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39 Clues Adventure Books

Updated on April 21, 2013

What are the 39 Clues?

The 39 Clues Adventure began on September 9, 2008 with the publishing of the first book - Maze of Bones. There are 10 books in the complete series detailing the race to find the clues. These books are published by Scholastic. They are aimed at children aged 8 to 12.

In the process of looking for and discovering these clues, siblings Amy and Dan Cahill learn so much more about themselves as members of the Cahill family and as human beings.

I have purchased and read all 10 books and collected all the cards. In addition to the books, and collectible cards, there is also an online game and an interactive website which helps readers to collect the cards and participate in missions to find the clues.

In September 2010, a new series of books began being published about the Cahill family's most feared enemy - the Vespers.

Photo Source - ALL 39 Clues Pictures are copyrighted to SCHOLASTIC PRESS

39 Clues and Vespers Books - Buy The 39 Clues books on Amazon

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History of the Cahill Family

The basic premise of the stories is that back in the early 1500s on a small island off the coast of Western Ireland, there lived the Cahill family. Gideon and Olivia Cahill and their 5 children - Luke, Thomas, Katherine, Jane and Madeleine. But the youngest daughter Madeleine was not born until after the family split up.

Gideon was an alchemist and he was looking for the cure for the Black Plague. Instead of searching for a means of destroying the Plague bacteria, Gideon decided instead to find a means of making the body stronger so that it would not succumb to the plague. He created a serum that made the body stronger - and then split the recipe and ingredients amongst his 4 oldest children. Gideon died in the explosion that destroyed his laboratory - in an attempt to prevent his research from falling into the hands of the Vespers family.

His children then scattered to the 4 corners of the globes taking their portion of the recipe and ingredients with them. Each sibling and their descendents became intent (fixated?) on finding and stealing the other siblings clues. Meanwhile, back in Ireland, Olivia was left a widow and pregnant when Gideon died, Her 5th child and third daughter was named Madeleine and Olivia raised her to do everything possible to bring the family back together again.

Each of the 5 children were the first ancestor of a family branch - these branches are known by the originators name - Lucians from Luke, Tomas from Thomas, Janus from Jane, Ekats from (Ekaterina) Katherine and the Madrigals are descended from Madeleine. But because the 4 older siblings never knew about their youngest sister, they eventually came to believe that Madrigals were a mysterious enemy always trying to destroy the various Cahill branches.

Picture Source - Cahill family crest - scroll down

Story source - Vespers Rising.

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What exactly are the 39 Clues?

The 39 clues are a series of clues hidden around all the world.

The present day Cahill family consist of seven teams - from each of the 4 main branches. The books specifically follows the journeys of 2 youngsters (siblings - Amy and Dan Cahill - ages 14 and 11 respectively) and their journeys around the world to find these clues. And no of course they don't go alone. That would be unthinkable. They have an 18 year old au-pair (or a chaperone) named Nellie who chauffeurs and flies them around the world, and generally acts as their guardian.

Amy and Dan's parents died when they were children and they had been raised by their grandmother Grace Cahill and her sister Beatrice. At the beginning of this series, Grace dies and sets this treasure hunt into motion which is when Amy and Dan begin their journey to find the 39 clues.

Book Titles, Date of Publication, Authors and Countries where Amy, Dan and Nellie visit.

Book 1 - The Maze of Bones (September 9, 2008) by Rick Riordan - Boston and Philadelphia, USA and then Paris, France

Book 2 - One False Note (December 2, 2008) by Gordon Korman - Austria

Book 3 - The Sword Thief (March 3, 2009) by Peter Lerangis - Japan

Book 4 - Beyond the Grave (June 2, 2009) by Jude Watson - Egypt

Book 5 - The Black Circle (August 11, 2009) by Patrick Carman - Russia

Book 6 - In Too Deep (November 3, 2009) by Jude Watson - Australia and Indonesia

Book 7 - The Viper's Nest (February 2, 2010) by Peter Lerangis - South Africa

Book 8 - The Emperors Code (April 6, 2010) by Gordon Korman - China

Book 9 - Storm Warning (May 25, 2010) by Linda Sue Park - Bahamas and Jamaica

Book 10 - Into the Gauntlet (August 31, 2010) by Margaret Peterson Haddix - England and Ireland

Book 11 - Vespers Rising - (Published April 5, 2011) (see The Vespers below)

Photo Source - Copyright to Scholastic - Amy Cahill

More 39 Clues Books - Follow the Cahills on these other great books

The 4 main branches of the Cahill family

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Each branch of the Cahill family has a different colour and a different animal symbol.

Lucian - Red - Snakes

Tomas - Blue - Bear

Ekat - Yellow - Dragon

Janus - Green - Wolf

Madrigals - Their symbol is a black stylised M.

Picture Source - A 2011 calendar cover from Amazon

Official website screen shot

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This is a screen shot from the official website

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The Vespers

Vespers Rising - Book 11

In May 2012 I was finally able to read this book. The Vespers are another family - and they are enemies of the Cahill family.

This book is Book 11 and is the last of the Cahill books. Vespers Rising has 4 stories by 4 different authors and each author tells a different part of the Cahill family story. This book was published in April 2011

Part 1 - This is the story of Gideon Cahill back in the late 1400s in Ireland and the entire start of the Cahill family feud as well as the serum, the gold ring, and 39 clues and how and why they came to exist. This part also tells of the Vespers and how they came be enemies of the Cahill family.

Part 2 - The story of Madeleine Cahill as a young women in the court of Henry 8th in London and how she started her family branch of the Madrigals. Olivia Cahill raised Madeleine to bring the Cahill family back together again. That is the goal of the Madrigals.

Part 3 - The story of Grace Cahill as a teenager during World War 2. Grace Cahill was Amy and Dan's grandmother.

Part 4 - This is what happened to Amy and Dan Cahill after the hunt for the 39 clues ended. What happens next? This is where Amy and Dan learn about the Vespers and how they now charged with keeping the family legacy (the 39 clues) safe and prevent the Vespers from ever getting it. But first they have to identify the Vespers.

Information borrowed from this Source

This is the PDF prologue of The Medusa Plot - the first book in the Vespers Versus Cahill series due to be published in August 2011.

39 Clues - The Jigsaw Puzzle

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200+ piece Jigsaw Puzzle - Website to purchase from

39 clues - The Board Game

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Search for the Keys Board Game - Website to purchase from

Have you read these books?

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    • yayas profile image

      yayas 6 years ago

      I almost bought a couple of these books, but I had not heard of them before and I wasn't sure if I would enjoy them. After reading your review, I must read the entire set. They do sound fascinating. Thanks.