The Lightning Thief was written by Rick Riordan and was published in 2005. It is the first book in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. The book is clearly inspired by the Harry Potter series. I first heard of this series when Jack reviewed it in his blog, and I read the first few chapters of the first book in Borders recently to see whether I should purchase the books. I liked what I read and ordered the set. I recently finished reading the first book, The Lightning Thief.
The premise of the book is that all of the gods and goddesses in Greek mythology are real and interact with humans in modern times. The average person has no idea that the gods and goddesses are real and are responsible for the weather, natural disasters, war, and pretty much everything else that happens in our world.
Percy arrives at Camp Half-Blood to learn that he is the son of one of the Greek gods. He is a demigod, half human and half god. Unfortunately, one of the gods wants to kill Percy because Percy has been blamed for the theft of an important possession. Not only that, but monsters try to kill the demigods whenever they are not at Camp Half-Blood. The demigods can be killed by both mortal and immortal weapons, so they are doubly vulnerable.
Camp Half-Blood sounds like a pretty neat place. Here is a scan of the map of Camp Half-Blood that came in my boxed set.
Camp Half-Blood is a safe haven for the demigods and is where they are trained. It is a place kind of like Hogwarts. Another similarity to the Harry Potter books is that Percy's home with his mother and highly-unpleasant stepfather is also a safe place for Percy where his enemies cannot find him, like the Dursley home is for Harry Potter.
—to be continued