39 Clues by Rick Riordin


When Aunt Grace dies, she opens up a clue to a secret that can make or break the world.  Each member of her family is offered two million dollars to take as an inheritance and walk away…


you can turn in the bank voucher for the 2 million and instead get a clue to something…. amazing.  Something that can make you powerful and probably save the world.

Most of the family takes the 2 millions dollars… after all Grace was old and seriously may not have been in her right mind.  The 2 million is a solid deal.. the clue?  Not so much.

Yet 7 families do take the clue…. many of them already wealthy are greedy for the thought of power….  but for Dan (11) and Amy (14) Cahill they really don’t see what they have to lose.  Warded to an unloving Aunt Beatrice after their parents were killed, Beatrice (Grace’s sister) treats the kids like dirt.  The clue…could provide freedom and adventure.

They take the clue.

Soon the siblings as well as the very strange and power-hungry members of their family are on the hunt of a lifetime.  They follow the historical trail of Ben Franklin to find the next clue, with Amy’s book smarts and Dans math smarts they can and do go far but not without trouble from other family and others who they thought were allies, who want the treasure for themselves.



This book has interested me since it was released…. probably because it is more than a book.  The book includes a website, trading cards, and is really part of a 10 book series penned by different authors.  You can even log into a site and become part of the hunt.  Being a big fan of movies like Indiana Jones, National Treasure, Jewel Of The Nile…

yeah… I was hooked and Scholastic, you are brilliant.

I listened to this one on audio and by now I am starting to feel I have Rick Riordin’s number.  His characters from what I have picked up on from Percy Jackson and the Olympians as well as Red Pyramid have given way to characters of youth of fantasy and intrigue.

The audio book was a  joy to listen to.  As an adult it held my interest and I loved the historical information sprinkled through the book as the siblings uncovered the clues within the clue.  Even I learned a few things about Benjamin Franklin that I did not know.  🙂  As a middle grade reader, I think these books would be devoured.

I love that many authors worked on these books together, each adding their own personal flare.  I just love that!


Here is the list of the books in the series: (as written in wikepedia)


Each book in the 39 Clues series includes six cards, which unlock one online clue, the same one Amy and Dan find in the corresponding book. Readers can unlock it by entering the code on one of the cards on their 39 Clues account. If eligible, they will also be automatically entered to win the Book Prizes, the largest being $10,000.

Book 1: The Maze of Bones

Main article: The Maze of Bones

The Maze of Bones is the first book in the series, written by Rick Riordan. It was released on September 9, 2008. Amy and Dan Cahill travel to Paris, France in search of a clue that Benjamin Franklin hid there after their grandmother sets their large family off on the quest. William McIntyre (the person that first told Amy and Dan about the clue hunt) told the 7 teams to trust no one. Unfortunately, Amy and Dan didn’t do what William had said.The pages that have strange markings say “Anni Cahill did not drown”. While on the journey they discover that there is more to their family than they were led on to believe. The find and activate a liquid only to be stolen by Ian Kabra. The clue is iron solute.

Book 2: One False Note

Main article: One False Note

One False Note is the second book in the series, written by Gordon Korman. It was released on December 2, 2008. After succeeding in obtaining the first clue, Amy and Dan (along with their competition) travel to Vienna, Austria to find a clue relating to Mozart and his sister, Maria Anna “Nannerl” Mozart, famous Cahills. Following a lead to Venice, Italy, Dan and Amy brush up with the other competitors, however, to secure the lead. The strange markings say “Look to India”. The clue is tungsten.

Book 3: The Sword Thief

Main article: The Sword Thief

The Sword Thief is the third book in the series, written by Peter Lerangis. It was released on March 3, 2009. They travel to Japan to find the next clue, focusing on swords stolen centuries ago by Japanese warrior Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and they make an alliance with Alistair Oh and later the Kabras. Amy and Ian start to like each other, but their relationship ends in an unusual way, because Ian fails horribly at reading his true feelings. The strange markings at the bottoms of the pages say “The competition is about hope”.

Book 4: Beyond the Grave

Main article: Beyond the Grave

Beyond the Grave is the fourth book in the series, written by Jude Watson. It was released on June 4, 2009. Amy and Dan go to Egypt on the next step in their quest and meet an old friend of their grandmother’s, who gives them a hint left for them by Grace before she died. Amy is apparently not over Ian, as she often thinks about him.

Book 5: The Black Circle

Main article: The Black Circle

The Black Circle is the fifth book in the series, written by Patrick Carman. It was released on August 11, 2009. After receiving a telegram from a mysterious person known as ‘NRR’, Amy and Dan travel to Russia. In Russia, Amy and Dan form an alliance with Hamilton Holt. They go through a series of clues that keep leading them to different places and they are being timed.The clue is Amber.

Book 6: In Too Deep

In Too Deep is the sixth book in the series, written by Jude Watson. It was released on November 3, 2009. Amy and Dan arrive in Australia and meet up with their surfer uncle Shep Trent. Also, Isabel Kabra joins the hunt. Isabel tries to kill Amy and Dan by starting a fire and Irina dies saving them. It is revealed that Isabel Kabra was the one who caused Amy and Dan’s parents to die.

Book 7: The Viper’s Nest

Main article: The Viper’s Nest

The Viper’s Nest is the seventh book in the series, written by Peter Lerangis. It was released on February 2, 2010. Amy and Dan, shaken up by their last encounter with Irina, travel to South Africa after discovering a note in Irina’s boat. Their search leads them to a Tomas stronghold in the South African veldt.

Book 8: The Emperor’s Code

Main article: The Emperor’s Code

The Emperor’s Code is the eighth book in the series, written by Gordon Korman. It was released on April 6, 2010.[1][7] Amy and Dan arrive in China, fresh from the shocking discovery that they are Madrigals. In this book, Dan releases the info that he is a Madrigal to the Wizards. At one point in the book, Dan is kidnapped by the Kabras. They continue to search for clues, though, and find a note written on silk from the Chinese emperor Puyi. They find out that the clue is hidden elsewhere. They travel to the top of Mount Everest to find the Clue.

Book 9: Storm Warning

The ninth book, Storm Warning, was written by Linda Sue Park and released on the 25th of May, 2010. Amy and Dan go to Jamaica, where they meet a friend of Grace and her nephew, Lester, who helps them, then dies.Nellie is then confirmed to be a Madrigal in this book.

Book 10: Into The Gauntlet

Main article: Into the Gauntlet

Into The Gauntlet, the final book in the series, was released on August 31, 2010, written by Margaret Peterson Haddix. In the book, all the teams come to Cahill Island. 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 her head and knocking Isabel out cold. 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.” Dan and Amy end up winning the clue hunt the way Grace wanted them to, with everyone else wanting them to win.

Book 11: Vespers Rising

This book will serve as a transition between the first and second series. It will be written by Rick Riordan, Peter Lerangis, Gordon Korman, and Jude Watson. The book is expected to be released on April 5, 2011.[8] It will explain the history of the Vesper family, the Madrigals, Grace, and eventually catch up to Amy and Dan.[9]


My thoughts:  This is definitely a series to try if you have middle grade adventure readers…. I love the interaction with the website.

The 2011 WHERE Are You Reading Map has been updated to include 39 Clues


I purchased this audio from audible.com


31 thoughts on “39 Clues by Rick Riordin

  1. My 8 year old son is devouring this series right now! He started Book 6 yesterday – each night we find him with his flashlight on, sound asleep, with the book on his pillow beside him! *heart swells with pride*

    He loves the trading cards, enters them into his profile on the website and LOVES learning about the different places around the world and people from history. (He is learning more about history and geography from 39 clues than from school! but that’s a story for another day…)

    Scholastic – wow. Just wow. As a parent, I went onto their website and found all sorts of extra materials to aid in his learning quest!

    I can’t say enough about the series. I myself have only read Maze of Bones…and that was years ago. I need to pick it up again, so I can get even more involved with my son in the series!

        1. I have only read the one so I don’t know how that will work out either Hannah but I am kind of intrigued how they would have all had to work together to continue the story…. 🙂

          That could really make or break the books.

  2. Thanks for this review. I was considering this series for my son but think we’ll wait a couple years as it sounds like it will be too much for a 6 year old.

  3. I don’t have a middle grade reader here, but the books interest me because of all the interaction they offer online and such. This one is on my wish list. Thanks for sharing, Sheila…..

  4. This sounds like such fun and a very interactive reading experience. I can’t wait until my son is older and we can explore this together.

  5. Thanks for this review. It sounds like a series of books that I do think middle-graders could get into especially due to the interactive stuff you referred to. I wonder how my 11-year old daughter would like the books? I am going to get one from the library to see what she thinks.

    By the way, I have seen these books around before but was never interested. Thought they may be fluff, and bit lame. Your review has made me curious about them for the first time.

  6. I bought this when it first came out hoping it was something my son and I could read together. Alas, he didn’t seem interested and it has sat on my shelf ever since. Maybe I’ll just read it without him!

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