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The 39 Clues: The Black Book of Buried Secrets

Review

The 39 Clues: The Black Book of Buried Secrets

Seven Cahill agents from different branches of the family have risked their lives to publish the 10 volumes of the clue hunt: Rick Riordan, Gordon Korman, Peter Lerangis, Patrick Carman, Jude Watson, Linda Sue Park and Margaret Peterson Haddix. They did it to protect the Cahill family. But the dangers aren’t over yet. An ancient enemy known as the Vespers is creeping around, and Agent Riordan calls the other six rogue agents together again. This time, they will assemble a book of Cahill secrets as a weapon against the Vespers.

This secret book contains everything anyone would want to know about the five different Cahill branches, including overviews, secret history strategies, founders, stronghold locations, members’ biographies, preferred weapons, drawings and photos. There are also some agent updates, like how Dan and Amy are back at school and Dan keeps getting in trouble, and when Nellie takes the siblings to visit their parents’ graves for the first time since the funeral. Compiling all of this important information into one place is dangerous, but it may be the only thing to save the Cahill family from the evil Vespers.

Set up like an encyclopedia, THE BLACK BOOK OF BURIED SECRETS is filled with colorful pages containing lots of photos and drawings. There are even some riddles scattered throughout to solve. Readers will also enjoy the brief narratives giving updates on some of the family members and a few narrative flashbacks in the Founder Archives. And in following the pattern of the 39 Clues series, it also contains interesting biographies of some historical figures, including Harry Houdini, Annie Oakley and Marie Curie. The introduction cleverly explains that the 10 previous books were written by Cahill agents (otherwise known as the authors) in a desperate attempt to protect the family. And in a further act to protect the family, they gather again to put together this book of information because there’s an ancient enemy lurking to destroy them.

All of this leads up to a new series, The 39 Clues: Cahills vs. Vespers, the first installment of which will release in April. Long live The 39 Clues!

Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman on October 26, 2010

The 39 Clues: The Black Book of Buried Secrets
by Rick Riordan

  • Publication Date: October 26, 2010
  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
  • ISBN-10: 0545285046
  • ISBN-13: 9780545285049