Sadie and Carter to use the portal to get out of there. They have maybe five minutes before Desjardins has someone kill them.
    • As they run toward the portal, Zia reminds Sadie and Carter that the next time they meet, they'll be enemies.
  • Chapter 17

    A Bad Trip to Paris

    • Carter takes over the story, telling us that before he gets to the fruit bats, he should back up.
    • That night in the dormitory, Carter didn't sleep much, despite using the silly magic headrest. His ba takes a little trip, and suddenly he's watching Amos sneak through a cavern.
    • Red hieroglyphs activate, trapping Amos. Set appears with a bunch of demons and greets Amos with the word bonsoir, which means "good evening" in French. Uh-oh.
    • Carter wakes up, freaked out that Amos has been captured.
    • Rather than sit and stew, Carter decides to walk and stew. He opens the dormitory door with his mind and wanders through the empty marketplace.
    • Zia appears, wrapped in black sparkly magic. She runs through a courtyard, opens a blank section of wall, and disappears inside.
    • Carter is able to follow Zia inside the wall before it solidifies again. He sees Zia kneeling by an altar with old Egyptian stuff as well as modern photographs.
    • Zia is holding a glowing blue sphere in her cupped palms, and then it rises and vanishes.
    • Trapped in the room, Carter suavely says hi. Just kidding: he's awkward as can be.
    • Zia is surprised to see him, and even more surprised when he says he saw her cloaked in black glowing stuff. Apparently he wasn't supposed to see that.
    • Carter looks at the photos and sees a young girl with adults in a rural Egyptian village. He asks Zia if that's her home. It was her home, before it was destroyed by a dangerous artifact.
    • The photos are all Zia has left of her home and family, since she was the only survivor. Iskandar and other magicians had arrived just in time to save her, but not the rest.
    • Zia says she doesn't remember anything about her past, which Carter finds strange, since he remembers a bunch of details about his mom before she died.
    • As Carter and Zia talk, it comes out that Zia doesn't have any friends. She says she doesn't mind being alone. Carter realizes that he's said the same thing, due to his lonely childhood spent traveling.
    • Carter goes out on a limb and tells Zia that he'd like to take her to the mall when this is all over. They can get hamburgers and hang out like normal people do.
    • Zia asks if that would be a date. Carter looks stunned, which makes Zia laugh. She says she's looking forward to this mall thing, and that Carter is either very interesting or very dangerous.
    • Before Carter leaves, he asks what the black shimmery stuff was.
    • Zia replies that it was an invisibility spell, which he shouldn't have been able to see. And the blue sphere? She looks puzzled and says she doesn't know what he's talking about.
    • Carter stops asking questions and finds his way back to the dormitory.
    • Now we're caught up to the part where Carter, Sadie, and Zia are at Luxor, and Zia is urging them to leave.
    • As Carter and Sadie reach the obelisk, a white-robed magician appears and tells them to stop.
    • Sadie starts trying to figure out the obelisk, while Carter draws his sword and braces for conflict.
    • The magician animates the sphinxes lining the path, and a bunch of sphinxes attack Carter.
    • Sadie gets the portal working (first-class to Paris) and disappears into it, while two sphinxes tackle Carter, crushing his ribcage.
    • Carter manages to inch toward the obelisk and touch it with his fingertips, which is enough to transport him to Paris.
    • Next thing he knows, Carter is lying on the damp, hard ground in some square in Paris.
    • Trouble is: he brought two of the sphinxes with him.
    • Suddenly, there's a battle cry involving eating muffins. And a slice.
    • The sphinxes dissolve into smoke. The figure Sadie and Carter see turns out to be Bast. Yay!
  • Chapter 18

    When Fruit Bats Go Bad

    • It's awful rainy weather that day in Paris, so Bast, Carter, and Sadie huddle under a roof in the plaza where the obelisk is.
    • Bast presses her hands against Carter's ribcage, says something in Egyptian, and declares his broken rib to be healed.
    • Carter asks whether they should be worried about more magicians coming after them, but it's unlikely because a) the artifact needs a 12-hour cool-down period before it can be used again, b) no one will think to look for them in Paris, because that's Desjardins' home, and c) their amulets hide and shield them. Bast could only find them because she's sworn to protect Sadie.
    • Next, Carter and Sadie ask how Bast is even alive after her battle with the scorpions. Bast seems touched that they care for her, since she's worked for so many children of pharaohs.
    • Bast says that she managed to slip into the Duat to escape, but by the time she made it back to the museum, Sadie and Carter had been captured.
    • Carter says that they weren't exactly captured, and Bast asks how long it was before the magicians decided to kill them.
    • When Carter says it took about 24 hours, Bast sounds impressed, saying the magicians have become friendlier. They used to obliterate godlings within minutes of finding them.
    • Godlings? Whaaa—?
    • Sadie answers: it's them. They're the godlings. It's why Desjardins wants to kill them.
    • Carter's like, hold the phone, wouldn't they know if they were hosting gods? But then he remembers suddenly being able to fight, plus the voice in his head warning him to hide when Iskandar first met him.
    • Sadie notes that the Rosetta Stone supposedly let out five gods when it shattered. Their amulets were supposed to protect them, but instead of running away, Carter and Sadie were sticking around to help their dad, wishing they had the power to do it.
    • Bast confirms that they pretty much invited the gods in, which apparently makes a difference.
    • Both Sadie and Carter admit that they've been hearing voices.
    • Sadie pulls out her amulet, and even though she's probably never heard the term before, she correctly identifies it as the Knot of Isis.
    • Then Sadie realizes that in her vision in the Hall of Ages, she saw an image of Isis, and then she was Isis, and then—oh boy, it's Isis in her head, isn't it?
    • Carter wonders why a goddess would want to possess his punk sister, but then he thinks about his own situation. He thinks: Horus? And the god answers him in his head. Carter freaks out.
    • Bast says that this is good progress. When Carter and Sadie complain about not wanting gods in their heads, Bast clarifies that each of them only has a piece of the god's spirit inside.
    • Further, Bast says that their goals are the same: Carter and Sadie want to save their dad by defeating Set, and Isis and Horus want to avenge Osiris by defeating Set.
    • Carter asks why, if he's got a god inside him, he's so slow to pick up all the cool powers.
    • Bast replies that it'll take practice… or he could let Horus have control.
    • Horus talks to Carter in his head and says that Carter could totally trust him with his body, that Horus would take good care of it and defeat Set. Carter's response is: nuh-uh, not happening.
    • The conversation turns to Amos, who's been captured by Set. It seems that when Set manifested in the museum, he took Desjardins as his host.
    • This is logical, according to Bast, since Desjardins is very powerful and very angry.
    • Whatever they're going to do to stop Set, Sadie and Carter have to accomplish it before the third of the Demon Days, which is Set's birthday and the time when his power is strongest.
    • Bast says that Sadie and Carter are powerful due to their bloodlines, but hosting gods makes them uber-powerful, and the more they channel the gods, the more powerful they'll become.
    • But, Carter asks, the more dangerous it'll become too, right?
    • Bast says yeah, it's rare to have the power to successfully host gods, but at this point, they may not be able to survive without the gods' powers. She cautions Sadie and Carter not to repeat their mother's mistake.
    • Bast says that when their parents released Bast at Cleopatra's Needle, the energy backlash would've killed them if their mother hadn't thrown up a shield. But it came from her own energy, which burned her up from the inside. Bast had offered to merge with their mother, but she'd refused, and died instead.
    • That was unpleasant to hear, but Sadie and Carter are still determined to defeat Set.
    • Bast says that there's a rare spell book, a Book of Thoth, that tells of ways to defeat Set, and it's in the possession of a certain magician. Which magician? Desjardins, of course.
    • Sadie, Carter, and Bast make their way to his giant house in Paris. Oddly, the front door is red, which is usually a color with bad associations in ancient Egypt.
    • Because the house is protected against gods, Bast can't go in. Carter and Sadie can, though, because their humanity makes the spell ineffective against them. Bast suggests that they fly in.
    • Since Isis and Horus have bird forms, all Carter and Sadie have to do is imagine they're birds.
    • Carter imagines that he's a falcon… and the next time he opens his eyes, he is. The bird standing next to him is Sadie in kite-form.
    • Flying feels amazing. Sadie and Carter fly up to the roof of Casa Desjardins and into the library.
    • Carter's able to turn back into himself, but Sadie's still a bird. Carter starts looking around on his own, but it's such a huge library that he can't find anything until he asks Doughboy for help.
    • Doughboy locates an ancient scroll that he thinks is super powerful. It turns out to be a spell for summoning fruit bats.
    • The next thing Sadie and Carter find is a painting of a guy with a lot of facial hair. Doughboy IDs him as Champollion, the dude who cracked the hieroglyphic code using the Rosetta Stone. He's also the great uncle of Desjardins, making Desjardins at least 200 years old.
    • Champollion's family was the first non-magical family to stumble upon and work magic, so his descendants have been accepted for training in the House of Life ever since.
    • Apparently, this is another reason Desjardins has been so hostile: since he's a newcomer to magic, he's a tad insecure. Plus, destroying the Rosetta Stone was an insult to his family's honor.
    • Doughboy finally locates the Book of Thoth, but it's booby-trapped. As soon as Carter grabs it, hundreds of fruit bats drop from the ceiling.
    • Carter shoves the book into his bag, turns back into a bird, and he and Sadie get out of there. They find Bast and hit the ground running, pursued by a black cloud of fruit bats. The closest portal is in the Louvre, a few blocks away.
  • Chapter 19

    A Picnic in the Sky

    • Sadie grabs the mic from Carter in order to continue narrating.
    • Bast tells Sadie that they only have seconds to open the portal. They run towards the Louvre and see the giant glass pyramid in the courtyard.
    • Sadie has a what? moment. Since the pyramid is made of glass, it can't be a real pyramid, right? Nope—Bast says that the shape makes the pyramid, since the whole point of any pyramid is that it's a ramp to the heavens.
    • When Bast, Carter, and Sadie reach the pyramid, Isis asks (in Sadie's mind) where Sadie wishes to go. As Bast and Carter are busily battling bats, Sadie's like: I don't care. America.
    • Before Sadie can get through the portal, however, the magicians chasing them show up and say not to trust the cat goddess, who has endangered them all.
    • Bast looks contrite, indicating that there's a grain of truth in what they say, but Sadie wants to go after Carter, who's already entered the portal, so she does.
    • Sadie wakes up in a boring conference room. She finds Carter and Bast standing by the window, looking out over Washington, D.C.
    • Why D.C.? According to Bast, Sadie didn't specify where in America she wanted the portal to lead to, so they landed in the default portal for the U.S., the Washington Monument (it's the biggest obelisk in the country).
    • Sadie, Carter, and Bast decide to hunker down, since no one can use that same portal just yet… but Set's minions and the magicians will eventually come after them.
    • Bast conjures a picnic for them: Friskies and milk. Sadie and Carter have to remind her that they prefer people food, not cat food. Bast makes some sandwiches, chips, and soda appear.
    • Sadie, Carter, and Bast talk about how powerful the monument is. These kinds of things can be used to open gates, release powerful beings, or—as Sadie points out—trap them. The way Bast was trapped in Cleopatra's Needle, perhaps?
    • Bast clarifies that she wasn't actually trapped in the obelisk. Her prison was deep in the Duat, but the obelisk was the door their parents used to release her.
    • Sadie asks Bast what the magician at the Louvre meant when he said Bast abandoned her post.
    • Bast doesn't look happy to reply. Finally, she says that she wasn't imprisoned alone; she was locked up with a creature of chaos (which is something magicians like to do, so that the god and monster are too busy fighting each other to try to escape).
    • Sadie asks whether the monster got out, and Bast replies that no, it wasn't possible: their mother's last act of magic sealed the gate.
    • Before the discussion goes further, Bast goes out to scout. Carter and Sadie both think she's hiding something.
    • Sadie tells Carter that their mom realized something important and wanted to act on it: that's probably what their parents were doing at Cleopatra's Needle. If releasing Bast was not the most important thing they could've done (it might have been more of a side effect), maybe their main task was unfinished—and that's what their father tried to do at the British Museum.
    • Tired as she is, Sadie falls asleep right away. Her ba decides to go wandering.
  • Chapter 20

    I Visit the Star-Spangled Goddess

    • This is Sadie's first time on a ba-trip, so it's pretty disturbing to her when her soul hovers above her body and she gets to see how dirty and ratty she looks.
    • Sadie tries to get her ba to settle into a normal human form instead of a demented chicken. It works, and she looks like a see-through version of herself.
    • The currents of the Duat sweep her away, and the next thing she sees is a dark void—followed by that yummy-looking pale guy she'd seen in her vision in the Hall of Ages.
    • When she manages to find her voice and ask what he's doing there, he replies that spirit travel and death are very similar. Then he opens a door and ushers Sadie through.
    • Sadie finds herself standing in a flat (apartment) in the middle of the sky: there are no walls, there's no ceiling, and she can see through the floor to the ground far, far below.
    • The place is nicely decorated, with paintings supported by invisible walls, and comfy-looking couches. A woman is making tea in one corner.
    • The woman greets Sadie, and once Sadie gets a look at her, she realizes that this is Nut, the sky goddess.
    • Nut invites Sadie to have some sahlab with her. Sahlab is an Egyptian drink like hot chocolate but with vanilla instead. They sit and talk.
    • Sadie asks whether Nut is inside a human host. Nut says that the sky itself is her body, and this is merely a manifestation. Since Nut is essentially a spirit of the air, the House never managed to catch and imprison her.
    • Nut gets to her first point: a battle between the gods and magicians would only feed the forces of chaos, which would be bad for everyone.
    • Sadie agrees that they've got to defeat Set—but Nut says it's not necessarily that simple. Set is one of her children, too. In fact, Set used to fight under Ra, and Set joined the other gods to fight Apophis, the serpent of chaos, who was truly evil.
    • While talking about family, Nut bitterly describes how she is kept apart forever from her husband Geb as punishment for having kids together. She's exiled to the sky, while he cannot leave the earth.
    • Nut suggests that Sadie seek out Thoth, who is currently living in Memphis. As she's a sky goddess, Nut guarantees safe passage, and she gives Sadie three first-class airplane tickets.
    • Before Sadie goes, Nut reminds her that she bore five children during the Demon Days. If Julius had released them all, where is the fifth? Nut warns Sadie about Set's minion closing in, too.
    • Nut also asks a favor of Sadie: to deliver a letter to Geb if she sees him. Sadie agrees.
    • When Sadie wakes up, she tells Carter and Bast about her vision and finds the airline tickets and sealed letter in her magician's bag.
    • As for Set's minion… Carter looks out the window and says that it's here.
  • Chapter 21

    Aunt Kitty to the Rescue

    • Carter takes over narrating, telling us that he's seen pictures of the Set animal before, but they don't really do it justice. The creature was horse-sized with a reptilian tail. It has rabbit-like ears, a snout like an anteater, glowing red eyes, and sharp teeth.
    • The creature starts to climb up the building's walls, so Bast breaks a window and tells Carter and Sadie to fly away.
    • Sadie, however, is frightened to become a bird again, worried she'll get stuck in that shape.
    • Bast leaps out of the building, lands softly (since she's a cat), and draws the Set animal away from them.
    • Carter and Sadie turn into birds and glide to the airport. On top of a parking structure, Carter turns back into himself while Sadie… doesn't. She's freaking out and flapping her wings, and Carter tries to keep her calm.
    • Carter starts talking to Sadie like he would to a scared animal, but then he finds himself telling her all about his life with their father: their various travels, from the funny to the embarrassing.
    • It seems like Sadie's listening and calming down, but she's still a bird. So Carter uses the leather bag their father's magic box was in as a gauntlet in order to let Sadie perch on his arm.
    • A policeman stops Carter. Aware that he looks strange, Carter is polite, saying that he has tickets. But Bast actually has their tickets, so the policeman asks Carter to come with him.
    • Right then, Bast shows up in expensive-looking clothes. After "Aunt Kitty" convinces the policeman that they're legit, she steers Carter into the terminal, saying they only have a few minutes before the Set animal shows up.
    • As they proceed toward security, Bast advises Carter to stow his stuff in the Duat, since magicians can access parts of the Duat for both travel and storage.
    • Carter imagines a locker with the combination 13/32/33 (those are retired Lakers numbers) and puts his father's magic box inside. The box disappears from sight in the mortal world.
    • However, when he asks Bast if she's sure that he can get it back, she says no. And on they go.
  • Chapter 22

    Leroy Meets the Locker of Doom

    • Just as they get through security, people start screaming. One lady sees the Set animal and screams that there's a rabid moose on the loose.
    • Carter wonders why it looks like a moose to them, and Bast says that mortals might perceive anything when confronted with magic. The idea spreads by the power of suggestion, and soon the whole security line is freaking out about the rabid moose.
    • Seeing people getting tossed around by the Set monster, Carter decides that he can't let it hurt innocents. He decides to take a stand, despite how terrifying the monster is.
    • He pulls his sword from the Duat. Now armed, Carter starts to taunt the Set monster to draw its attention. He nicknames it Leroy, which apparently the monster doesn't like.
    • Carter engages his falcon avatar warrior suit to battle the Set monster, but still takes a few hits. The locker idea is still fresh in Carter's mind, so he imagines opening a huge space in his metaphorical locker and shoves the Set animal in. It disappears from the mortal world.
    • Carter makes it onto the plane right before they close the doors. When Bast asks for a recap, she's super impressed that he had the strength to transport the monster.
    • Bast says a few words to heal Carter's wounded arm. He passes out as the plane takes off.
    • Carter's soul takes a trip when he's asleep. His ba returns to Phoenix, and finds a crevice in a mountain leading to a hollowed-out cavern in which a giant red pyramid is being constructed.
    • Carter sees two figures. One is Set, clothed all in red but not on fire or black and slimy like in previous visions. The other is the rooster-footed demon Carter's seen in visions before.
    • They're talking about the timeline for completing the pyramid, and Set demands that it be done at sunrise of his birthday—so that it will serve as the final tomb of Osiris. Bad news.
    • The demon suggests that Set shouldn't stop with just Osiris but should also attempt to release even more chaos energy. That would mean rounding up and sacrificing the other gods who were released from the Rosetta Stone. Set likes the plan.
    • The demon says it's time to put Amos Kane into play, and they'll have a nice little family reunion.
    • Set says this while looking directly at Carter, and addresses his last sentence to him. Carter freaks out and tries to fly away but sits paralyzed as Set reaches out to grab him.
  • Chapter 23

    Professor Thoth's Final Exam

    • Sadie claims the mic, saying that Carter dropped it in a pit of—never mind, back to the story.
    • Sadie's human again by the time Carter wakes up on the plane. Carter pouring out his soul to her when she was a bird did actually help her regain human form.
    • However, that wasn't what caused Sadie return to human form: it was imagining their mother alive—and imagining being able to walk around with her doing normal things like shopping—that reminded Sadie of what's important in life.
    • Carter tells them about his vision about Set. Bast thinks something sounds weird about Set's plan to destroy a good chunk of the continent in a bid for power. Yeah, Set always wants more power, but if he destroys the earth, there'll be no one for him to rule.
    • Still sounding disturbed, Bast says to ask Thoth about it. She'll accompany them to Thoth's place in Memphis but won't go with them to meet him, since apparently they don't get along.
    • Bast rents a convertible and she, Carter, and Sadie cruise through Memphis.
    • As Sadie gets her first glimpse of the South, she is totally weirded out (exhibit A: chicken and waffles).
    • Sadie and Carter ask Bast where they're likely to find Thoth, and she instructs them to look for a center of learning, like a library, or the stash of books in a dead magician's tomb. Sadie points out the University of Memphis, and so they drive there. The campus is deserted (winter break?).
    • Carter leads them toward the sounds of basketball. All the players turn out to be baboons. No, really. They recognize Khufu and have a joyful reunion.
    • Bast translates for them, so that the kids can tell Khufu where they've been, and Khufu can tell them where he's been.
    • After the Brooklyn house was destroyed, Khufu waited around for Amos. When Amos didn't come back, Khufu made his way to Memphis, since baboons are under Thoth's protection.
    • Khufu says he'll take them to Thoth once Carter keeps his promise to play a round of basketball with him.
    • Bast then takes off, saying that she'll find them afterward—if they survive their encounter with Thoth.
    • Sadie watches Carter get whooped by the baboons, and even though she knows little about basketball, she can see that Carter's screwing up left and right. Schooled by monkeys!
    • Khufu leads them into a science building, and into an office with "Dr. Thoth" on the door. They go into a giant lab with equipment and experiments lying around. There are also half a dozen ibises (long-necked birds) typing up manuscripts.
    • When Khufu cries out, a lanky man in a lab coat comes down to meet them. First he says to Khufu that he's figured out that this is not Memphis, Egypt, and that there are magical things called blues music and barbecue.
    • Next he looks at the kids and greets Isis and Horus, saying that they've found new bodies.
    • Sadie says that they're not like that, and the man says that he's not fooled—Isis always finds a way to be in control.
    • Again, Sadie protests: Isis is not in control. After Thoth gets sidetracked going on about names and scholarship, Sadie tells him that they need help defeating Set.
    • This offends Thoth again, since last time he tried to fight Set, it went poorly. Thoth relates how Horus challenged Set to a duel, and Set stabbed out Horus's eye. Thoth replaced it with an eye made out of moonlight, which became the symbolic Eye of Horus.
    • Then Isis tried to convince Horus not to fight Set while he was recovering from the injury, but Horus got mad and chopped off Isis's head. Must've been just a flesh wound.
    • The point is, Thoth says, that the battle nearly destroyed the world, and that Set will find a way to turn the gods against each other again using the forces of chaos.
    • During this speech, Isis whispers things in Sadie's head, and Sadie tells Isis to shut up.
    • This gets Thoth's attention: it looks like Sadie really is trying to keep Isis from gaining control. Thoth cautions Sadie that Isis is power-hungry and will eventually get the upper hand.
    • For instance, Isis probably hasn't told Sadie that she's the reason Set got out of control in the beginning. Isis mixed a poison to put the sun god Ra in so much pain that he would agree to give her his secret name in order to get some relief.
    • Isis healed Ra but forced him to retire to the heavens so that her husband, Osiris, could become the new king of the gods. Set had been serving under Ra, but he couldn't stand to see his brother Osiris have such power, so they've been fighting ever since.
    • Sadie tells Thoth about her journey in an effort to convince him to help. Thoth seems to be all about keeping the balance, and if Set destroys half the world, obviously the balance is gone.
    • Sadie thinks her mom persuaded Iskandar that locking up the gods was wrong, because something bad was coming—something that gods and mortals needed to work together to fight.
    • Thoth asks what is coming. The rise of Set?
    • Sadie admits that she doesn't know for sure. This convinces Thoth that Sadie is in fact in charge, since Isis would never admit to not knowing something.
    • Thoth says that he'll explain the spell book they need to defeat Set—if the kids can pass a test proving that they are in control of their gods, not the other way around.
    • The task is to retrieve an item from the tomb of a magician. Thoth summons a portal (gods can do that during the Demon Days, even if mortals can't) and sends Sadie and Carter away, promising barbecue if they succeed.
  • Chapter 24

    I Blow Up Some Blue Suede Shoes

    • Carter and Sadie see a large estate. It has fancy metal gates with guitars and music notes on them.
    • Carter recognizes it: it's Graceland, Elvis Presley's home. The tomb of a great magician, indeed.
    • As they walk up, Carter tells Sadie that their dad took him here once, insisting that Elvis was musically important. Sadie realizes that she's a bit jealous: their dad never took her anywhere.
    • Before Carter and Sadie walk inside, they see two magicians with wands coming up the driveway. The kids dart inside and try to hide.
    • Carter and Sadie split up, but Carter is turned into a lizard almost immediately. Sadie puts him in her pocket and keeps looking. She ends up in the trophy room but can't find anything that seems magical. Then she realizes that the magicians have her surrounded.
    • Isis offers to take over and blast their enemies into dust, but Sadie refuses. She remembers Zia saying that magicians use whatever they have on hand, so she makes the darkness in the room even darker.
    • The two magicians stumble around and curse because they can't see. As they talk to each other, they call each other by name: Jerrod and Wayne. Very classy.
    • Sadie then notices the glass displays full of Elvis's suits and calls on them to defend their house. The suits get up and start beating on the magicians. It's a bit like substitutiary locomotion, right?
    • Sadie makes her way outside to Elvis's tomb, but one of the magicians follows her. They duel. Sadie manages to tap into Isis's power. She knocks down the magician, only to have the other magician (the one in the cowboy hat) show up and force her staff out of her hand.
    • Isis quickly suggests that Sadie use rope, since every magician carries it. Sadie grabs the rope from her bag, and it twines around his whole body, immobilizing him.
    • Even though Isis urges Sadie to finish him off, Sadie simply tells the magician to be silent.
    • Sadie manages to transform Carter back into his human self. Carter points to the magicians and asks how she managed to do it. "It" turns out to mean turning the magicians into clay.
    • Carter figures out that the magicians are both shabti, clay servants, who'd been enchanted to look and act human. Little orbs of fire emerge from their mouths. Guess what? Thoth had been testing them.
    • Sadie and Carter find an ankh, the Egyptian symbol of life, on the tomb. That must be what they were sent to get. Attached to it is a scroll showing a cat holding a knife and slicing off a serpent's head.
    • The serpent is Apophis, the embodiment of the chaos and evil that could devour the sun and end the world. The Cat of Ra was supposed to be able to kill it, but the cat would have to kill it over and over again, since the gods repeat things in patterns.
    • Sadie and Carter realize that the Cat of Ra is… Bast.
    • Right then, a portal appears, and they return to talk to Thoth.
  • Chapter 25

    We Win an All-Expense-Paid Trip to Death

    • Carter takes over the narration in order to tell us how awful it is to be turned into a lizard. Worse, he feels like a complete loser for not contributing to their magician battle at all. On top of that, he was owned in basketball by baboons earlier in the day.
    • The portal takes Carter and Sadie to a giant glass-and-metal pyramid by a river instead of to Thoth's office. However, Thoth is there, setting up some barbecue. He is also playing an electric guitar. Horribly.
    • Turns out they're at the Pyramid Arena of Memphis. It's been abandoned, but Thoth declares that he's moving in.
    • Sadie and Carter give Thoth the ankh, and Sadie confronts Thoth about how he was testing them.
    • Thoth says that shabti make great stunt doubles, and he needed to know for certain that they could handle themselves in battle without unleashing the power of the gods within them.
    • Carter tries to get Thoth to explain the painting of the cat, but Thoth is annoyingly evasive.
    • Finally, Thoth agrees to look over the magic spell. He says it's an incantation for destroying Set (duh), but that it'll only banish him from the mortal world for a time. Centuries, perhaps.
    • According to Thoth, Carter and Sadie can only read the incantation in Set's presence. Plus, they'll need two ingredients: Set's secret name and a feather of truth.
    • The secret name is going to be tough to get, because how are they going to trick Set into giving up the secret name that'll give them power over him? Someone close to his heart might know it, which makes Carter and Sadie think of Nephthys, who was also probably released from the Rosetta Stone.
    • The feather is also going to be trouble. Carter explains what it is to Sadie. When people died in ancient Egypt, they had to make a dangerous journey to reach the Land of the Dead. There, their hearts (representing how they lived their lives) were weighed against a feather of truth. If they passed the test? Eternal happiness. If they failed? Their souls were devoured.
    • Thoth tells Carter and Sadie that they can probably get to the Land of the Dead via river travel, since that's how it's usually done. Khufu volunteers to come with them. Thoth tells them that children of the pharaoh always have metaphysical boat access. A boat appears.
    • Thoth wishes them luck, and Khufu, Sadie, and Carter board the mysterious boat.
  • Chapter 26

    Aboard the Egyptian Queen

    • Carter tells us that the boat is actually pretty cool: it has multiple decks, painted railings, and paddlewheels. The name of the boat, painted on its side, is Egyptian Queen. The boat also has painted-on eyes that move as though alive.
    • Bast is waving to Carter and Sadie from the highest deck. Standing next to her is a dude with the body of a man but an axe for a head. A battle-axe. With bloodstains.
    • The ship pulls up, and the kids see that moving balls of fire are doing all the work on board.
    • Bast hugs them, and they recap their time with Thoth. She says she's not happy to be on the boat again. Again?
    • Carter, Sadie, and Bast enter a banquet room with an awesome buffet laid out. The axe-dude enters, addresses the kids as Lord and Lady Kane, and introduces himself as Bloodstained Blade.
    • According to Bast, Carter and Sadie can only summon the boat once a year and in times of great need. Also, they have to give the captain very clear directions if they're to arrive safely. The captain hints that Bast has left some information out.
    • Carter asks Bloodstained Blade to take them to the Hall of Judgment in the Land of the Dead, and the captain agrees and exits. The kids and monkey eat, but Bast only picks at her food.
    • Finally, Carter asks Bast about what the captain had meant.
    • Bast reluctantly tells the whole truth: the last time she'd been on this boat was the night their mother died. After the accident, Julius brought Bast on the boat, and they made a deal.
    • Looking closely at Bast, Carter makes a connection: Bast wasn't fighting just any chaos monster when she was freed from the obelisk. She was fighting Apophis: the primeval force of chaos.
    • Sadie asks why Bast had kept the truth from them.
    • At first, Bast says, it had been an honor to be the Eye of Ra, the sun god's warrior cat. The first Eye of Ra was Sekhmet, but she had been too violent and uncontrollable, so Bast replaced her.
    • When Ra withdrew to the heavens, his last act was to put Bast in an abyss to fight Apophis.
    • Carter realizes then that Bast isn't just a minor deity: she had been imprisoned longer than any of the other gods. Her release was a significant, intentional act.
    • Bast talks more about being imprisoned with the serpent Apophis: they battled eternally in darkness, and while she was proud to fulfill Ra's command at first, she began to weaken.
    • Ra's plan must have been to have the two destroy each other, so that he could withdraw to the heavens with peace of mind, knowing Apophis would no longer be a threat.
    • However, the Kanes realized that Bast was weakening. Ruby foresaw that terrible things would happen if Bast were defeated. So the Kanes released Bast to give her time to heal.
    • Ruby's death should have sealed the gate, leaving Apophis still trapped inside… but signs began to point in the other direction. Bast feels ashamed at leaving her post and ditching her duty, but it was the only way to survive.
    • Sadie and Carter both tell Bast that she shouldn't feel bad for taking her chance to escape, but she keeps saying that she's a coward and should have been proud to serve her king.
    • This leads Carter to say that she had a stupid king. The whole boat suddenly shudders!
    • Bast cautions Carter that the whole world hinges on order, Ma'at, being upheld, part of which is loyalty to your rightful king.
    • Then Horus scolds Carter in his head, saying that Carter is having unworthy thoughts.
    • This makes Carter feel unworthy, too, so he just goes to bed. Guess what—it's another ba field trip.
    • Carter's soul goes up to where the pilot of the boat should be, but instead of Bloodstained Blade, a young man in armor stands at the wheel.
    • The guy—who is totally ripped and carries a sword like Carter's—points out that rivers are treacherous. Boats are painted with his eyes so they can see the dangers.
    • Carter realizes that this guy is Horus. Indeed, his eyes are two different colors: one golden like the sun, the other silver like the moon.
    • Horus says that Carter is wondering if order is better than chaos, and this is distracting him from their real enemy: Set. Indeed, Horus thinks Carter should be taught a lesson.
    • Before Carter can object, his ba is taken to a new place: a large airplane.
    • Carter recognizes Zia, Desjardins, and two other magicians from the House of Life.
    • Thunder begins to shake the plane, and the magicians realize that a storm of Set is attacking them. The plane starts to plummet.
    • Desjardins orders the magicians to protect the innocents. Even as the plane breaks apart, the magicians keep the interior intact and keep everyone inside and alive (though asleep).
    • Zia saves the day by landing the plane in a field outside Dallas but then collapses from the effort. The other magicians grab her and run before anyone wakes up.
    • Carter's ba then flies through Phoenix, where he hears Set's diabolical laughter.
    • Carter sees Brooklyn next, where Amos's house lies ruined. Finally, Carter sees a river in a desert canyon. Something powerful and scary is moving under the water's surface.
    • Horus tells Carter that this is only the beginning, and Set will destroy everyone he cares about.
    • The river becomes a marsh, and we see a ten-year-old boy and a woman looking at an old sarcophagus. The woman has Carter's mother's face, but Carter knows that she is Isis.
    • The woman tells the boy (Horus) that they've finally retrieved Osiris, and that she will use her magic to bring him back to life.
    • Suddenly the hut explodes, and Set steps out of the fire. He knocks both the woman and the boy to the ground and splinters Osiris's coffin into multiple shards that scatter to the wind. Isis and Horus take flight as birds as Set attacks them.
    • The scene returns to the riverboat. Horus tells Carter that Set destroyed his father and will do the same to Carter's father.
    • According to Horus, Isis and Nephthys collected all fourteen pieces of Osiris's body but couldn't bring him fully back to life, so Osiris became lord of the undead. His loss gave Horus strength, however, so Horus was able to defeat Set and take the throne. Horus wants Carter to do the same. Carter says he doesn't want a throne; he just wants to save his dad.
    • Horus tells Carter not to deceive himself: Set will use his despair and sorrow against him. Then Carter wakes up.
    • Bast tells Carter that they've sailed down the Mississippi and into the Duat. Now they're at the First Cataract: the entrance to the Land of the Dead.
  • Chapter 27

    A Demon with Free Samples

    • Sadie takes over the story to tell us that she has slept like the dead— which she hopes isn't a sign of things to come. Carter looks like he's had unpleasant dreams, so Sadie asks if he's seen Zia in a vision. He looks so upset that she takes it as a yes.
    • Carter and Sadie follow Bast up to the main deck and find Khufu steering according to Bloodstained Blade's directions. As they watch, the river turns to blood.
    • The map Bloodstained Blade is using to guide them is a copy of The Book of the Dead, which Carter describes for Sadie as sort of like an Idiot's Guide to the Afterlife for ancient Egyptians.
    • After some rapids, the boat passes into the Land of the Dead proper.
    • Sadie asks why the ghosts look so sad and confused. Bast says that they're lost without Ra, who used to travel this route every night, fighting the serpent Apophis. Ra's presence would bring sunlight and warmth to the Duat, comforting the dead. But this doesn't happen anymore.
    • Carter asks how that's possible, since we know the earth orbits the sun, not the other way around.
    • Bast reminds Carter that conflicting stories can both be true.
    • Khufu interrupts this philosophical discussion to let them know that a challenge is coming.
    • The shore starts to come into sight, when suddenly the water boils, and a large figure erupts, a cross between lion and man. His fangs drip with blood.
    • The lion-man identifies himself as Shezmu, and says that he smells the blood of the pharaohs. Are they going to be his snack, or will they name him?
    • Carter scrambles off to look in The Book of the Dead, and Sadie gets to stall for time.
    • Sadie asks Shezmu what his titles and duties are, with Isis encouraging her in her mind.
    • Shezmu proudly states that he is the Lord of Blood and Wine—and also the Lord of Perfume. He offers Sadie a free sample of his perfume.
    • While Sadie keeps Shezmu talking about blood (apparently his favorite subject), he admits that he doesn't have any friends. If he did, though, they'd call him Slaughterer of Souls, Fierce of Face.
    • Right as Carter appears, Sadie names Shezmu: Slaughterer of Souls, Fierce of Face.
    • The demon lets them pass, bummed that he doesn't get to eat them.
    • The boat continues on and reaches the Lake of Fire, which is exactly what it sounds like.
  • Chapter 28

    I Have a Date with the God of Toilet Paper

    • Before the boat can go from the river to the lake, it needs to pass through a giant bronze gate.
    • As Sadie wonders aloud how they will get past the gate, someone pops up saying perhaps they should ask him. It's a ba, but the face and voice are familiar: it's Iskandar.
    • Sadie tears up and asks Iskandar why he died—it wasn't her fault, was it? He says it wasn't.
    • As they talk, Iskandar says that he regrets not realizing sooner what was happening, so that he might have protected them as much as—
    • Who? Iskandar doesn't say. He just says that he'd had to make difficult choices.
    • Sadie asks whether her mom convinced him that forbidding the gods was a bad idea.
    • Iskandar says that it seemed like a good idea at the time, when Egypt had fallen to Rome. It worked for the next two thousand years.
    • But Sadie's mother foresaw a great imbalance that would allow chaos to overthrow Ma'at and destroy all of Creation. Only reuniting magicians and gods could prevent it. Iskandar wasn't willing to act on it, but Sadie's parents were, and they sacrificed their lives for it.
    • For that, Iskandar apologizes. Sadie reflects that it's rare for adults that old to admit that they were wrong, so she accepts Iskandar's apology and asks what she should do next.
    • According to Iskandar, the choice rests with Sadie and Carter. The upcoming clash between order and chaos will be more violent than it has been in eons, and Sadie and Carter will have a crucial role to play (which their mother also foresaw).
    • Iskandar says that he'll let them pass, since he's assessed Sadie's courage and found plenty of it.
    • The gates open, and the boat goes toward a small island: the Hall of Judgment.
    • Sadie and Carter say goodbye to Bloodstained Blade, who vanishes. As they walk into a black temple, Bast says she can smell the Dog. Then something from the shadows tackles her, and she vanishes.
    • Up walks a black canine sort of creature—a jackal, Sadie realizes. Then it turns into a boy, the same pale (and hot) boy Sadie had run into twice in visions.
    • Because Sadie is crushing on this guy and can't think of anything to say, she's relieved when Carter addresses him as Anubis and tells him they need a feather of truth.
    • Anubis identifies Carter and Sadie as Horus and Isis and asks if they intend to challenge Set. Carter says yes and asks for Anubis's help. Anubis says he won't help them, and he'll show them why. They follow him deeper into the gloom.
    • In the center of the temple is a great room with a giant set of scales. They appear to be broken.
    • Sleeping at the base of the scales is a poodle-sized monster with the head of a crocodile, the middle body of a lion, and the back parts of a hippo. It's Ammit the Devourer.
    • However, Sadie also perceives another layer of the hall: it looks like a graveyard, with tombs and moss and other outdoors things like cypress trees.
    • When Sadie mentions this, she realizes that she and Anubis are in a New Orleans graveyard. Anubis says that he feels a connection with New Orleans. The funeral rituals there are very similar to those of ancient Egypt—and he should know, since he's the god of funerals.
    • Anubis says he brought Sadie here to talk. He summons a long white ribbon that wraps itself into a bench. Sadie's first thought is that it's toilet paper, but she realizes that it's mummy wrappings.
    • Back to business: Sadie asks for a feather of truth. Anubis refuses, because it's too dangerous for a mortal to have one—and besides, Osiris forbids it. Sadie asks where Osiris is now and finds out that Set is Anubis's father.
    • Anubis asks whether Sadie is always this infuriating, and he also asks why her family hasn't married her off to someone far, far away yet. Sadie retorts that Anubis may know everything about funeral rituals, but he's not up to date on courtship rituals.
    • Then Sadie returns to the discussion of Set being Anubis's father. Anubis says yeah, it's true, but that his mother (Nephthys) basically gave him to Osiris so that Osiris could raise him. But Anubis was really different from his cousin Horus.
    • Anubis talks a bit more about how kind Osiris was to him, and how the Land of the Dead has gone bad with Osiris gone. Sadie uses this as a chance to try to persuade Anubis to give her a feather of truth so that she can set things right.
    • Anubis agrees on a few conditions: only Sadie can handle the feather, she must listen to Nephthys if she communicates with her, and she must answer three questions while holding the feather in order to prove that she can be honest (since lying while holding it will destroy her).
    • Anubis hands her the feather and asks if she's ready. Sadie says no and asks if that's the first question. Anubis agrees that it can be and tells Sadie that she bargains like a Phoenician trader. We're not sure if that's a good thing or not.
    • Second question: would Sadie give her life for her brother? She answers yes, surprising herself a little.
    • Third and final question: is Sadie prepared to lose her father if it means saving the world? Sadie struggles to answer this one, and feels super guilty when she finally says that yes, she would choose to save the world over her father.
    • Anubis commends her for having the strength to tell the truth, painful as it is. He says he'll leave her now, as they only have 24 hours before Set's birthday. Before they part, though, he teases Sadie that maybe she can bring him up to speed on modern courtship rituals.
    • When Sadie reappears in the Hall of the Dead, Carter asks whether she got the feather. She says that she did and then storms off to find Bast, because now she has to tell the truth if asked—and she doesn't want to tell the truth if it's about Anubis.
  • Chapter 29

    Zia Sets a Rendezvous

    • Carter complains about how Sadie got to tell an interesting part of the story about the Land of the Dead, and he's stuck narrating Interstate 10 through Texas.
    • Basically, it was a long and boring drive. Sadie, Carter, and Bast left New Orleans in a borrowed van, having decided (after Carter's vision) that airplanes might not be a good idea, since Set loves storms.
    • However, the House of Life magicians are also after them. The more Carter thinks about Desjardins, the more he's confused: sure, the dude is angry and arrogant, making him a good host for Set, but he also saved all those people on the plane, which doesn't seem like typical behavior for someone hosting a god of chaos and destruction.
    • Bast and Khufu take turns driving while Sadie and Carter rest. Yes, baboons can drive, apparently.
    • Bast is upset because she abandoned Sadie and Carter in the Land of the Dead, thus breaking the promise she'd made to their father to protect them.
    • This is a big deal, since Carter and Sadie are the most powerful magical children born in centuries. According to Bast, they're the best candidates to reconcile the House of Life and the gods before stuff gets crazy and Set destroys the world.
    • About that: Bast has a plan. But it's dangerous. Duh.
    • Carter heads to the back porch of the RV to practice with his sword. Horus starts coaching him with swordplay. It's pretty cool to have a warrior god giving you fighting tips.
    • Horus warns Carter that in addition to the incoming fight with Set, another challenge approaches. Carter already kind of knew this, based on his last ba vision: something will go down at a river. Suddenly, a vision of Zia appears. She doesn't have much time to talk, but she wants to tell Carter that the magicians are after them and that they know to go to Phoenix.
    • Carter first thinks that the magicians are also coming to fight Set, but Zia corrects him: they're coming to stop Carter and Sadie, because they're worried about them becoming too powerful.
    • Zia has something important to tell Carter, but it has to be said in person. She suggests a rendezvous in Las Cruces, New Mexico. She begins to warn Carter about Amos.
    • Zia's image vanishes, leaving Carter alone.
  • Chapter 30

    Bast Keeps a Promise

    • Carter naps for a few hours when Bast wakes him up. They're parked on a narrow mountain road, and they have to walk to wherever Bast is taking them as part of her plan.
    • Turns out they're near El Paso, Texas, standing near the Rio Grande. Bast compares it to Egypt: a river civilization in the desert. Here, according to Bast, is the best place to summon Nephthys.
    • Horus tells Carter that he remembers this place, which Carter finds doubtful, since why would Horus have come to Texas? But Carter is starting to remember something, too, about the marsh, and something evil lurking in the river.
    • Sadie kneels by the river to try to contact Nephthys, while Carter catches sight of an immigrant family crossing the river. Sadie murmurs that Nephthys is sheltered far away in a sleeping host.
    • Carter notices that the water looks disturbed and the family has vanished. He wades in against his (and Khufu's) better judgment.
    • Horus's voice tells him to jump seconds before a giant crocodile erupts from the water. The croc is at least as long as their RV. Carter throws his sword at it to distract it from the family.
    • As Carter battles the croc, he hears Bast scream and knows that something is wrong with Sadie. Carter manages to kill his croc but sees Bast battling a second one while Sadie lies limp on the shore.
    • Bast kills her croc, but Sadie looks pale and bloody when they inspect her. Bast says they need to get out of there before—too late. A giant figure rises from the water.
    • This giant dude has the head of a crocodile on a man's body and is dripping sweat and mucus.
    • The croc-man calls out for Horus, and Horus in Carter's mind tells him that Sobek understands strength, so Carter needs to act strong. Carter manages to call out a few insults before they start fighting. Bast is quick enough to do some damage, but then Sobek grabs Carter and pulls him under.
    • Horus again asks Carter to let him take control so he can save them. Carter refuses, and finds the strength to summon his warrior avatar, thus breaking free and surfacing.
    • Bast and Carter both attack Sobek, but he's too strong. Worse, Sobek has summoned reinforcements: more crocodiles.
    • Bast yells at Carter to get Sadie out and says to tell their father that she kept her promise.
    • Bast launches herself at Sobek in one final attack. There's an explosion, and Sobek disappears—but so does Bast. The cat Muffin is tossed from the explosion, but her collar is gone, so Bast is also gone, back to the Duat.
    • Carter turns to Khufu and Sadie to say they need to get out of there but is stunned to see another crocodile behind them. Oh, boy.
    • However, it's a white crocodile—Philip of Macedonia—and he starts battling the other two crocs.
    • Amos appears, too, examining Sadie. He tells Carter that they have a chance of surviving.
  • Chapter 31

    I Deliver a Love Note

    • Sadie says that she's glad Carter narrated the last bit—both because she was unconscious for some of it, and because she can't talk about what Bast did without falling apart.
    • Amos says that he was a fool to go after Set. He had no idea how powerful Set had become. According to him, Set's spirit is tied to the red pyramid. It's his host in this world, instead of a mortal host.
    • Sadie asks whether Amos saw her father. He says no, but he heard that the demons were planning to obliterate Osiris with the storm's power on Set's birthday. Perhaps the idea is to bury Osiris so deep within the Duat that he'll never reemerge.
    • Carter and Sadie ask how Amos escaped, and he admits that it was too easy. He shouldn't have been able to get out without Set noticing or stopping him. Clearly, he's a part of Set's plan—but he's not sure what or how.
    • Amos has summoned his boat to bring everyone to safety, and currently they're in White Sands, New Mexico.
    • Sadie thinks back to her attempt to communicate with Nephthys. The goddess's voice had been faint, but she had said she'd find a way to get a message to Sadie.
    • Then Carter tells her what happened with Bast, and Sadie begins to cry. She's lost so much already in this struggle, and now Bast is gone too?
    • While napping, Sadie's ba takes a little trip: she retains her human form but grows really, really tall, so that she can see Texas as well as the red glow of Set's pyramid.
    • Sadie feels enormous compared to the world, and a voice tells her that this is how gods see things.
    • Sadie looks around until she notices the figure of a man in the dunes. He stands up and is actually taller than she is. Sadie correctly IDs him as Geb, and she remembers that she has a note for him. She pulls out the envelope from Nut and hands it to him.
    • Fireworks burst from the letter, forming a picture of Nut's face.
    • Geb thanks Sadie and says that she may ask a favor of him. She immediately asks him to save her father. He compliments her on her loyalty but says that he can't do it; his fate is tied to that of Osiris.
    • Next Sadie asks Geb to destroy Set's pyramid in an earthquake. He also can't do that: Set is his child, too, and he doesn't interfere in the affairs of his children.
    • Instead, Geb offers Sadie some advice: go to the place of the crosses. It's nearby.
    • Geb says that he sympathizes with Sadie: she's lost family, and so has he. But he won't change his decision, even though it cost him his wife. He loves all of his children, even Set.
    • Sadie is surprised to hear this, but Geb says that Set is more than he appears. He tells her to think about that, and to be careful. She'll find danger at the place of crosses, but she'll also find what she needs.
    • Geb sinks back into the earth, and Sadie's ba returns to her body.
  • Chapter 32

    The Place of Crosses

    • Sadie wakes up with Muffin perched on her head. This reminds of her of Bast, which makes Sadie sad.
    • Muffin leaps into Khufu's arms, and Amos says that he told Khufu to take Muffin back to Brooklyn, since things would get too dangerous for them.
    • With Khufu and Muffin gone, Amos, Carter, and Sadie talk about what's next. Sadie and Carter silently communicate that they can't trust Amos just yet, so they tell him that it's best if he doesn't know the plan now. After all, what if Set has a magical listening device?
    • Amos is bummed about that possibility but agrees that it's probably safest if Sadie and Carter keep important things from him for the time being.
    • Carter suggests going to Las Cruces, but Amos says it's too dangerous.
    • Something goes click in Sadie's head: she remembers her conversation with Geb, and figures out that "Las Cruces" is Spanish for "the crosses." So she voices her support for going.
    • Amos finally agrees to go and tells Sadie and Carter to hop on board his boat. No water? No problem. He says a spell over his coat and it begins to steer the boat over the desert.
    • In Las Cruces, handmade tortillas blow Sadie's mind. After Sadie, Carter, and Amos eat, they wander around looking for… whatever it was Geb said that Sadie needed and would find there.
    • Finally, Sadie, Carter, and Amos see Zia. She greets them but seems uneasy around Amos.
    • Zia thinks they need to convince Desjardins that they're not a threat, so that they can all work together to defeat Set. Sadie thinks Desjardins is the threat. He ordered Sadie and Carter killed, after all, and might be hosting Set.
    • Zia insists that she has something important to tell them. Right then, Amos says that it's a trap—and they see Desjardins and some other magicians approaching them.
    • Thinking Zia set them up, Amos blasts Zia with a lightning bolt. Carter rushes to her side. Amos tells Sadie and Carter that he'll hold off Desjardins while they get to the boat and flee.
    • Desjardins creates a giant crack in the earth that threatens to swallow them up, but Sadie stops it by speaking divine words from Isis. Desjardins accuses all of them of collaborating with gods.
    • Zia speaks up, saying that they have to work together; it's what Iskandar would have wanted.
    • Then Zia summons a pillar of fire to hunt Desjardins, and she promptly collapses.
    • Isis says (in Sadie's head) that it's an incredibly powerful spell and should last six to twelve hours, no matter what Desjardins does to evade it.
    • Isis emphasizes that Zia won't be able to work any magic while the spell is in effect—she deliberately exhausted her magical reserves to protect them.
    • As Carter and Sadie attempt to escape with an unconscious Zia, Desjardins pulls some arrows from the Duat and prepares another spell.
    • Amos is horrified and tries to stop him, but it's too late: Desjardins summons Sekhmet.
    • Amos says he'll try to distract Sekhmet, but the kids need to run. Now.
    • Sadie is confused, because she doesn't know who Sekhmet is, but the look on Carter's face is so scared that they start running. Fast.
  • Chapter 33

    We Go Into the Salsa Business

    • Carter steers the magic boat, while Sadie tries to keep Zia (who's still unconscious) from rolling around the boat as it moves. Worse, when Carter looks back, he sees a fiery figure: Sekhmet.
    • Horus gives Carter the lowdown on Sekhmet: she's the incarnation of the sun's wrath, and she's pretty much undefeatable.
    • The Chief Lector of the House of Life has the power to summon her once in a lifetime, which makes Desjardins a hypocrite, given how much he goes on about banishing the gods.
    • Zia wakes up just as Sekhmet shoots a burning arrow at them. The boat catches fire.
    • Carter does his best to steer until Zia points them toward a factory, saying she has an idea.
    • They steer their burning boat into a giant pile of chili peppers (they've broken into the production factory of Magic Salsa, Inc.).
    • As the kids hide from Sekhmet, Zia tells them about the time Sekhmet got out of hand back in the day and started killing everyone (not just those she was supposed to punish).
    • Sekhmet killed and gorged on blood daily, until people figured out a plan: they colored giant vats of beer red, and tricked Sekhmet into drinking them. She drank until she passed out, and Ra brought her back to the heavens and transformed her into Hathor, a gentle cow goddess.
    • What's at hand now? Salsa. Which is red. Worth a shot, right?
    • Carter invites Sekhmet to feast on the blood of their enemies. They pierce the vats of salsa, raining down salsa onto her.
    • Sekhmet laps it up, not realizing how hot it is until smoke starts pouring from her mouth.
    • When Sekhmet begins to stagger around from the heat and pain, Carter suggests that milk might help. The kind of milk you might get from a cow. Especially if you were a cow.
    • Sekhmet realizes that she was tricked, but doesn't have a choice, so she turns into a cow.
    • With Sekhmet neutralized, Sadie gets on Zia's case again about leading them into a trap.
    • Carter insists that Zia's on their side—she told them how to defeat Sekhmet, after all.
    • Sadie, Carter, and Zia debate about waiting for Amos to catch up (Zia is definitely against this), and end up deciding to get to Phoenix on their own, however they can.
    • Most of the salsa factory was destroyed, but one sixteen-wheeled truck is still intact. The kids can't drive, but they remember Amos's coat steering the boat.
    • Could they enchant another coat? Zia says yeah, but they'd need a figurine ready to enchant into a coat. Luckily, they have Doughboy from their father's magic box.
  • Chapter 34

    Doughboy Gives Us a Ride

    • Doughboy is not happy about this plan, but it works. After making a few rude gestures, the Doughboy coat is able to drive the truck, and they all pile in.
    • Sadie finds a place to crash, saying she'll give Carter and Zia some privacy (oooh).
    • As they talk, Zia says that she'll be shunned by the House, which is basically her only family.
    • Carter says that Zia could come with them after they defeat Set. She looks sad, asking where they'd go… between the House hunting them and the gods using them, they'd be miserable.
    • Zia thanks Carter for his kindness, but says that he doesn't really know her—and anyway, Iskandar probably saw this coming.
    • It turns out that when Zia returned from London, Iskandar had said something about protecting her—but she doesn't remember exactly what happened after that—which is strange.
    • The storm is loud outside. Zia says that Amos is returning, and she needs to tell the kids Set's secret name ASAP.
    • Carter realizes that Zia was also there when the gods were released in London, and that Zia must be hosting Nephthys—it's the only way she could know Set's secret name.
    • Zia disagrees with this idea. If there'd been a change in her magic, the magicians would've found out and killed her already. Clearly something else is going on.
    • Carter still thinks that Desjardins might be hosting Set, but Zia disagrees. She insists that it's Amos, but Carter doesn't believe it, since Amos has repeatedly risked his life to help them.
    • Also, Carter thinks that Amos can't be hosting Set, because Set is using the pyramid as a physical form—which, Zia points out, they only know because Amos told them.
    • Zia says she'll tell them Set's secret name, but only if they don't tell it to Amos.
    • Before they can reach an agreement, the truck slows down. Amos has caught up with them.
    • Amos's clothes are ragged from his attempt to distract Sekhmet, but he says there's no time to talk and points to the northwest, where they can see the sky blackened out by Set's storm.
    • Amos cheerfully says that it's time to drive to meet Set, and off they go.
  • Chapter 35

    Men Ask for Directions (and Other Signs of the Apocalypse)

    • Sadie tells us that she managed to nap both before and after Amos showed up, so she must've really needed the rest. Her ba, of course, decides to take a vacation.
    • Sadie sees Cleopatra's Needle in London. Isis is standing by it, with multicolored wings.
    • Isis tells Sadie that her parents had the right idea: Bast was growing weaker and would have eventually been overcome by chaos. That's what chaos does: it upsets the balance.
    • Worse, Isis tells Sadie that chaos will destroy the entire human world. She shows Sadie an image of London totally blown up and in pieces.
    • Next, Isis shows Sadie the throne room of the gods, but the throne is empty. Sadie recognizes a few gods—Anubis, Serqet, Sobek—as Isis tells her that they need a god on the throne to restore order. And it needs to be Carter.
    • Sadie asks why it has to be Carter. Isis takes her question seriously and says that there have been good women rulers, but Sadie has a different path.
    • As Sadie thinks about it, she realizes that she doesn't want to rule over a bunch of gods.
    • Isis praises Sadie's courage and faith, saying she'll need them in the times to come. All the gods begin to crowd in on Sadie, who freaks out…
    • And wakes up, because Zia is shaking her awake. They've arrived in Phoenix, it's around 4AM, and the storm is getting so bad that the truck's GPS isn't working.
    • Sadie, Carter, Zia, and Amos are at a gas station so Amos and Carter can ask for directions to the mountain. Sadie thinks that male magicians having to ask for directions is a bad sign.
    • Zia says she wants to talk to Sadie before Carter and Amos get back. Sadie thinks that Zia is going asking her permission to date Carter. She gives Zia permission. But that's not what Zia had in mind. Oops.
    • Instead, Zia wants to talk about Set. Sadie's sick of hearing that Zia thinks Amos is hosting Set. Zia cautions Sadie that Set loves to use traps and deception, and that Amos could be possessed without knowing it.
    • What Zia really wants is to tell Sadie Set's secret name, but she wants Sadie to agree to use it on Amos before they reach the mountain. It might be their only chance. Timing really matters, since they only get one shot at using the spell book before it disappears from the mortal world.
    • Sadie tries to get Zia to tell her the name, saying that she'll use it at the right time.
    • Before they can agree, Amos and Carter come back. As it is, Amos tells them that they're getting close to the mountain. Very close. As though it's a good thing.
  • Chapter 36

    Our Family is Vaporized

    • As they get close to Camelback Mountain, they lose the cover of the storm. Everything is deserted, so there's no way they can sneak up on Set.
    • Zia can't work her invisibility spell, since her magic's still gone, but Amos has a plan to turn everyone into storm clouds.
    • Sadie's not thrilled about this, but Zia really objects, because storms are a manifestation of chaos magic, which is usually bad news. Before they can agree on something, Amos turns them all into clouds.
    • When they reach a ridge on the mountain, everyone returns to human form. Zia peers into the mountain through a crack and says that only the pyramidion is left, and that's not good.
    • Sadie looks in and sees that the mountain has been hollowed out. A huge red pyramid dominates the cave. Tons of demons are milling around, and some of them are hauling up a giant golden capstone in boats (the pyramidion).
    • Sadie's idea is to sabotage the boats and go from there. Amos says it's a stupid plan, but everyone else thinks it's the best shot.
    • Ten hours have passed since Las Cruces, so Zia's magic is back. She uses an amulet to get a ride from a bird, while Sadie and Carter use their bird forms.
    • Sadie, Carter, and Zia fly into the cavern and start to disrupt the boats hauling the pyramidion by fighting the demons on the boats.
    • Amos says that he'll distract the demons, and that they should try to get to the entrance of the pyramid.
    • Using some fancy pyrotechnics and explosions, Amos directs the demons' attention away from the kids.
    • Following Amos's instructions, Sadie, Amos, and Zia seal the door behind them. As they walk through the pyramid, they see disturbing paintings showing Set taking over the world.
    • Sadie, Amos, and Zia reach a huge throne surrounded by boiling red liquid. Ick. Worse, the throne has grown around the coffin holding their dad.
    • Right then, Amos climbs into the pyramid from the ceiling. He beckons them closer, saying it's time to get down to business. The business of freeing their dad? Nope.
    • Amos falls to his knees and starts to convulse. He manages to tell the kids to run before red steam rises from his body.
    • The steam turns into the shape of a man—Set. He sits on his throne, laughs, and says that now Zia gets to tell them all, "I told you so."
  • Chapter 37

    Leroy Gets His Revenge

    • Set sits on his throne, red-skinned and with the head of an animal—but sometimes looking more like a human with a cruel smile. Carter says that Zia was right—Set was possessing Amos.
    • Set replies with false modesty, saying it only took a sliver of his soul to control Amos, but now most of his being is inside the pyramid.
    • Set says that Amos did fight his control, and he did things like use storm magic in an effort to tip off the kids that something was wrong.
    • As Carter gets angry, Horus asks him again for control. Set senses the struggle happening within Carter and mocks both Carter and Horus, saying that Horus's host needs training wheels.
    • Carter and Horus link up in mutual rage, and they use a blast of energy to send Set flying. It doesn't do any damage, though.
    • Set says that now that he has all four siblings, he'll entomb them to feed his storm. He turns on Zia, addressing her as Nephthys. This angers Carter, but Zia tells him not to get distracted.
    • Also, something's bugging Carter: he doesn't sense divine energy from Zia. It just doesn't make sense to him that she's hosting a goddess.
    • As Set advances on Zia, she again warns Carter and tells him to stay focused and not resist.
    • Set grabs Zia but then gets confused. He asks Zia where they've hidden her (meaning Nephthys), and Zia says they'll never find her.
    • Angry and afraid, Carter realizes what Zia was telling him: he shouldn't resist Horus. As he comes to this realization, his energy blends with Horus in complete balance.
    • Now in sync, Horus and Carter work together and are more powerful than ever. They summon a combat avatar and start toward Set.
    • Finally perfectly attuned, Carter faces down Set and tells him that he'll crush him like a gnat.
  • Chapter 38

    The House Is in the House

    • Carter and Set fight. It feels pretty awesome to Carter.
    • Carter smashes a hole in the ceiling, grabs Set, and forces him into the form of a fruit bat. Then he turns himself into a falcon and carries Set out into the open.
    • Set returns to his warrior form, and tells Carter that he's too late.
    • As Carter looks around, he sees the magicians of the House of Life engaged in battle with the demons. There aren't enough magicians, though, to take down the pyramid.
    • One magician launches himself at the pyramidion, and Carter realizes that it's Desjardins. He looks like he'll succeed in knocking down the capstone, but then Set takes a swing at him with his staff, and Desjardins tumbles down, unconscious.
    • Carter starts up the fight with Set again, though Horus's senses are telling him that they only have about two minutes until dawn. Set knocks Carter down and places the capstone on top of the pyramid. He declares that there are only thirty seconds left until dawn.
    • Crowing with success, Set tells Carter that there's no way they'll beat him—not in the desert, the source of his power.
    • You're right, says a voice… it's Sadie! She rises above the pyramid, lit up with multicolored light.
    • Sadie goes on to say that Horus is not alone, and they will not fight him in the desert. Then she strikes her staff against the pyramid and shouts a name Carter wasn't expecting to hear.
  • Chapter 39

    Zia Tells Me a Secret

    • Sadie takes up the story, thanking Carter for making her entrance look so dramatic. The truth, though, wasn't as exciting. When Carter and Set take the fight outside, Sadie is left nursing Amos and Zia, who are both injured (it's mix of magical and physical wounds).
    • As Sadie tries to bandage the cuts on Zia's leg, Zia stops her and tells her to listen. She has a message, remember? But she's not Nephthys, so what's going on?
    • Zia tells Sadie that Set's secret name is Evil Day. Sadie remembers that Anubis had made her promise to listen to Nephthys, and this is, somehow, a message from her.
    • Also, Sadie recalls bits of things that both Iskandar and Thoth had said, especially what Iskandar said about wanting to protect Sadie and Carter the way he'd protected… someone.
    • Sadie stares at Zia, realizing the truth. Zia nods, and instructs her to use the name to make Set help. Set doesn't strike Sadie as the helping type, but Zia tells her to also go help Carter.
    • First, though, it occurs to Sadie that she might help her dad while he's in the coffin.
    • Isis warns her against it, and as soon as she touches the coffin, she's ripped away into the Land of the Dead.
    • On the plus side, Anubis is there. He shows Sadie the empty black throne in the Hall of Judgment and tells her that all balance is gone. Sadie doesn't completely understand what he means, but she begins to feel a terrible sense of loss.
    • Anubis melts into graveyard mist, and Sadie finds herself in the throne room of the gods—but it, too, is empty. Bast is there, and Sadie tears up. Bast tells her that the Duat is in turmoil, and if Set doesn't take over, someone else must. She also tells Sadie not to let her have died in vain.
    • Next, Sadie's in the Hall of Ages, with Iskandar sitting there. He says that Ma'at needs a leader, and that the Kane family will either heal or destroy everyone.
    • Finally, Sadie sees a scene at Cleopatra's Needle in London. Her parents are there. They have a serious conversation about how they must seek the truth. They say they must not fail.
    • Sadie's mother wears the amulet of Isis, and Sadie realizes that her mom had contacted Isis with her divination skills, which started this whole thing. Her parents kiss one last time and then begin to chant, their staffs and wands glowing with power.
    • Sadie is yanked back to reality, and in her mind she screams at Isis, saying that Isis knew her mother would be killed at the obelisk, but encouraged her anyway.
    • The next thing Sadie sees is a ghostly image of her father rising from the coffin.
    • Julius tells Sadie not to blame Isis for what happened to Ruby. No one knew exactly what would happen, but Ruby accepted her death when it was time.
    • Sadie yells at her father, saying he should have helped their mother survive. She says that she hates him.
    • Feeling guilty about saying this, and realizing that for years she's blamed her father for her mother's death, Sadie starts to cry.
    • Julius tells Sadie that it's okay, and that she had to get those feelings out before doing what she's about to do. He says that Ruby was the first in centuries to commune with Isis and to realize that people needed the gods. He and Ruby knew, going in, that many hard sacrifices would be required.
    • Sadie argues that Isis or Bast could have given her mother more power, so maybe she could have survived. Her father counters her, saying that her mother knew her limits. Ruby knew she'd be consumed, or worse. But with her life, she bought Sadie and Carter some time.
    • Julius and Ruby put things in motion by releasing the gods, but it's Sadie and Carter who need to fight and accomplish the healing of Ma'at. It's something they have to do alone.
    • Sadie still wants to save Julius, but he says that it might not work. Besides, the entire pyramid needs to be destroyed in order to prevent Set from consuming Osiris's power.
    • Julius says that Osiris must take his throne through death; it's the only way. Then his voice and image fade.
    • Sadie opens her connection with Isis and sees the goddess's whole history: her ongoing struggle to protect and raise up her family. Sadie sees her mother's memories imprinted on Isis, and she realizes that her mother had given her life to start something new. Now, the next move is Sadie's.
    • Sadie tells Zia that she has a plan. She turns into a kite and flies straight up.
  • Chapter 40

    I Ruin a Rather Important Spell

    • As Sadie emerges from the pyramid, she sees that things are not going well for Carter, since Set has knocked him down and is calling out that there are thirty seconds to sunrise.
    • When she gets Set's attention, Sadie slams down her staff and shouts, "Washington, D.C.!"
    • Nothing happens, and Set gloats that it's impossible to open a portal during the Demon Days.
    • Sure, a mortal can't, but a goddess of magic can. Oh, snap!
    • A giant vortex opens up, swallows the pyramid, and spits everything and everyone out on the snow-covered lawn of the National Mall in D.C.
    • The red pyramid already looks less powerful, now that it's been taken away from the desert, its source of strength. Set is so mad.
    • Carter gets up and shoves his sword through Set's ribs, sending Set tumbling down the side of the pyramid. Carter charges after him, ready to hold him so Sadie can read the spell.
    • Sadie summons The Book of Overcoming Set and begins to read from it. She also summons the feather of truth, which floats about her hand.
    • As she speaks the divine words, Sadie hears her mother's voice telling her to stay focused and watch for her enemy. Isis is just egging her on to destroy Set.
    • Sadie chants Set's name—and his secret name—and Carter forces Set to his knees. The pyramid implodes. A doorway to the Duat begins to open, and Sadie knows that Set will be banished there for a long time, if not forever.
    • There's just one line left to speak in the spell, but Sadie hesitates. She remembers what her mother had said about watching for their enemy.
    • Sadie looks up and sees the chaos magic Set had summoned moving upward into the sky. And as Sadie watches, the chaos magic forms a shape.
    • At first, it looks like a giant red river. But it's not a river—it's a snake.
    • Carter yells at Sadie, asking what she's waiting for. Sadie realizes that Carter can't see the snake.
    • As Sadie hesitates, Carter looks at her like she's a stranger. It's like what happened back when their family had been fragmented. Sadie knows that Horus is urging Carter to achieve vengeance, and it looks like Isis is holding back yet again.
    • Sadie throws the feather of truth into the sky, telling Carter to look at it.
    • The feather explodes into dust that illuminates the form of the serpent for long enough that Carter can see its outline before it fades.
    • Then Set's minion, Face of Horror, screams at Sadie and Carter and prepares to stab Sadie.
    • Sadie has a moment to see this before Carter throws his sword at the demon, dropping it in place.
    • The demon, before it dies, speaks with a completely different voice, telling Sadie that this isn't over.
    • Sadie moves toward Carter and Set and asks if they both saw the serpent: Apophis.
    • Carter realizes that the demon Face of Horror had been possessed by Apophis all along, and was using Set to create enough chaos energy for its full release.
    • Set, of course, is angry at the notion that someone might be using him, so he denies everything.
    • Sadie flatters Set, saying that he is one of the most powerful gods, which is why they'll need him to defeat Apophis once again. They still don't trust Set, though. It's a good thing they still have his secret name, because that will make him behave.
    • Sadie says that Set's still a bad dude, but they'll release him back into the Duat if he agrees to behave and help them fight Apophis. Carter, influenced by Horus, is a fan of the chopping-off-Set's-head plan.
    • However, Set agrees to only make trouble at their command (in fact he swears to it, by his own name and by the throne of Ra), and then Sadie releases him.
    • Set winks, says he's looking forward to having fun with them, and then turns into a pillar of salt and vanishes.
    • The pyramid is gone, with snow melted in its exact outline. Magicians lay passed out everywhere, as do a few early-morning joggers who got caught in the magical crossfire.
    • Sadie runs over to Amos and Zia, who are in bad shape.
    • Carter cradles Zia's head as her skin blisters and her life force weakens. He tells her not to leave him, since Sadie's bad company.
    • Zia says that she was never here—she was just a placeholder. She asks Carter to find her, saying that Zia would like a date at the mall. Zia's stare goes blank, and Carter falls into despair.
    • Then Sadie notices a crack along Zia's forehead. Her flesh looks like it's becoming clay.
    • Sadie tells Carter to look, and they see a blue light fly out of her mouth. Sadie tells Carter that she was a shabti, a placeholder for the real Zia, whom Iskandar was keeping safe.
    • This makes sense to Carter, too, once he gets over his shock: he tells Sadie about seeing Zia at the First Nome with a similar blue light. It must've been the shabti communicating with the real Zia, wherever she was hidden.
    • Carter concludes that now they have to find her, though Sadie doesn't think it's that simple.
    • Desjardins shows up right then, and is super angry at the kids for not only bargaining with Set but also letting him go. Sadie calmly tells Desjardins that Apophis is rising, and the House must relearn the old ways. It's the only way to survive.
    • Desjardins argues that the old ways are what destroyed them in the first place, and he accuses the kids of being drunk with power. The magicians will continue to fight godlings until the end.
    • Sadie turns to Carter and asks if he knows what they have to do. He agrees to do it.
    • Sadie and Carter each remove their amulets, thus removing the gods from their minds. Isis asks Sadie to reconsider, to think about how powerful they could be with more practice, but when Sadie says she's not ready for so much power, Isis compliments her on being wise. For a mortal.
    • Desjardins is shocked that the kids gave up the power of the gods of their own free will.
    • Carter tells him that they're going to learn the path of the gods through work and practice, not through possession. If Carter is supposed to take the throne as Horus, he'll earn it.
    • As sirens approach the scene, Desjardins says he'll let them off this time, as there's already been too much destruction today. But if they cross the House of Life again… (insert your own threat here, since he leaves us hanging).
    • The magicians vanish, and Sadie and Carter realize that they have to get Amos out of there.
  • Chapter 41

    We Stop the Recording, for Now

    • Carter gets the last word, though he's glad Sadie narrated the previous part, since he thinks she understands the metaphysical stuff better. Plus, he was pretty emotional when not-Zia died.
    • Eventually, Carter and Zia make it back to Brooklyn, but by then the news about a strange disaster at the National Mall is out. The media decided to blame it on rare storm activities.
    • The mansion at Brooklyn is still a wreck, but at least Khufu is there to greet them.
    • Sadie and Carter both try to sound upbeat about being back, and they take turns cleaning up the house and playing basketball with Khufu.
    • Sadie and Carter are able to use some magic to restore the house, but it takes them weeks, since without the gods helping them, magic really drains them.
    • Amos still isn't in good shape. He's lost a lot of weight, he hardly gets out of his bathrobe, and he doesn't talk much. Sadie think it's because Set broke his will, and that'll take some time to heal.
    • Sadie and Carter keep their amulets locked in a box in the library. The temptation to put them on is strong.
    • One night, Sadie and Carter have a visitor: a tall, pale guy in black, and he looks somewhat familiar to Carter. Sadie, however, stands up and says his name immediately: "Anubis!"
    • Anubis asks Sadie and Carter to come with him—someone wants to see them. Anubis opens a black door and steps through, and they follow. They emerge in the Hall of Judgment, but it looks different.
    • The scales have been fixed, and the overlay, instead of being a New Orleans graveyard, is the interior of a nice house with white ceilings and an ocean view.
    • Shocked, Carter and Sadie both recognize it as their family's house in Los Angeles.
    • Julius, sitting on the throne, says that the Hall of Judgment responds to strong memories.
    • Carter sees his father looking normal on one level—but if he looks deeper, he sees his father's image in the Duat. There, Julius has blue-black skin and is dressed in the robes of a pharaoh.
    • Sadie stomps forward and demands to know what happened, what Julius is, and whether he's alive.
    • Julius looks at Anubis and says that Sadie is fiercer than Ammit. Anubis says he's already learned to fear her sharp tongue.
    • Julius answers her, saying that he is both Julius Kane and Osiris. He is both alive and dead.
    • Carter cuts in, saying that Julius knew he'd have to die in order to restore Osiris to his throne. This makes Carter angry—all along, he and Sadie had been trying to save Julius, and all along, Julius had been trying to die.
    • Julius says that they made the right choice: if Carter and Sadie had saved him in the world above, all this work would have been for nothing, since death needed to happen for them to have a chance at rebirth.
    • Since the Duat is the foundation for the real world, restoring Osiris to his throne was a step toward restoring order in the rest of the world. Julius reminds Sadie and Carter that he's also still their father.
    • Julius says that there's another reason he made his choice, and then Ruby steps forward.
    • After some family time, Julius cuts in and says that the others are expecting them. First, he gives Carter and Sadie an amulet that looks like a column or a spine.
    • It's a djed, the spine of Osiris. It's kind of morbid, but it represents stability and strength. It'll help the kids wake the blood of the pharaohs in others so that they can rebuild the House of Life.
    • They say their goodbyes. Julius tells Carter to remind Amos that the Egyptians believe in the power of sunrise, and then Anubis leads them somewhere. Anubis and Sadie might be flirting a bit.
    • Next, they all step into a room of gods. Carter recognizes a bunch of them, but he doesn't see Bast.
    • Standing next to the throne are Horus and Isis. Once again, Horus asks Carter if he will take the throne and rule with him. It's a powerful offer.
    • Carter says maybe someday. Horus says that he still doesn't understand mortals.
    • Horus claims the throne of the gods, and everyone bows before him. When they rise, Horus and Isis say that they owe Sadie and Carter a debt for helping defeat Apophis, even if it's only temporary. The gods say that there will be a gift waiting for them in the morning and send them back to their Brooklyn House.
    • When Carter and Sadie wake up the next day, they find the gods' gift: the mansion has been completely restored to its previous state. Everything is clean; nothing is broken.
    • When Carter opens his closet, he finds news clothes, so he puts them on. Sadie is shocked to see him in "normal" clothes for a kid his age—jeans, a T-shirt, and a hoodie—but then she says he looks great (and it's all cotton, too, so it's okay to work magic in it).
    • While they're eating breakfast, Amos comes in, and for the first time since the battle, he's dressed normally, in snazzy-looking clothes. He announces that he's thinking about going to the First Nome to seek help from their magic healers. He thinks that they won't turn him away.
    • This sounds great to Sadie and Carter, especially since it's the most Amos has said in weeks.
    • Amos tells Carter and Sadie to take care of the place, since he might be gone for a while.
    • Amos also recommends that Sadie and Carter look for other children with the blood of pharaohs, since there are potentially a lot of them out there, and they might be in danger.
    • After he goes inside, Carter and Sadie are still a little sad. The gift of the gods has been great so far… but how are they supposed to wander around as unaccompanied minors?
    • They hear a voice from the doorway: it's Bast. She's come back to be their chaperone. There is happiness all around.
    • A couple days later, Sadie has a long conversation with her grandparents. Carter doesn't listen in, but when he sees her face afterward, she looks serious.
    • Apparently, the grandparents have been encouraging Sadie to come home to London. Expecting the worst, Carter tells her that it'll be nice for her to see her friends again. Sadie punches his arm and tells him that she's already home.
    • A new mission comes up quickly: Sadie sees a school in a dream and knows that she and Carter have to go.
    • Bast drives Carter and Sadie, and they have to dodge a bunch of forces of chaos on the way. It seems possible that they aren't the only ones looking for descendants of the pharaohs.
    • Carter and Sadie find the school before the spring term starts, and they enchant a locker to open into the Duat. They put the djed amulet in it, knowing that only the right person will be able to find and open the locker.
    • If someone with pharaoh blood finds the amulet, it should awaken their powers and guide them to Brooklyn. Not that Sadie and Carter have any idea how to train anyone, but whatever.
    • Back in Brooklyn, Sadie and Carter finish their recording and decide to send it out to some carefully chosen people.
    • The story's not over yet: Sadie and Carter are going to see their parents again in the Land of the Dead (a prospect that excites Sadie, since Anubis will be there). Carter intends to look for the real Zia.
    • And, of course, chaos is rising: that's the most important thing. Carter and Sadie need to gain strength in order to make sure that the world isn't destroyed.
    • That's where you come in. You'll learn to walk the path of the gods. Come to Brooklyn. Sadie and Carter are waiting for you.
  • Author's Note

    • There are a lot of factual tidbits in this story, so either Sadie and Carter did a ton of research, or they are, somehow, telling the truth.
    • The House of Life was an important institution in ancient Egypt, but we have no way of knowing if it still exists.
    • The portrayal of ancient Egyptian magic is also more or less accurate, based on what we know from archaeology. All the artifacts and monuments mentioned in the text exist, except for the red pyramid in Phoenix, Arizona.
    • The author promises to pass on any more recordings that come his or her way, but in the meantime, let's hope that Carter and Sadie are wrong about the fact that chaos is rising and threatening to destroy the world…