The Burning Maze

The Burning Maze is an American fantasy novel based on Greek and Roman mythology written by Rick Riordan. It was published on May 1, 2018, and is the third book in The Trials of Apollo series, the second spin-off of the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series.

The Burning Maze
U.S. cover of first edition.
AuthorRick Riordan
Cover artistJohn Rocco
CountryUnited States
SeriesThe Trials of Apollo (book 3)
GenreFantasy, Greek and Roman mythology, Young adult
PublisherDisney Hyperion
Publication date
May 1, 2018
Media typePrint (hardcover), audiobook, e-book
Pages448 (hardcover)
Preceded byThe Dark Prophecy 
Followed byThe Tyrant's Tomb 

The story follows the Greek god Apollo, turned into a human teenager named Lester Papadopoulos, in his quest to free five oracles of Ancient Greece from Triumvirate Holdings, a group of three evil Roman Emperors, in order to regain his immortality. Joined by the demigod Meg McCaffrey and the satyr Grover Underwood, Apollo goes to the Labyrinth in search of the Oracle of Erythaea, the next Oracle to be rescued.

The novel was published in hardcover, audiobook, ebook, and large-print editions and the cover was illustrated by John Rocco. The Burning Maze received positive reviews from critics, who praised Apollo's narration and the book's humor. It was a bestseller on Amazon.

Plot summary

The story begins a few days after the events of the previous book, "The Dark Prophecy". Apollo, in the body of the 16-year old Lester Papadopoulos, ventures through the Labyrinth with 12-year old Meg McCaffrey and the satyr, Grover Underwood in a bid to find the third emperor of the Triumvirate Holdings. As the trio face a continuous attack of strixes, Grover unleashes the cry of Pan, the lost god of the wild, and brings them to Aeithales, which is later revealed to be Meg's former home. When Mellie, the wife of the satyr Hedge, asks Apollo and Grover to go and check up on Hedge, who is in an army surplus store nearby. The duo go there, only to face Naevius Sutorius Macro. They escape, when seemingly, a centaur, comes and contacts somebody. They head back, and Apollo reveals that the "centaur" is actually a horse, Incitatus, and the third emperor is Caligula, the most feared roman emperor, famous for his murderous reign and insanity.

Mellie reveals that Jason Grace and Piper McLean had gone into the Labyrinth and had split up since. Apollo and Meg pick up Piper, who is moving away to Tahlequah, Oklahoma, and Jason, who is at school and occasionally has fights with monsters disguised as teachers. Jason secretly tells Apollo that Jason had actually met with Herophile, the sybyl inside the Labyrinth, who told him that when the next time the duo comes, one of them will die. Fearing Piper's demise, Jason keeps this to himself and splits up with Piper.

However, Apollo, Meg, Jason and Piper sneak into Caligula's ship to steal his shoes, which are a priority according to the Dark Prophecy. All of them are captured by Pandai, loyal servants to Caligula. They escape with the help of Crest, a friendly Pandai and Apollo finds the shoes, but then they are captured by Incitatus and taken to Caligula. Jason engages Caligula in a one-sided battle, only to be stabbed twice by Caligula. Jason calls his venti (air spirit, usually a horse), and the others escape. Upon reaching Piper's home in Miami, they find Jason's body and Piper criticizes Apollo as the reason of his death.

Apollo, Meg, Grover and Crest enter the Labyrinth and are faced with riddles that seemingly leads to Herophile's prison. However, Apollo gives the wrong answer to one of them. Facing certain death, Apollo decides to find the cause of the flames that have been engulfing the southern lands for a long time and discovers Helios, the lost former god of the sun being used by Medea, a witch whom they had a short run-in with, and Apollo promises to exact revenge for Helios.

The trio reach the Herophile and are faced with another prophecy. They get out with the help of Melai, ash-tree spirits Meg had earlier planted. They kill Medea, Incitatus but lose Crest's life. Apollo and Meg entrust Aiethales's safety with the Melai, and continue their journeys. Piper moves away, Jason's body is given to Apollo for burial at Camp Jupiter, and Leo takes Hedge, Mellie, Piper to Oklahoma.


  • Apollo / Lester Papadopoulos – one of the Twelve Olympians, Apollo was cast down from Olympus and turned into a human named Lester by Zeus after the war against Gaea in The Blood of Olympus. As Lester, he has to free the five oracles that have gone dark, the Sibyl Herophile being one of them. Caligula requires his essence (along with that of Helios) to make himself a sun god.
  • Meg McCaffrey – a 12-year-old daughter of Demeter.
  • Grover Underwood – satyr, Lord of the Wild.
  • Piper McLean – daughter of Aphrodite with the rare gift of charmspeak.
  • Jason Grace – the demigod son of Jupiter, the Roman aspect of Zeus.
  • Caligula – the main antagonist. He is a legacy of Apollo and a Roman Emperor, infamous for his tyranny and insanity. Alongside Nero and Commodus, Caligula has influenced many events in history through Triumvirate Holdings.


The Burning Maze was first published by Disney-Hyperion as a hardcover in the United States on May 1, 2018, with cover illustration by John Rocco.[1] Ebook and audiobook editions were released the same day.[2][3] The audiobook is read by actor Robbie Daymond and published by Listening Library.[2]

The Burning Maze had a first printing of about two million copies.[4] It sold more than 52,000 copies during the first week.[5] Upon release, the book debuted at No. 1 on the Publishers Weekly Children's Frontlist Fiction bestseller list[5] and No. 3 on the overall list (remaining there for 2 weeks).[6][7] The hardcover edition debuted at No. 1 on Amazon's Teen & Young Adult Greek & Roman Myths & Legends bestseller list[8] and the Kindle ebook at No. 1 on the Teen & Young Adult Sword & Sorcery Fantasy eBooks list.[9] The next week, the book was the 6th sold among fiction novels on Amazon.[10] It debuted at No. 5 on the USA Today bestseller list.[11] On The Wall Street Journal fiction bestseller list, the book debuted at No. 2.[12] In the first week of release, The Trials of Apollo series was No. 2 on The New York Times bestseller list.[13]

In the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth nations, English-language editions in hardcover were also released May 1 by Puffin Books with cover art by Ben Hughes.[14] The Puffin edition also included a Percy Jackson short story.[15] Although many non-English editions used John Rocco's cover art, a few have unique covers by other illustrators.[3] Additionally, Barnes & Noble released a special edition exclusive to its customers, which also included a removable puzzle collection.[16] Another edition was also released, which included Riordan's autograph, a frontispiece, endpapers, and slipcase.[17]

The book is recommended for 12-14-year-olds on Disney's website.[18]


The sequel, The Tyrant's Tomb, was released on September 24 2019.[19]

See also

  • Children and Young Adult Literature portal


  1. "The Trials of Apollo: The Burning Maze (Book 3), by Rick Riordan". Read Riordan.
  2. "The Burning Maze".
  3. "Editions of The Burning Maze by Rick Riordan".
  4. "The On-Sale Calendar: May 2018 Children's Books".
  5. "CHILDREN'S FRONTLIST FICTION". Publishers Weekly. Archived from the original on 11 May 2018. Retrieved 3 December 2019.
  6. "TOP 10 OVERALL". Publishers Weekly. Archived from the original on 11 May 2018. Retrieved 3 December 2019.
  7. "This Week's Bestsellers: May 14, 2018".
  8. "The Trials of Apollo Book Three The Burning Maze". Archived from the original on 7 May 2018.
  9. "The Trials of Apollo, Book Three: The Burning Maze Kindle Edition". Archived from the original on 7 May 2018.
  10. "Amazon Charts Top 20 Books".
  11. "Trials of Apollo: The Burning Maze". Archived from the original on 10 May 2018.
  12. Press, Associated (10 May 2018). "WALL STREET JOURNAL-BEST SELLERS" via
  13. "Children's Series Books - Best Sellers - The New York Times".
  14. "The Burning Maze (The Trials of Apollo Book 3) by Rick Riordan".
  15. "Out now! Percy Jackson: The Burning Maze, third title in Rick Riordan's The Trials of Apollo series".
  16. Noble, Barnes &. "The Burning Maze (B&N Exclusive Edition) (The Trials of Apollo Series #3)". Barnes & Noble.
  17. Noble, Barnes &. "The Burning Maze (Special Limited Edition) (The Trials of Apollo Series #3)". Barnes & Noble.
  18. "The Burning Maze - Disney Books - Disney Publishing Worldwide".
  19. "The Tyrant's Tomb (The Trials of Apollo #4)". Goodreads. Retrieved 23 May 2018.
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