Percy Jackson and the Chalice of the Gods

What’s this? More news just broke in Publishers Weekly? A brand-new Percy Jackson novel? What is going on!!

Well, a funny thing happened on the way to the PJOTV show . . .

Back in 2019, when we were beginning to explore the idea of a new Percy Jackson adaption, I pitched an idea to Disney that I hoped might convince them to move things along. If they’d help me get a live-action series off the ground, I would be willing to write a new Percy Jackson novel, or even several, which Disney Publishing could release when the show came out.

As you probably know, I have continued to write about Percy’s world in many different books, from many different points of view, but I have not done a first-person, Percy Jackson POV full-length novel since The Last Olympian in 2009, and I haven’t done a novel centering on our classic trio, Percy, Annabeth and Grover, since The Lightning Thief in 2005. As you might imagine, this is the main request I get from readers: a sort of “Percy Jackson 6.” For years, I resisted doing this because I was having too much fun writing from other points of view, expanding Percy’s world through other characters. Over a decade later, however, I figured such a book would not only be fun to write once again — it would promote the show and vice versa. Everybody would win!

I sketched out the plots for several adventures that would take place during Percy Jackson’s senior year in high school. As it turned out, I didn’t need them. 20th Television was able to secure approvals to make the show without any extra incentive, which was great . . . but it left me with several unused outlines for potential Percy Jackson books. And those ideas sat with me, slowly baking in my mind to a rich golden brown . . .

Flash forward to 2022, when we got the green light to begin filming. My friends at Disney Publishing came to me and said, “Hey, Rick, what can we publish that will help us take advantage of the new interest in Percy when the TV show comes out?” We talked about all manner of things, but I didn’t want to publish something just to publish something. I wanted it to be a book you all might actually love, a kind of ‘thank you’ for sticking with me all these years as you waited for a better PJO adaptation. And so I said, “You know what, I happen to have an outline for a new Percy book. It’s called  The Chalice of the Gods.” 

And here we are!

The novel unfolds during Percy’s senior year at Alternative High School in New York — after the action of The Heroes of Olympus, but before The Trials of Apollo. This time around, Percy is not worried about saving the world. He has a much harder quest: getting into college. New Rome University requires recommendation letters from three gods, which means . . . yep, you guessed it. Percy has to run quests to get the letters. (That sound you hear is Percy screaming into his pillow in frustration.)

First quest: the cupbearer of the gods, Ganymede, is missing his chalice. Not only is this embarrassing. It’s also a potential disaster, since any mortal who happens to drink from the cup will gain immortality. Percy, Annabeth and Grover have to find that chalice and return it to Ganymede before anyone realizes he lost it. These gods . . . they really need GPS tags on their magic items, don’t they?

2023 is shaping up to be a big year in the Percy Jackson universe! This spring, we will have a new Nico di Angelo adventure The Sun and the Star, cowritten by Mark Oshiro and me, which will be a completely different spin on the PJO universe. Then in the fall, we’ll have Percy Jackson and the Chalice of the Gods, which is meant to be a classic Percy-voiced adventure just like the original PJO series. Yes, our characters are now in high school, but if I do my job right, I hope Chalice will read very much like Percy Jackson #6.

Some questions you may be asking:

You mentioned several outlines for new Percy books. Will you write those, too?

My editor is wondering the same thing! Let’s see how it goes with Chalice of the Gods. As I mentioned before, I am trying to stick to one book at a time right now because I have so much on my plate with the various TV/film adaptations we have underway.

Will the new Percy book be more YA than middle grade, since Percy is older?

Nope. Middle grade sensibility is where I live, friends. Yes, Percy is older, and so his situation is not the same as when he was twelve. He sounds a bit older in this book. He is thinking about his life in college and beyond. But the tone is still the same, and the content is no more risqué than in the original series. I want the books to continue being suitable for middle grade readers, though readers of all ages are welcome!

Will you kill anyone? You probably will, won’t you?

No deaths are currently on the schedule for this book. (Checks notes.) Yep, almost certainly not. Like, 95% sure. Maybe 90%. Also, this book happens before the Trials of Apollo. Percy, Annabeth and Grover all appear, very much alive, at different points in the Trials of Apollo. So . . .

Will we see (insert your favorite character) in this book?

This is meant to be a story about the original trio, Percy, Annabeth and Grover, so most of the story revolves around them. You may hear little hints about what is going on with other characters in Percy’s universe, but for the most part, it’s just the O.G. crew.

Will you do a tour for the book?

We haven’t nailed down any details, but probably, yes. As I said, the book is meant to be a ‘thank you’ to fans and a celebration of the TV series, so we are timing Chalice to come out shortly before the series airs. (But again, exactly when the series airs has not been determined yet. Stay tuned for that.)  When I know more details, I will post them here on my blog!

Rick Riordan