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Linda Sue Park
Margaret Peterson Haddix
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|This article describes a work or element of fiction in a primarily in-universe style. (December 2011)|
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Linda Sue Park
Margaret Peterson Haddix
|Media type||Print (hardcover)|
The 39 Clues is a series of adventure novels written by a collaboration of authors, including Rick Riordan, Gordon Korman, Peter Lerangis, Jude Watson, Patrick Carman, Linda Sue Park, Margaret Peterson Haddix, Roland Smith, and David Baldacci. The books chronicle the adventures of two siblings, Amy and Dan Cahill, who discover that they belong to the Cahill family, the most influential family in history. The main story arc concerns Dan and Amy's quest to find the 39 Clues, which are ingredients to a serum that can create the most powerful person on Earth. Since the release of the first novel The Maze of Bones on September 9, 2008, the books have gained popularity, positive critical reception, and commercial success. As of July 2010[update], the book series has about 8.5 million copies in print and has been translated into 24 languages. The major publisher of the books is Scholastic Press in the United States. Steven Spielberg acquired film rights to the series in June 2008, and a film based on the books will be released in 2014. The series also originated tie-in merchandise, including collectible cards and an interactive internet game.
The novels revolve around Amy and Dan Cahill, two orphans who, upon their grandmother's death, discover that they are members of the Cahill family, whose members have shaped the history of their world. The ancestors of the Cahill family are Gideon and Olivia Cahill, whose children created the branches of the family. The branches constantly compete against each other in a hunt for the 39 Clues, ingredients to a serum, the source of the family's power. Amy and Dan, along with their au pair Nellie, enter the hunt for the Clues and become embroiled in the conflict between the Cahill branches. As Amy and Dan participate in the hunt, they unearth secrets about their Cahill ancestors, their parents, and the Madrigals, a mysterious organization. Each book chronicles one location Amy, Dan, and Nellie travel to and focuses on one historical character to which a Clue is linked. The main narrative focuses on Amy and Dan's pursuit of the Clues while evading the sabotage of their competitors, who are Cahills from other branches. The books also contain the perspectives of the other Cahills as their view of Amy and Dan changes. The environment Riordan and the other authors have created is an alternative reality in which influential historical figures are all part of a single family. The world of The 39 Clues exists in parallel with the real world; other than the Cahills, no one knows the Cahills exist or how much they have shaped the world.
The Maze of Bones is the first book in the series, written by Rick Riordan. It was released September 9, 2008. Grace Cahill, on her deathbed, requests Mr. McIntyre to change her will and dies. At the funeral, Mr. McIntyre informs her grandchildren, Dan and Amy, of a choice: one million dollars or a chance to be the greatest Cahill in history (and the most powerful people in the world).
Amy and Dan choose the chance and enter the Clue hunt, competing against more experienced Clue hunters: the Holts, Alistair Oh, the Starlings, the Kabras, Jonah Wizard, and Irina Spasky. Pursuing clues hidden in Grace's library and the Franklin Institute, Dan and Amy discover that Benjamin Franklin has hidden a clue in Paris. After convincing their au pair Nellie to chaperone their trip, Amy and Dan travel to Paris. While on the journey, Amy and Dan discover the conflict-ridden history of the Cahills that Grace hid from them to protect them. Racing through Paris—above ground and underground—the siblings solves codes and ciphers and find the clue in a vial. The Kabras steal the vial, but Dan solves the puzzle on the envelope they received at the beginning of their hunt and discovers the clue: "iron solute". Amy's Internet searches for Franklin leads them to the probable location of the second Clue: Vienna, Austria, the home of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
One False Note is the second book in the series, written by Gordon Korman. It was released December 2, 2008. After Amy, Dan, and Nellie obtain the first clue, they and the other Cahills travel to Vienna, Austria to find a clue relating to Mozart and his sister, Maria Anna "Nannerl" Mozart.They stay at Nannerl's house and find the second clue, tungsten.
The Sword Thief is the third book in the series, written by Peter Lerangis. It was released March 3, 2009. A pair of swords from Vienna leads Amy, Dan, and Nellie to Japan for a clue related to the Japanese warrior Toyotomi Hideyoshi. Teaming up with Alistair Oh and the Kabras, the three follow a trail of clues to Korea, where they stay at Alistair's house. A book in Alistair's secret library leads them to a mountain called Pukhansan. The group finds an entrance to a cave. Inside, they find all of Hideyoshi's treasure, and the third clue, gold. Dan discovers and decodes an anagram and tricks the Kabras, who escape and seal everyone else in the cave. After escaping, Dan, Amy, and Nellie head for Egypt, as hinted in the anagram.
Beyond the Grave is the fourth book in the series, written by Jude Watson. It was released June 2, 2009. Dan, Amy, and Nellie search for a clue in Egypt while being pursued by the other Cahills. Theo Cotter, an Egyptian archaelologist, aids them in their quest for the fourth clue. He betrays them, and the siblings and Nellie narrowly escape death. They find the fourth clue, half a gram of myrrh, through a Sakhet statue Grace left them.
The Black Circle is the fifth book in the series, written by Patrick Carman. It was released August 11, 2009. After receiving a telegram from a mysterious person known only as 'NRR', Dan and Amy leave for Russia. Allying with the Holts, Amy and Dan infiltrate a Lucian stronghold. It is revealed that the clue is amber.
In Too Deep is the sixth book in the series, written by Jude Watson. It was released November 3, 2009. Dan and Amy head to Sydney, Australia to learn about what their parents knew about the 39 Clues from their dad's cousin, Sheppard Trent. They discover that Ian and Natalie's mother, Isabel Kabra, has joined the hunt. Isabel hunts the two down to kill them, but the siblings escape and follow a clue to Krakatau (the ring of fire), where they meet Alistair. Isabel sets fire to their hut. Irina Spasky dies while saving Amy, Dan and Alistair. After the fire, the three look in Irina's bag and find song lyrics, revealing the clue, water. At the end of the book, they start to suspect that Nellie spies on them for someone else.
The Viper's Nest is the seventh book in the series, written by Peter Lerangis. It was released February 2, 2010. The search begins the morning after the fire that killed Irina Spasky. Meanwhile, after using their code breaking abilities, Dan and Amy figured that the last words Irina spoke was actually a song, which points them to their next destination: Pretoria, South Africa. They infiltrate a Tomas stronghold, and the Holts chase them. While leaving South Africa, Dan and Amy were captured by the Kabras. Flying Grace's old plane The Flying Lemur, the siblings escape with a vial of green liquid. During a quarrel, the vial breaks and the green liquid spills onto Dan's arm. It turns out to be a Kabra poison. To get the antidote to save Dan, they fly to Grace Cahill's home in Madagascar, where they find out that the clue is aloe and their parents were Madrigals, whom Amy and Dan have been taught to fear, therefore meaning that they themselves are Madrigals.Irina dies. :'(
The Emperor's Code is the eighth book in the series, written by Gordon Korman. It was released April 6, 2010 Amy and Dan go to China to find the next clue. Amy and Dan split up following an argument but reunite at Mount Everest, where they find a Janus vial left by British Cahill mountaineer, George Mallory. They battle Eisenhower Holt and Ian Kabra over the serum. Ian falls, and Amy sacrifices the Janus serum to save Ian.
When Dan thinks they have lost the clue, Amy shows him the poem on the piece silk fabric they found in Beijing and tells him the next clue is raw silkworm secretion. They also realize that the formula on the silk, "Lucian + Janus + Tomas + Ekaterina = Cahill," means that all the serum of the branches add up to one master serum. Then Dan shows Amy the locket he found at a Shaolin temple, and they see a name of a pirate named Anne Bonny. They decide their next destination is the Caribbean.
Storm Warning, by Linda Sue Park, was released May 25, 2010. Amy and Dan continue their hunt in the Bahamas and Jamaica. They distrust Nellie after discovering that she worked for William McIntyre. After that, they head out to the Port Royal excavation site with Lester, Miss Alice's grandson, and find a box Grace donated that can fit the objects they collected: the Ekat dragon necklace, the Lucian snake nose-ring, the Janus Wolf Fang, and the Tomas Bear Claw. However, they cannot open the box, and after a non-Cahill ally dies, the siblings decide to quit the hunt and return to their Aunt Beatrice. However, instead of driving them to the airport, Nellie stops at Moore town, and gives the box to the Man In Black, an ominous figure who has been following Dan and Amy. The Man In Black gives the siblings one hour to open the box. As he walks away, he says that in the game all sides are one and all are needed to survive. After many tries, they figure out that on the strip they found is an unfolded möbius strip. Amy inserts the strip to the final slit and the box springs open. It contains a poem by Madeleine Cahill, and the clue, Mace.
The Man In Black reveals his true identity as Fiske Cahill, Amy and Dan's great-uncle and Grace's younger brother, and tells them about Madeleine Cahill and the Madrigal branch, as well as granting the two active Madrigal status. He then also gives Nellie active Madrigal status even though she is not a Cahill. After reading the poem, Dan concludes the siblings' next stop is England. There, they must finish the clue hunt and stop the other branches from fighting, as per their new status as active Madrigals.
Into The Gauntlet, the one before the final book in the first series, was released August 31, 2010, written by Margaret Peterson Haddix. In the book, all the teams come to the island of the original home of Gideon Cahill. Isabel Kabra captures them, and forces each of them to say their clues, by threatening to kill their loved ones. Amy saves them by smashing the serum over Isabel's head, knocking her out. Amy and Dan are left with a list of everyone's clues in their hands, which each team gave them, "Because they don't trust themselves around the serum, and the great power it wields."
Vespers Rising serves as a transition between the first and second series. It was written by Rick Riordan, Peter Lerangis, Gordon Korman, and Jude Watson. The book was released April 5, 2011. This book has four plot lines. The first describes Gideon's discovery of the master serum and betrayal by his friend and the first Vesper, Damien Vesper. The second recounts Madeleine Cahill's life and her attempt to reunite the Cahill family, protect her father's ring, and outwit Daimen Vesper in acquiring it. The third tells of Grace's first mission to Casablanca, as she competes against Vesper agent General George S. Patton to retrieve Gideon's gold ring. The fourth describes Amy and Dan's retrieval of Gideon's ring that Grace bequeathed to Amy, while escaping from Casper Wyoming, a Vesper member who is after it.
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Two years after the Clue Hunt, all who succeeded in finding Gideon's serum recipe have become Madrigals. The feud between the Cahill branches has ended, and the family unites to battle a new enemy: the Vespers. The Vespers are a secret organization an anonymous man called Vesper One leads. They have been the Cahills' enemies since the time of Gideon Cahill. The Vespers hold seven Cahills hostage to coerce Amy and Dan into retrieving rare artifacts for them.
The book begins when seven Cahills get kidnapped by the Vespers all around the globe. Soon after, Dan and Amy get picked up by the school bus, which is attacked by 3 Vespers agents who tried to kidnap both of them, but fail due to the sibling's counterattack. Right after the accident, Detective Corelli arrives and takes them home, advising them to get themselves bodyguards. At the mansion, McIntyre told them that Cahills all over the world have been kidnapped, and the Cahills then get a message from Vesper One telling them to go to Florence, Italy by tomorrow morning or one of the hostages dies.
Sinead, McIntyre and Ian (who has arrived from London) remain in the Cahill Command Center to find more information about the Vespers and the possible whereabouts of the Cahill hostages, while Dan and Amy go to Florence, where they get a message saying for them to steal the Caravaggio's "Medusa" located in the Uffizi gallery. They later they met up with Jonah Wizard and Hamilton Holt who help them steal the picture, but when they give the painting to the Vespers, it is found to be a fake and Vesper One sends them a video of Nellie getting shot in the shoulder.
Amy, Dan, Hamilton and Jonah then discover that the real painting was taken by a Mud Angel named Tobin decades ago. They manage to steal the painting from him but on the escape, they lose the chargers for the DeOssie phone. Ian then goes out to look for info on the phone and runs into Evan, who immediately recognizes it. Ian then tells Evan about the Cahills and invites him to join the Command Center.
Upon further investigation of the painting, the siblings (Jonah and Hamilton have left) find Latin words on the back of the painting, prompting Dan to ask his friend, Atticus for help. Atticus then tells Dan to come to the Colosseum, where Dan finds out that the snakes in Caravaggio's Medusa is a map of the Colosseum, with the one spot where two snakes bite each other as the "X". In the tunnels, they found DaVinci's Medusa shield, which Caravaggio based his picture on, and the original copy of a book by Marco Polo called Il Millione (The Million), which the Vespers were looking for. After an argument with the Rosenblooms, the siblings steal the book and fled.
Meanwhile, Jonah, Hamilton, Ian and Sinead find the DeOssie factory and get in easily. After searching the whole factory, they don't find the hostages but only the chargers. On the way out, Hamilton triggers a trap by shaking a vending machine, which blows up the entire DeOssie factory.
Dan and Amy finally go to give Vesper One the real painting at the drop-off, which is a circus. At the circus, the painting gets stolen by an acrobat working for Vesper One right before the stadium has a blackout. As everyone left the building, Dan and Amy saw the acrobat dying on the sidewalk. After asking her who she worked for, she replied: "Bruciato", or burned, meaning Vesper One has a burned arm. After coming outside, they receive another text message from Vesper One, who now tells them to go to Lucerne, Switzerland .
In the beginning of the book, Amy and Dan are wandering in Santa Maria Novella train station in Florence when they come across a girl named Vanessa Mallory, who is actually Cheyenne Wyoming in disguise and use her as a distraction in order to get into the train for Lucerne, Switzerland where Vesper One is sending them for their next mission: find the de Virga map. Once they're on the train, they realized that they were tricked, and an Interpol agent named Milos Vanek, tried to hunt them down. But, they manage to escape the train by hiding inside other people's luggage bags, into Enderberg.
Their first shot to find the map is the auction house in Lucerne, and they have to be disguised as rich people to succeed. Inside the house, they sneak in to the office and get the de Virga Map archives written in German. Ian translates it, revealing that these 4 people, Otto Hummer the professor, Jane Sperling the socialite, Marcel Maubert the art dealer, and Reginald Tawnley the person who owned a private library, have something to do with the map. Unfortunately, the report about Amy and Dan's criminal heists have reached the auction house, and they have to sneak out by creating diversions.
Later, William McIntyre meets Amy and Dan Cahill but Dan pushes him in to the river. After that they were inside a Blue Sedan, Then William gives Any and Dan a GPS wrist watch, and dropped them off at a Safe House in Basel. Then Sinead and Evan shares the information they have gathered of the four listed people. Maubert and Tawnley died in war, Hummel worked in the Nazi party, and Jane is a Jew who is thought to have tried to protect the de Virga map, which was owned by a Jewish family.
Meanwhile, Dan is making progress of gathering ingredients to create the Master Serum, which seems to be a backup if anything goes not according to plan. Amy has pieced all the informations she and the center gathered, and concludes that they have to search Neuschwanstein Castle.
After calling for backup, Jonah and Hamilton both come to Munich on their way to the castle but they accidentally pick up Cheyenne Wyoming and are nearly killed. Meanwhile, Amy and Dan find a black notebook owned by Sparrow, a.k.a. Jane Sperling at the castle. Inside is a note that probably will lead them to the location of the de Virga map. By another stroke of bad luck, Casper bumps into them, and almost kills them, but Jonah and Hamilton came to the rescue.
Analysis comes from the command center about the notes: they are about a Johannes Kepler book that was recovered from the castle to the Library of Philosophy and Cosmology in Prague, Czeh Republic. They head there to investigate the book, but can't without a reference paper. They try to use Rosenbloom's father, but it's still not a success. At the hotel, they again escape from Milos Vanek.
After going to Sedlec Ossuary on a hunch from the Command Center, they discover a flash drive file about a Vesper One report and the initials AJT, Arthur Josiah Trent, carved on the wall, which shocks Dan because it proves that Arthur was a Vesper. They then call Erasmus, who answers all their questions about Arthur. He explains how Arthur was initiated into the Vespers but later cut off all ties with them. Afterwards, Ian calls to tell Amy that a Lucian professor has agreed to help Dan and Amy enter the Library of Philosophy.
After going to the library, they bump into Jake and Atticus outside. Although Jake is originally inclined to call the Interpol, Atticus urges him to wait upon seeing the picture of Jane Sperling, who is his great grandmother. Atticus and Jake both decide to help the siblings. Inside, Katja Mavel, the director of the library, gives them what they want. Jake succeed in luring her away, and that leaves Dan, Amy, and Atticus. They finally find the map inside the book itself.Amy and Dan's Journey in google maps Added by SunrabbitLater, the Cahill siblings are trapped inside the room (Atticus managed to get out), and Casper activated the HALON Gas (which remove the oxygen in the room) but with Dan's and Evan's hacking skills combined, the siblings make it out alive.
Meanwhile, in Rome, William is killed by a Vesper dressed like a waiter. He left a secret message in his shoe before he died.
Back in Prague, Amy and Dan reveal their true intention about what they're doing, and Atticus reveals his involvement as a Guardian. The siblings had never heard of the group before. Dan manages to make a connection with Il Milione and the map: it's Samarkand, Uzbekistan - possibly the next stop for the next heist. Vesper One asks them to drop off the package at the Astronomical Tower, near the statue of Jan Hus. They do what has been asked, but it goes wrong. Atticus comes and is kidnapped.
Vesper One now knows Dan and Amy have been hiding Marco Polo's epilogue all this time, and explains that Atticus was the price of keeping it from him. Minutes later, another message goes to Dan's phone, sent from AJT.
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The third book, The Dead of Night, is written by Peter Lerangis and was released March 6, 2012. The Vespers have Atticus Rosenbloom, Dan's only friend. Unless Dan and Amy comply with the Vespers' demands, Atticus will die. Vesper One asks Amy and Dan to find a stale orb, which the siblings discover is an anagram for astrolabe. They fly to Samarkand, Ubekistan to find the astrolabe and deliver it to Vesper One. Atticus escapes, and Dan suspects his father murdered William McIntyre and is Vesper One. Ian goes off alone to New York, suspecting Isabel to be Vesper 1, and Isabel manipulates him into staying by saying that the other Cahills are not his friends and only tolerate him. The hostages are rumored to be in Argentina because of a lizard Nellie holds in a photo. Meanwhile,Dan has gathered seventeen ingredients of the thirty-nine for his own master serum. Amy worries that Dan is growing up too fast. Dan has also been receiving texts from a Vesper claiming to be his father, so he texts back a question to confirm this and is shocked that the answer is correct. The book reveals Vesper 4 to be weatherman Sandy Bancroft.
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Shatterproof, written by Roland Smith, was released September 4, 2012. Among Interpol's most wanted, Amy and Dan must comply with Vesper One's demands to steal the Golden Jubilee diamond displayed at Berlin's Pergamon Museum to keep Vesper One from killing a Cahill. Jonah, Hamilton, and Erasmus work on tracking down Luna Amato, so she can tell them the reasons and people behind William McIntyre's murder. Luna kills Erasmus, but is then in turn killed by Jonah. Also, Vesper Three is Sinead Starling
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Trust No One is by Linda Sue Park, the author of Storm Warning, and will be released December 4, 2012. The novel will be about Isabel and takes place in Brazil. Vesper 2 will be revealed in this book. The cover of the book features a scorpion according to the 39 Clues website. It is revealed in a sneak peek in the Kindle Edition of Shatterproof that Sinead Starling is Vesper 3 when Evan Tolliver finds out that he switched the lizards in the photo of Nellie. He goes to investigate but instead finds all the signs of a hasty escape from the Cahill Command Centre.
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Scholastic has expanded the 39 Clues universe with several books. In 2010, Scholastic published Agent Handbook, which explores the techniques that the clue hunters in the series use to find clues, and The Black Book of Buried Secrets, which provides more information about events in the series. On the last week of December 2011, the Scholastic editorial team released seven short stories as part of The 39 Clues: Rapid Fire e-book series. As part of the multimedia interactive experience to promote the series, Scholastic includes six cards in each book of the 39 Clues series. Each card unlocks one online clue, which readers can unlock by entering the code on the cards on their 39 Clues account online.
The 39 Clues series consists of adventure novels; however, the novels also fall within the genre of historical fiction. The stories switch back and forth between different characters' points of view. Each novel focuses on one historical figure and geographical location as Dan and Amy explore a clue related to a prominent Cahill family member in an exotic location.
One theme of the series is the relationship between talent and success. Each branch of the Cahill family has specific talents in a certain area; for example, the Ekaterina branch specializes in inventions and technology. Amy and Dan's competitors' talents give them an advantage, yet Amy and Dan consistently are ahead in the hunt and are viewed as the main threats. Over the course of the books, Amy and Dan discover their own talents.
An editorial team in Scholastic came up with idea of an interactive series with online games and asked Rick Riordan to write the first book. Riordan agreed because he thought it was a good idea, and as a middle school teacher, he loved making history enjoyable for younger readers. The project was kept secret for about two years.
As of June 11, 2010, The 39 Clues series has been on the New York Times bestseller list of Children's Series books for 48 weeks. Books in the series have also appeared on the USA Today, Publishers Weekly, and Wall Street Journal bestseller lists.
Steven Spielberg acquired film rights to the series in June 2008. Spielberg and Scholastic Media president Deborah Forte will produce the series, while Brett Ratner expressed interested in directing the first film. Screenwriter Jeff Nathanson was hired to write in September 2008. In May 2012, Shawn Levy, the director of the Night at the Museum movies, acquired the rights to direct the movie. The movie, The 39 Clues: The Movie, is going to be released in 2014. Universal Studios will release the film, jointly financed by Universal, DreamWorks, and Walden Media, in North America. DreamWorks, through Disney's Touchstone Pictures division, will handle international distribution.