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Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer, Page 1

Rick Riordan


  1. Good Morning! You’re Going to Die

  2. The Man with the Metal Bra

  3. Don’t Accept Rides from Strange Relatives

  4. Seriously, the Dude Cannot Drive

  5. I’ve Always Wanted to Destroy a Bridge

  6. Make Way for Ducklings, or They Will Smack You Upside the Head

  7. You Look Great Without a Nose, Really

  8. Mind the Gap, and Also the Hairy Guy with the Axe

  9. You Totally Want the Minibar Key

  10. My Room Does Not Suck

  11. Pleased to Meet You. I Will Now Crush Your Windpipe

  12. At Least I’m Not on Goat-Chasing Duty

  13. Phil the Potato Meets His Doom

  14. Four Million Channels and There’s Still Nothing On Except Valkyrie Vision

  15. My Blooper Video Goes Viral

  16. Norns. Why Did It Have to Be Norns?

  17. I Did Not Ask for Biceps

  18. I Do Mighty Combat with Eggs

  19. Do Not Call Me Beantown. Like, Ever

  20. Come to the Dark Side. We Have Pop-Tarts

  21. Gunilla Gets Blowtorched and It’s Not Funny. Okay, It’s a Little Bit Funny

  22. My Friends Fall Out of a Tree

  23. I Recycle Myself

  24. You Had One Job

  25. My Funeral Director Dresses Me Funny

  26. Hey, I Know You’re Dead, But Call Me Maybe

  27. Let’s Play Frisbee with Bladed Weapons!

  28. Talk to the Face, ’Cause That’s Pretty Much All He’s Got

  29. We Are Falafel-Jacked by an Eagle

  30. An Apple a Day Will Get You Killed

  31. Go Smelly or Go Home

  32. My Years of Playing Bassmasters 2000 Really Pay Off

  33. Sam’s Brother Wakes Up Kinda Cranky

  34. My Sword Almost Ends Up on eBay

  35. Thou Shalt Not Poop on the Head of Art

  36. Duck!

  37. I Am Trash-Talked by a Squirrel

  38. I Break Down in a Volkswagen

  39. Freya Is Pretty! She Has Cats!

  40. My Friend Evolved from a – Nope. I Can’t Say It

  41. Blitz Makes a Bad Deal

  42. We Have a Pre-Decapitation Party, with Spring Rolls

  43. Let the Crafting of Decorative Metal Waterfowl Begin

  44. Junior Wins a Bag of Tears

  45. I Get to Know Jack

  46. Aboard the Good Ship Toenail

  47. I Psychoanalyse a Goat

  48. Hearthstone Passes Out Even More than Jason Grace (Though I Have No Idea Who That Is)

  49. Well, There’s Your Problem. You’ve Got a Sword Up Your Nose

  50. No Spoilers. Thor Is Way Behind on His Shows

  51. We Have the Talk-About-Turning-Into-Horseflies Chat

  52. I Got the Horse Right Here. His Name Is Stanley

  53. How to Kill Giants Politely

  54. Why You Should Not Use a Steak Knife as a Diving Board

  55. I’m Carried into Battle by the First Dwarven Airborne Division

  56. Never Ask a Dwarf to ‘Go Long’

  57. Sam Hits the EJECT Button

  58. What the Hel?

  59. The Terror That Is Middle School

  60. A Lovely Homicidal Sunset Cruise

  61. Heather Is My New Least Favourite Flower

  62. The Small Bad Wolf

  63. I Hate Signing My Own Death Warrant

  64. Whose Idea Was It to Make This Wolf Unkillable?

  65. I Hate This Part

  66. Sacrifices

  67. One More, for a Friend

  68. Don’t Be a No-Bro, Bro

  69. Oh … So That’s Who Fenris Smelled in Chapter Sixty-Three

  70. We Are Subjected to the PowerPoint of Doom

  71. We Burn a Swan Boat, Which I’m Pretty Sure Is Illegal

  72. I Lose a Bet



  Other books by Rick Riordan

  The Percy Jackson series:









  For more about Percy Jackson, try:


  The Heroes of Olympus series:







  The Kane Chronicles series:




  For more about the Kane Chronicles, try:


  Percy Jackson/Kane Chronicles Adventures (ebooks):




  To Cassandra Clare

  Thanks for letting me share the excellent name Magnus


  Good Morning! You’re Going to Die

  Yeah, I know. You guys are going to read about how I died in agony, and you’re going be like, ‘Wow! That sounds cool, Magnus! Can I die in agony, too?’

  No. Just no.

  Don’t go jumping off any rooftops. Don’t run into the highway or set yourself on fire. It doesn’t work that way. You will not end up where I ended up.

  Besides, you wouldn’t want to deal with my situation. Unless you’ve got some crazy desire to see undead warriors hacking one another to pieces, swords flying up giants’ noses and dark elves in snappy outfits, you shouldn’t even think about finding the wolf-headed doors.

  My name is Magnus Chase. I’m sixteen years old. This is the story of how my life went downhill after I got myself killed.

  My day started out normal enough. I was sleeping on the sidewalk under a bridge in the Public Garden when a guy kicked me awake and said, ‘They’re after you.’

  By the way, I’ve been homeless for the past two years.

  Some of you may think, Aw, how sad. Others may think, Ha, ha, loser! But, if you saw me on the street, ninety-nine per cent of you would walk right past like I’m invisible. You’d pray, Don’t let him ask me for money. You’d wonder if I’m older than I look, because surely a teenager wouldn’t be wrapped in a stinky old sleeping bag, stuck outside in the middle of a Boston winter. Somebody should help that poor boy!

  Then you’d keep walking.

  Whatever. I don’t need your sympathy. I’m used to being laughed at. I’m definitely used to being ignored. Let’s move on.

  The bum who woke me was a guy called Blitz. As usual, he looked like he’d been running through a dirty hurricane. His wiry black hair was full of paper scraps and twigs. His face was the colour of saddle leather and was flecked with ice. His beard curled in all directions. Snow caked the bottom of his trench coat where it dragged around his feet – Blitz being about five feet five – and his eyes were so dilated the irises were all pupil. His permanently alarmed expression made him look like he might start screaming any second.

  I blinked the gunk out of my eyes. My mouth tasted like day-old hamburger. My sleeping bag was warm, and I really didn’t want to get out of it.

  ‘Who’s after me?’

  ‘Not sure.’ Blitz rubbed his nose, which had been broken so many times it zigzagged like a l
ightning bolt. ‘They’re handing out flyers with your name and picture.’

  I cursed. Random police and park rangers I could deal with. Truant officers, community-service volunteers, drunken college kids, addicts looking to roll somebody small and weak – all those would’ve been as easy to wake up to as pancakes and orange juice.

  But when somebody knew my name and my face – that was bad. That meant they were targeting me specifically. Maybe the folks at the shelter were mad at me for breaking their stereo. (Those Christmas carols had been driving me crazy.) Maybe a security camera had caught that last bit of pickpocketing I did in the Theater District. (Hey, I needed money for pizza.) Or maybe, unlikely as it seemed, the police were still looking for me, wanting to ask questions about my mom’s murder …

  I packed my stuff, which took about three seconds. The sleeping bag rolled up tight and fitted in my backpack with my toothbrush and a change of socks and underwear. Except for the clothes on my back, that’s all I owned. With the backpack over my shoulder and the hood of my jacket pulled low, I could blend in with pedestrian traffic pretty well. Boston was full of college kids. Some of them were even more scraggly and younger-looking than me.

  I turned to Blitz. ‘Where’d you see these people with the flyers?’

  ‘Beacon Street. They’re coming this way. Middle-aged white guy and a teenage girl, probably his daughter.’

  I frowned. ‘That makes no sense. Who –’

  ‘I don’t know, kid, but I gotta go.’ Blitz squinted at the sunrise, which was turning the skyscraper windows orange. For reasons I’d never quite understood, Blitz hated the daylight. Maybe he was the world’s shortest, stoutest homeless vampire. ‘You should go see Hearth. He’s hanging out in Copley Square.’

  I tried not to feel irritated. The local street people jokingly called Hearth and Blitz my mom and dad because one or the other always seemed to be hovering around me.

  ‘I appreciate it,’ I said. ‘I’ll be fine.’

  Blitz chewed his thumbnail. ‘I dunno, kid. Not today. You gotta be extra careful.’


  He glanced over my shoulder. ‘They’re coming.’

  I didn’t see anybody. When I turned back, Blitz was gone.

  I hated it when he did that. Just – Poof. The guy was like a ninja. A homeless vampire ninja.

  Now I had a choice: go to Copley Square and hang out with Hearth, or head towards Beacon Street and try to spot the people who were looking for me.

  Blitz’s description of them made me curious. A middle-aged white guy and a teenage girl searching for me at sunrise on a bitter-cold morning. Why? Who were they?

  I crept along the edge of the pond. Almost nobody took the lower trail under the bridge. I could hug the side of the hill and spot anyone approaching on the higher path without them seeing me.

  Snow coated the ground. The sky was eye-achingly blue. The bare tree branches looked like they’d been dipped in glass. The wind cut through my layers of clothes, but I didn’t mind the cold. My mom used to joke that I was half polar bear.

  Dammit, Magnus, I chided myself.

  After two years, my memories of her were still a minefield. I’d stumble over one, and instantly my composure would be blown to bits.

  I tried to focus.

  The man and the girl were coming this way. The man’s sandy hair grew over his collar – not like an intentional style, but like he couldn’t be bothered to cut it. His baffled expression reminded me of a substitute teacher’s: I know I was hit by a spit wad, but I have no idea where it came from. His smart shoes were totally wrong for a Boston winter. His socks were different shades of brown. His tie looked like it had been tied while he spun around in total darkness.

  The girl was definitely his daughter. Her hair was just as thick and wavy, though lighter blonde. She was dressed more sensibly in snow boots, jeans and a parka, with an orange T-shirt peeking out at the neckline. Her expression was more determined, angry. She gripped a sheaf of flyers like they were essays she’d been graded on unfairly.

  If she was looking for me, I did not want to be found. She was scary.

  I didn’t recognize her or her dad, but something tugged at the back of my skull … like a magnet trying to pull out a very old memory.

  Father and daughter stopped where the path forked. They looked around as if just now realizing they were standing in the middle of a deserted park at no-thank-you o’clock in the dead of winter.

  ‘Unbelievable,’ said the girl. ‘I want to strangle him.’

  Assuming she meant me, I hunkered down a little more.

  Her dad sighed. ‘We should probably avoid killing him. He is your uncle.’

  ‘But two years?’ the girl demanded. ‘Dad, how could he not tell us for two years?’

  ‘I can’t explain Randolph’s actions. I never could, Annabeth.’

  I inhaled so sharply that I was afraid they would hear me. A scab was ripped off my brain, exposing raw memories from when I was six years old.

  Annabeth. Which meant the sandy-haired man was … Uncle Frederick?

  I flashed back to the last family Thanksgiving we’d shared: Annabeth and me hiding in the library at Uncle Randolph’s town house, playing with dominoes while the adults yelled at each other downstairs.

  You’re lucky you live with your momma. Annabeth stacked another domino on her miniature building. It was amazingly good, with columns in front like a temple. I’m going to run away.

  I had no doubt she meant it. I was in awe of her confidence.

  Then Uncle Frederick appeared in the doorway. His fists were clenched. His grim expression was at odds with the smiling reindeer on his sweater. Annabeth, we’re leaving.

  Annabeth looked at me. Her grey eyes were a little too fierce for a first-grader’s. Be safe, Magnus.

  With a flick of her finger, she knocked over her domino temple.

  That was the last time I’d seen her.

  Afterwards, my mom had been adamant: We’re staying away from your uncles. Especially Randolph. I won’t give him what he wants. Ever.

  She wouldn’t explain what Randolph wanted, or what she and Frederick and Randolph had argued about.

  You have to trust me, Magnus. Being around them … it’s too dangerous.

  I trusted my mom. Even after her death, I hadn’t had any contact with my relatives.

  Now, suddenly, they were looking for me.

  Randolph lived in town, but, as far as I knew, Frederick and Annabeth still lived in Virginia. Yet here they were, passing out flyers with my name and photo on them. Where had they even got a photo of me?

  My head buzzed so badly that I missed some of their conversation.

  ‘– to find Magnus,’ Uncle Frederick was saying. He checked his smartphone. ‘Randolph is at the city shelter in the South End. He says no luck. We should try the youth shelter across the park.’

  ‘How do we even know Magnus is alive?’ Annabeth asked miserably. ‘Missing for two years? He could be frozen in a ditch somewhere!’

  Part of me was tempted to jump out of my hiding place and shout, TA-DA!

  Even though it had been ten years since I’d seen Annabeth, I didn’t like seeing her distressed. But after so long on the streets I’d learned the hard way: you never walk into a situation until you understand what’s going on.

  ‘Randolph is sure Magnus is alive,’ said Uncle Frederick. ‘He’s somewhere in Boston. If his life is truly in danger …’

  They set off towards Charles Street, their voices carried away by the wind.

  I was shivering now, but it wasn’t from the cold. I wanted to run after Frederick, tackle him and demand to hear what was going on. How did Randolph know I was still in town? Why were they looking for me? How was my life in danger now more than on any other day?

  But I didn’t follow them.

  I remembered the last thing my mom ever told me. I’d been reluctant to use the fire escape, reluctant to leave her, but she’d gripped my arms and made me look
at her. Magnus, run. Hide. Don’t trust anyone. I’ll find you. Whatever you do, don’t go to Randolph for help.

  Then, before I’d made it out of the window, the door of our apartment had burst into splinters. Two pairs of glowing blue eyes had emerged from the darkness …

  I shook off the memory and watched Uncle Frederick and Annabeth walk away, veering east towards the Common.

  Uncle Randolph … For some reason, he’d contacted Frederick and Annabeth. He’d got them to Boston. All this time, Frederick and Annabeth hadn’t known that my mom was dead and I was missing. It seemed impossible, but, if it were true, why would Randolph tell them about it now?

  Without confronting him directly, I could think of only one way to get answers. His town house was in Back Bay, an easy walk from here. According to Frederick, Randolph wasn’t home. He was somewhere in the South End, looking for me.

  Since nothing started a day better than a little breaking and entering, I decided to pay his place a visit.


  The Man with the Metal Bra

  The family mansion sucked.

  Oh, sure, you wouldn’t think so. You’d see the massive six-storey brownstone with gargoyles on the corners of the roof, stained-glass transom windows, marble front steps and all the other blah, blah, blah, rich-people-live-here details, and you’d wonder why I’m sleeping on the streets.