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The Flame of Olympus

Book #1 of Pegasus

About The Book

A young girl, a winged horse, and an Olympian war make for an adventurous start to an exciting trilogy.

When Pegasus crashes onto a Manhattan roof during a terrible storm, thirteen-year-old Emily’s life changes forever. Suddenly allied with a winged horse she’d always thought was mythical, Emily is thrust into the center of a fierce battle between the Roman gods and a terrifying race of multiarmed stone warriors called the Nirads. Emily must team up with a thief named Paelen, the goddess Diana, and a mortal boy named Joel in order to return Pegasus to Olympus and rescue the gods from a certain death.

Along the way, Emily and her companions will fight monsters, run from a government agency that is prepared to dissect Pegasus, and even fly above the Manhattan skyline—all as part of a quest to save Olympus before the Olympic flame burns out.

Reading Group Guide

A Reading Group Guide for

The Flame of Olympus
by Kate O’Hearn

Discussion Questions

1. What were your first impressions of Paelen? How did your opinion of him change through the course of the book? In general, would you characterize him as a villain or a hero?

2. The storm at the beginning of the book causes a massive blackout in New York City. Have you ever experienced a blackout? What things can people do to remain safe during a blackout? What precautions can you take, before and during severe storms?

3. When Emily meets Pegasus on the roof of her building, she “felt her world changing.” Have you ever experienced a moment that felt life-changing? What was the moment, and how did it affect your life?

4. When we meet Joel, he is angry and withdrawn. What causes his tough exterior to wear off?

5. Joel knows a lot about Olympus from studying Roman (and Greek) myths. What is a myth? Why do myths exist? What purpose do they serve?

6. Each Olympian possesses a special power or strength—even Paelen, the thief! What power or strength would you choose for yourself, if you lived on Olympus?

7. Although Emily and Joel are not Olympians, they demonstrate remarkable qualities. What earthly power or strength would you say they possess, respectively?

8. Kate O’Hearn crafted bold, sensitive, and mysterious characters in The Flame of Olympus but rarely described their physical appearances. How do you envision Emily, Joel, Diana, and Paelen?

9. “Emily saw the promise of protection in Pegasus’s eyes.” What does it mean to read someone through his/her eyes?

10. Emily and Pegasus share a unique bond. Describe a time you’ve felt close to an animal. How might humans and animals communicate?

11. In Chapter 17, we learn of a troubling truth about the treatment of carriage horses in New York City. How and why does this happen? How did you react, upon reading about it?

12. Diana mentions that Olympians had visited our world in times past. What might have been the reasons for their visits, before? What kinds of circumstances would prompt Olympians to visit our world, in the future?

13. The CRU agents suspected Paelen was an alien. Do you believe in aliens?

14. Emily cleverly comes up with a fake story to explain how she became acquainted with Pegasus and Diana. She compared her tale to “the best of Greek or Roman myths!” Imagine an alternate story—or myth—to explain the group’s adventure around New York.

15. Referring to Emily’s transformation at the temple in Olympus, Joel remarks, “I don’t know what the heck you did in there, or how you did it . . . but it worked!” What do you think happened?

16. Make predictions for what will happen in the next book in this series. Where is Emily’s father? What will Emily’s role be, in the future of Olympus? How will New Yorkers ultimately explain the series of strange events they witnessed—the Nirads, Pegasus flying in the air?

17. Read Kate O’Hearn’s dedication page. What might we learn from viewing our world from Pegasus’s perspective?

Guide written by Catharine Prodromou, Lead Teacher at the Alta Vista School, San Francisco, CA

This guide has been provided by Simon & Schuster for classroom, library, and reading group use. It may be reproduced in its entirety or excerpted for these purposes.

About The Author

Photograph © R. Hearn

Kate O’Hearn was born in Canada, raised in New York City, and has traveled all over the United States. She currently resides in England. Kate is the author of the Pegasus series, the Shadow Dragon series, the Titans series, the Valkyrie series, and the Atlantis series. Visit her at

Product Details

  • Publisher: Aladdin (May 7, 2013)
  • Length: 416 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781442444102
  • Grades: 3 - 7
  • Ages: 8 - 12
  • Lexile ® 620L The Lexile reading levels have been certified by the Lexile developer, MetaMetrics®

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Awards and Honors

  • North Carolina Young Adult Book Award Nominee
  • Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year Selection Title

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