The 39 Clues

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The 39 Clues
39 Clues logo.png
Country United States
Language English
Publisher Scholastic
Published 2008—present
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, David Baldacci, Jeff Hirsch, Natalie Standiford, C. Alexander London, and Jenny Goebel. It consists of four series, The Clue Hunt, Cahills vs. Vespers, Unstoppable, and Doublecross. They chronicle the adventures of two siblings, Amy and Dan Cahill, who discover that their family, the Cahills, has been the most influential family in history. The first 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.[1] This series' primary audience is age 8–12.[citation needed] Since the release of the first novel, The Maze of Bones, on September 9, 2008, the books have gained popularity, positive reception, and commercial success. As of July 2010, the book series has about 8.5 million copies in print and has been translated into 24 languages.[2] The 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 2016.[3] The series also originated tie-in merchandise, including collectible cards and an interactive Internet game.

The Clue Hunt[edit]

The 39 Clues books and card packs as of August 2010.
The path Amy and Dan took in the first ten books.

The first series revolves around Amy and Dan Cahill, orphans who upon their grandmother's death discover that the Cahill family has shaped most of world history. The ancestors of the family are Gideon and Olivia Cahill, whose children (Luke, Jane, Katherine, and Thomas) created the branches of the family (Lucian, Janus, Ekaterina, and Tomas). The branches compete against each other in a hunt for the 39 Clues, ingredients to a serum, the source of the family's power. 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 to which Amy, Dan, and Nellie travel and focuses on one historical character with whom a Clue has a link. The main narrative focuses on Amy and Dan's pursuit of the Clues while evading the sabotage of their competitors: Cahills from the other branches. The books also contain the perspectives of the other Cahills as their views of Amy and Dan change. The environment all of the authors have created is an alternative reality in which influential historical figures belong to a single family. The world of The 39 Clues exists in parallel with the real world; other than the Cahills, no one knows that the Cahills exist or how much they have shaped the world.

The Maze of Bones[edit]

Main article: The Maze of Bones

The Maze of Bones is the first book in the series. It was written by Rick Riordan and published on September 9, 2008.

After their grandmother dies, Amy and Dan Cahill discover that they are part of the most powerful family in history. The source of this power is hidden in 39 Clues scattered around the world. Amy, Dan and other Cahills are given a choice: Take a million dollars and walk away, or compete to find all the Clues. The first Clue is somehow connected to Benjamin Franklin, but its location is a mystery.[4]

One False Note[edit]

Main article: One False Note

One False Note is the second book in the series. It was written by Gordon Korman and published on December 2, 2008.

Amy and Dan follow a lead hidden in the sheet music of composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. They trace his life through Austria, but their relatives aren’t far behind. Barely escaping police and a violent explosion, the pair find themselves navigating the crowded canals of Venice. They must track down the Clue while avoiding rival Cahills, booby traps, and an angry mob in the Janus stronghold.[5]

The Sword Thief[edit]

Main article: The Sword Thief

The Sword Thief is the third book in the series. It was written by Peter Lerangis and published on March 3, 2009.

On the trail of a Clue hidden by fearsome samurai Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Amy and Dan head to Japan — the heart of Tomas territory. Relying on their tricky uncle Alistair Oh, the two barely escape the deadly yakuza. They must now join forces with the Kabras for the sake of finding the Clue, but will their slippery alliances get them killed?[6]

Beyond the Grave[edit]

Main article: Beyond the Grave

Beyond the Grave is the fourth book in the series. It was written by Jude Watson and published on June 2, 2009.

Rumor has it that Katherine Cahill hid a Clue in Egypt 500 years ago that may have been connected to three golden statues of the Egyptian goddess Sakhet. Amy and Dan have managed to get one of the statues, but their hunt for the other two leads them to a mummy’s tomb and a confrontation with one of their deadliest enemies.[7]

The Black Circle[edit]

Main article: The Black Circle

The Black Circle is the fifth book in the series. It was written by Patrick Carman and published on August 11, 2009.

Amy and Dan make a direct assault on a Lucian stronghold beneath the Kremlin in Moscow. Though they’re trying to find out what happened to a Russian treasure stolen by the Nazis during WWII, this search may be more personal. The two have a chance to learn the truth about the fire that killed their parents. The Man in Black has also been sighted — all agents be warned![8]

In Too Deep[edit]

In Too Deep is the sixth book in the series. It was written by Jude Watson (who also wrote Beyond the Grave) and published on November 3, 2009.

Isabel Kabra trails Amy and Dan in Australia, where they are researching a little-known outlaw named Bob Troppo. They rejected Isabel’s offer of an alliance, and she is now determined to eliminate them from the competition. Permanently. Amy and Dan’s parents were murdered for the Clue hunt... and they may be left to face the same fate.[9]

The Viper's Nest[edit]

Main article: The Viper's Nest

The Viper's Nest is the seventh book in the series. It was written by Peter Lerangis and published on February 2, 2010.

Amy and Dan find a hint in the notebook of a fallen competitor that leads to South Africa. Shaka Zulu, historic leader of the Zulu nation, seems to be the key to this Clue, but Amy and Dan must break into a Tomas stronghold to get it. The two are close to the Clue when they discover classified information: Their parents were wanted by South African police for murder.[10]

The Emperor's Code[edit]

Main article: The Emperor's Code

The Emperor's Code is the eighth book in the series. It was written by Gordon Korman and published on April 6, 2010.[11]

After an argument with his sister in Beijing's Forbidden City, Dan is kidnapped by the Kabras. Nellie and Amy are searching for him, along with a Clue connected to Tomas mountaineer George Mallory and the last Emperor of China. It’s the first time Amy and Dan have been separated — in a country of more than a billion people, how will they find each other again?[12]

Storm Warning[edit]

Storm Warning is the ninth book in the series. It was written by Linda Sue Park and published on May 25, 2010.

Amy and Dan continue their hunt in the Bahamas and Jamaica. They distrust Nellie after discovering that she works for William McIntyre. 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. They cannot open the box, and after a non-Cahill ally dies, the siblings decide to quit the hunt. However, instead of driving them to the airport, Nellie stops at Moore town and gives the box to a mysterious man who has been following Dan and Amy. The man gives the siblings one hour to open the box. 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 of mace. The mystery man 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 Madrigal status even though she is not a Cahill. After reading the poem, Dan concludes that the siblings' next stop is England.

Into The Gauntlet[edit]

Main article: Into the Gauntlet

Into The Gauntlet is the tenth and penultimate book in the series. It was written by Margaret Peterson Haddix and published on August 31, 2010.

The teams all go to the globe theater in England and start a fight for a clue. Amy and Dan get most of the note while others may come out with nothing at all or a little hint in total. All the teams arrive at the home of the founder, Gideon Cahill, on an island. Isabel Kabra captures them and forces each of them to reveal their clues by threatening to kill their loved ones. Amy smashes the serum over Isabel's head, knocking her out. Amy and Dan are left with a list of everyone's clues, which each team gives them.

Vespers Rising[edit]

Main article: Vespers Rising

Vespers Rising is the eleventh and final book in the original series. It was written by Rick Riordan, Peter Lerangis, Gordon Korman, and Jude Watson, and was published on April 5, 2011. It deals with four plot lines, each of which was penned by a different author. The first describes Gideon's discovery of the master serum and betrayal by his friend and the first Vesper, Damien Vesper. The second recounts Madeline Cahill's life and her attempt to reunite the Cahill family, protect her father's ring, and outwit Damien Vesper from 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 treasured golden ring. The fourth passage describes Amy and Dan's retrieval of Gideon's ring that Grace bequeathed to Amy, while escaping from Casper Wyoming, a Vesper agent who is after it.

Cahills vs. Vespers[edit]

Cahills vs. Vespers is the second series in The 39 Clues franchise. It revolves around the now united Cahill family fighting rival group the Vespers.

The Medusa Plot[edit]

Main article: The Medusa Plot

The Medusa Plot is the first book in the series.

Two years after the Clue Hunt, all who succeeded in finding Gideon's serum recipe have united. The feud between the Cahill branches has ended, and the family unites to battle a new enemy: the Vespers, a secret organization led by Vesper One who have been the Cahills' enemies since the time of Gideon Cahill. Members of the Cahill family are kidnapped and will be returned only if Dan and Amy follow Vesper One's instructions.

Thirteen-year-old Dan Cahill and his older sister, Amy, thought they belonged to the world's most powerful family. They thought the hunt for 39 Clues leading to the source of that power was over. They even thought they'd won. But Amy and Dan were wrong.

One by one, distress calls start coming in from around the globe. Cahills are being kidnapped by a shadowy group known only as the Vespers. Now Amy and Dan have only days to fulfill a bizarre ransom request or their captured friends will start dying. Amy and Dan don't know what the Vespers want or how to stop them. Only one thing is clear. The Vespers are playing to win, and if they get their hands on the Clues . . . the world will be their next hostage. [13]

A King's Ransom[edit]

A King's Ransom
Author Jude Watson
Series Cahills vs. Vespers
Published December 6, 2011 (2011-12-06)
Preceded by The Medusa Plot
Followed by The Dead of Night

A King's Ransom is the second book in the series. It was written by Jude Watson and published on December 6, 2011.

When seven members of their family were kidnapped by a sinister organization known as the Vespers, thirteen-year-old Dan Cahill and his older sister, Amy, vowed they'd stop at nothing to bring the hostages home. But then the ransom comes in and the Vespers demand the impossible. Amy and Dan have just days to track down and steal an ancient map. The only catch? No one has seen the map for half a century.

Now Amy and Dan are on a desperate search that will lead them to the Nazis, spies, a mad king and some of history's dirtiest secrets. It's the race of their lives . . . and one misstep will mean certain death for the hostages.[14]

The Dead of Night[edit]

The Dead of Night
Author Peter Lerangis
Series Cahills vs. Vespers
Published March 6, 2012 (2012-03-06)
Preceded by A King's Ransom
Followed by Shatterproof

The Dead of Night is the third book in the series. It was written by Peter Lerangis and published on March 6, 2012.

The Vespers have Atticus Rosenbloom. Unless Dan and Amy comply with the Vespers' demands, Atticus will die. Vesper One asks Amy and Dan to find a stale orb, an anagram for astrolabe. They fly to Samarkand, Uzbekistan, to find the astrolabe. Atticus escapes, and Dan suspects that his father murdered William McIntyre and is Vesper One. Ian goes to New York, suspecting Isabel to be Vesper One, and Isabel manipulates him into staying by saying that the other Cahills are not his friends. The hostages are rumored to be in Argentina because of a lizard Nellie holds in a photo. Dan has gathered seventeen ingredients of the thirty-nine for his own master serum. He 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.


Author Roland Smith
Series Cahills vs. Vespers
Published September 4, 2012 (2012-09-04)
Preceded by The Dead of Night
Followed by Trust No One

Shatterproof is the fourth book in the series. It was written by Roland Smith and published on September 4, 2012.[15]

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. The Diamond is too well protected, and they escape from security. Vesper One reveals that they were merely a distraction, and he has the things he needs. He tells them to find the "Apology", a Roman article written by a soldier. 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 Jonah kills her. The hostages try to escape, but the Vespers stop them. Phoenix falls off a cliff but survives and gets away. Before they escape, Casper and Cheyenne inform Amy and Dan of Phoenix's supposed death. Vesper Three is revealed to be Sinead Starling, who frames Ian.[16]

Trust No One[edit]

Trust No One
Author Linda Sue Park
Series Cahills vs. Vespers
Published December 4, 2012 (2012-12-04)
Preceded by Shatterproof
Followed by Day of Doom

Trust No One is the fifth and penultimate book in the series. It was written by Linda Sue Park, the author of Storm Warning, and was published on December 4, 2012.[17] The novel features Isabel and takes place in Brazil.[18]

Vesper One tells Amy and Dan to go to Yale and steal the Voynich Manuscript, Folio 74. Evan finds out that Sinead is Vesper Three. She blocks Evan's messages, but Amy finds out, and the two fought before Sinead flees. Amy then apologizes to Ian, and they find that the folio is missing. After meeting Dave Speminer (a friend of the Rosenblooms' mother, Astrid), Atticus remember something that his mom said to him before dying: Missing Voynich with LaCher. Vesper One streams a video of Nellie, telling them of Alistair's death. They check Astrid Rosenbloom's e-mail for clues about the folio's location and find a coded email to Astrid which directs them to the Iguazu Falls in Brazil. During a capoeira performance, a capoeirista "accidentally" injures Atticus. At the Falls, a second attack occurs, and a blow dart coated with curare hits Dan, but a nearby doctor saves him from the poison. They realize Isabel Kabra orchestrated the attacks and that there will be one more.

A taxi driver takes them to Mabu Thermas Hotel and Spa and sees Dan's new wallpaper on his laptop, one of the "plumbing pictures" in the Voynich. At the spa, they meet LaCher Siffright, who has Folio 74. LaCher protects Atticus from the third attack: a man who throws a knife and a skewer at Atticus. They find the folio and realize that Archimedes plays a part in the Vespers' master plan. They suspect Isabel to be Vesper One and ask Hamilton and Jonah to find out more about Archimedes. Amy is tricked into giving Vesper One Gideon's ring, which Grace entrusted her with. They find out the Vespers' master plan: The Vespers want to use the things they stole to build the Machina Fini Mundi, a doomsday device using electromagnets on subduction zones to create natural disasters. Traumatized, Amy hides in her own mind, blocking out the real world. Dan decides that the team should go to Attleboro. He believes that to combat a doomsday device, he needs the serum which he recently created, and he drinks an unknown liquid an Ekaterina scientist manufactures.

Day of Doom[edit]

Day of Doom
Author David Baldacci
Series Cahills vs. Vespers
Published March 5, 2013 (2013-03-05)
Preceded by Trust No One
Followed by Nowhere to Run

Day of Doom is the sixth and final book in the Cahills vs. Vespers series. It is written by David Baldacci and published on March 5, 2013.

Continuing from the last chapter of Trust No One, Dan drinks the "serum" that he made with the help of an Ekaterina scientist, but Amy reveals that she replaced the real serum with a mixture of vegetables. Amy tells Dan that Isabel Kabra is Vesper Two, not Vesper One, and that she is flying to Washington, D.C. Following a clue from Atticus' mother, Amy and Dan go to the National Museum of Natural History, which houses the largest collection of Lewis and Clark items. On the train, Vesper One sends them a video of the hostages. Atticus realizes that Ted is blinking Morse code and decodes the message: Riley McGrath is Vesper One. At the museum, they find out that Isabel wanted to see Lewis and Clark's compass. Dan sees numbers and letters scratched onto the back of the compass. Evan and Ian receive a call from Phoenix from a motel in Washington state and head there with Hamilton and Jonah, whom Sandy, Casper, and Cheyenne follow. Disguised as a waitress, Cheyenne forces them into a van, taking them to the Rocky Mountains. Dan decides to take a train to the Cascade Mountain Range, where they believe the hostages and the Machina Fini Mundi are. Atticus grows suspicious of Dave and finds out that Dave Speminer is an anagram of Damien Vesper, the founder of the Vespers. Dan learns that Isabel had been posing as his father and sending the text messages. Isabel kidnaps Atticus, steals the serum in Dan's bag, and escapes. Amy discovers that Isabel modified the coordinates etched on the compass's reverse. The location of the hostages and the Machina Fini Mundi turns out to be on the Rocky Mountains.

The Vespers move the hostages from the Cascades to the Rockies. En route, the hostages break free and incapacitate Sandy, Casper, and Cheyenne and meet up with Amy, Dan, Atticus, and Jake. They find the Machina Fini Mundi and battle the Vespers. The Vespers fatally shoot Evan, while the device electrocutes Natalie. Amy turns the Machina Fini Mundi into a giant electromagnet. When the Vespers come, the device disarms and electrocutes them. Sandy and Damien arrive and hand out stone weapons. Isabel, having drunk Dan's serum and seeking revenge for her children, arrives and tries to stop Damien from inserting the final piece. The device activates, but Isabel destroys it. Damien melts into the device, causing an explosion, which kills Damien and Isabel. In the aftermath, Amy, Sinead, and Dan discuss how they will return to their normal lives.


Unstoppable is the third series in The 39 Clues franchise. It was revealed in Publishers Weekly on October 25, 2012. Jude Watson wrote the story arc for the series.

Nowhere to Run[edit]

Nowhere to Run
Author Jude Watson
Series Unstoppable
Published October 1, 2013 (2013-10-01)
Preceded by Day of Doom
Followed by Breakaway

Nowhere to Run is the first book in the series.

J. Rutherford Pierce, a presidential candidate, attacks Amy and Dan and steals the serum from the safekeeper, Sammy Mourad, to use its power to conquer the entire world. Using the serum he makes himself a media empire which he uses to attack Amy and Dan's reputation. This leads the siblings to go to a safehouse in Ireland where they find a book written by Olivia Cahill which tells the antidote to the serum. With the help of friends and family Amy and Dan go to Troy to find an ingredient for the antidote for the serum. Meanwhile, Pierce kidnaps Sammy, a Lucian-Ekaterina Student who made the Serum with Dan in Trust No One, in order for him to be able to mass-produce the serum and build himself an army for world domination. To help Sammy, Nellie disguises herself as a chemist in order to be hired by Pierce and rescue Sammy from Trilon Labrotories. Back in Troy Amy and Dan find six whiskers of an Anatolian leopard as the first ingredient of the antidote.


Author Jeff Hirsch
Series Unstoppable
Published January 28, 2014 (2014-01-28)
Preceded by Nowhere to Run
Followed by Countdown

Breakaway is the second book in the series.

Dan and Amy face an enemy who has found a way to use the source of the Cahill family power against them. To stop him, Dan and Amy must find the antidote to the serum that the enemy took: Siliphium. The search will take them from one of the world's hottest regions in Tunisia to the frozen blast of the Arctic Circle. With the enemy closing in, Dan faces the one terror he never imagined - being betrayed by his sister.


Author Natalie Standiford
Series Unstoppable
Published April 29, 2014 (2014-04-29)
Preceded by Breakaway
Followed by Flashpoint

Countdown is the third and penultimate book in the series.

The life or death clock has run out for Dan Cahill. He and his sister, Amy have been in the crosshairs for too long. Now luck has run out for The Cahills and Dan is trapped. As the helpless boy hovers between life and death, Amy has a terrifying decision to make. But just how far will Amy go to save her brother?[19]


Author Gordon Korman
Series Unstoppable
Published August 26, 2014 (2014-08-26)
Pages 224
Preceded by Countdown
Followed by Mission Titanic

Flashpoint is the fourth and final book in the Unstoppable series.

Sixteen-year-old Amy Cahill only has a few days to live. There’s a poison coursing through her, and her only chance is to collect ingredients for an antidote. Too bad the antidote ingredients are scattered around the world. The antidote is also the only thing capable of stopping Dick Johnson, who is on the brink of becoming the most powerful man in the world. Amy and Dan will do everything it takes to bring Pierce down, even if Amy must pay the ultimate price.[20]


Doublecross is the fourth series in The 39 Clues franchise. On April 26, 2014, at the New Hampshire Worlds Collide event, it was announced that the 39 Clues would get a fourth series titled Doublecross. [21] There will be four books.

Mission Titanic[edit]

Mission Titanic
Author Jude Watson
Series Doublecross
Published February 24, 2015 (2015-02-24)
Pages 224[22]
Preceded by Flashpoint
Followed by Mission Hindenburg

Mission Titanic is the first book in the series. It was published on February 24, 2015.[22][23]

The Outcast was banished from the Cahill family, never mentioned again. For years, he’s been lurking, watching, recruiting, waiting for the chance for revenge. And now he strikes, with a diabolical plan. The Outcast recreates four of history’s most infamous disasters, and gives the Cahill kids just days to stop them. The kids smell something fishy but when there are innocent lives on the line, the worst thing of all is the devastating betrayal that is waiting to come for Amy, Dan and Nellie...[24]

Mission Hindenburg[edit]

Mission Hindenburg
Author C. Alexander London
Series Doublecross
Published July 28, 2015 (2015-07-28)
Pages 192[25]
Preceded by Mission Titanic
Followed by Mission Hurricane

Mission Hindenburg is the second book in the Doublecross series. It was published on July 28, 2015.[25][26]

The Cahills are the world's most powerful family, but their strength is being tested. The Outcast has targeted the family and set an impossible test for them. He's recreating four of history's worst disasters and challenging the Cahills to find and stop them before it's too late. Now, with one disaster behind them, Dan and Amy Cahill and their friends have just days to figure out what the Outcast's next move will be.

Their frantic search points toward an impending air disaster, the explosion of the Hindenburg airship. However, no one travels by airship anymore... What do the Outcast's cryptic messages mean? The Cahills must split up and take to the skies to find the answer...before their whole world comes crashing down.[26]

Mission Hurricane[edit]

Mission Hurricane
Author Jenny Goebel
Series Doublecross
Published January 26, 2016 (2016-01-26)
Preceded by Mission Hindenburg
Followed by Mission Atomic

Mission Hurricane is the third book in the Doublecross series. It is scheduled to be published on January 26, 2016.

Thirteen-year-old Dan Cahill and his older sister, Amy, know that a disaster is about to strike the world. They know they are the only ones who can stop it, and they know they may already be too late. The person behind the disaster is their own relative, a man who calls himself the Outcast. He's already re-created two of history's worst disasters, and is only biding his time before he strikes again.

The clues that the Cahill kids have gathered suggest that the Outcast's latest disaster is modeled after Hurricane Katrina. But what city will he target? And how can anyone conjure up a hurricane? Dan and Amy have no answers and very little time to find them. All they can count on is a tidal wave of trouble coming, and only them to stand in its way.

Mission Atomic[edit]

Mission Atomic
Author Sarwat Chadda
Series Doublecross
Published June 28, 2016 (2016-06-28)
Preceded by Mission Hurricane
Followed by Superspecial, Book 1

Mission Atomic will be the fourth and final book in the Doublecross series. It will be published on June 28, 2016.

Amy, Dan, and Co. race against time to stop the final disaster that could lead to mass destruction on an atomic level. It all comes to a head when they come face to face with the enemy as the Outcast's true identity is finally revealed.


Superspecial is the fifth series in The 39 Clues franchise. The first book will be released on September 27, 2016. It will be written by C. Alexander London, who wrote Mission Hindenburg in the previous series.[27] It is currently unknown how many books there will be.


Supplementary works[edit]

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.[28][29] In 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.[30] The editorial team has also released "The Cahill Files", which includes Operation Trinity, Spymasters, and four e-books. 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 leads to one online clue, which readers can unlock by entering the code on the cards on their 39 Clues account online.[31]


The 39 Clues uses collectible cards in order to expand readers' experience of the series.[citation needed] In the first series of books, The Clue Hunt, each book came with six game cards. These cards all shared the same code and once added online would unlock the clue in that book. Alongside the first series of books, Card Packs were sold. These card packs contained 16 random cards out of a total of roughly 50 that were not available in the books. The card packs were:

Card Pack for books 1, 2 and 3
Card Pack 2: Branch vs. Branch for books 4, 5 and 6
Card Pack 3: Rise of the Madrigals for books 7 and 8
Ultimate Card Pack for books 9 and 10

In the second series each book again came with six cards. However, unlike the first series, the cards were needed to unlock the online missions. Cahills vs Vespers also had two card packs. These card packs all contained the same 16 game cards, which would unlock the online extreme missions. The card packs were:

The Marco Polo Heist released with book 1
The Magellan Heist released with book 4

In the third series Unstoppable, each book contains six game cards. These cards unlock an extra game in their corresponding online missions.

In the fourth series Doublecross, each book will contain six virtual cards.

Overall, the cards form a key part of the series.[citation needed] Players on the online website can only collect all the clues through the use of the cards, and in later series can only unlock the missions by having the cards. The cards in the first series often had puzzles and riddles to solve.

Additional cards have been released over the course of the series, and the cards are only virtual. Scholastic developed a game involving the cards, Doublecross, in which players physically use their cards to battle their opponents.


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.[32] 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.[28]

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.[33]


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.[34] Riordan agreed because he thought it was a good idea, and as a middle school teacher, he loved making history enjoyable for younger readers.[35][36] The project was kept secret for about two years.[37]



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.[38] Books in the series have also appeared on the USA Today, Publishers Weekly, and Wall Street Journal bestseller lists.[28]

Critical reception[edit]

Critical reception of the 39 Clues has been mostly positive. The first book was met with positive reviews and spawned optimism for the rest of the series. The books have been very popular among kids.[citation needed]


Steven Spielberg acquired film rights to the series in June 2008. Spielberg and Scholastic Media president Deborah Forte will produce the series,[39] while Brett Ratner expressed interest in directing the first film. Screenwriter Jeff Nathanson was hired to write the script in September 2008.[40] In May 2012, Shawn Levy, the director of the Night at the Museum movies, acquired the rights to direct the movie.[41] The movie, The 39 Clues: The Movie, was said to be released in 2014, but as of December 2015, the movie has not entered production.[3][42][43] The movie rights were taken by Universal, in August 2013.[44]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Riordan, Rick (September 9, 2008). The Maze of Bones. Scholastic. p. 23. ISBN 978-0-545-06039-4. OCLC 192081902. If you accept, you shall be given the first of thirty-nine clues. These clues will lead you to a secret, which, should you find it, will make you the most powerful, influential human beings on the planet. 
  2. ^ Lodge, Sally (July 22, 2010). "The Success and Grand Finale of The 39 Clues". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved April 29, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b "The 39 Clues (2014)". MovieWeb. Retrieved September 23, 2014. 
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
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  10. ^
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