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The 39 Clues, Book Ten: Into the Gauntlet

Review

The 39 Clues, Book Ten: Into the Gauntlet

When Grace Cahill passed away, relatives oozed out of the woodwork in hopes of getting their hands on her fortunes. But Grace wasn’t your typical old lady, and she didn’t leave this world in a typical fashion either. Instead of a will and an inheritance, she left behind a quest involving 39 clues that lead to a vast wealth and the highest authority imaginable. Now, six teams of Cahill relatives are racing around the world, chasing after intricately placed clues left behind by other famous Cahills, including Ben Franklin and Mozart.

Fourteen-year-old Amy and her 11-year-old brother, Dan, make up one of the teams. Orphaned and unwanted by everyone except their beloved (and now deceased) grandmother, the siblings don’t have anything to lose and have decided to go for it. But unlike their opponents, they have no money, no connections and no special training, not to mention the fact that they’re just kids. This team has the odds seriously stacked against them. But they do have a very cool au pair (a sort of domestic servant) traveling with them, and above all, a great deal of spunk, smarts and determination. The race is on, and there aren’t any rules.

In the much anticipated series finale, Amy and Dan, along with their au pair Nellie, stumble into London in a fog of exhaustion. Overwhelmed by the shocking news that Mr. McIntyre and Uncle Fiske unloaded on them and still suffering from the shock and grief of Lester’s death, they barely have the energy to breathe, let alone continue the monumental task of the clue hunt. But the other teams aren’t pausing for a single moment, and Amy and Dan absolutely can’t let the power of the prize fall into the hands of the evil Isabel --- so the search continues.

A lead slipped under their hotel door points them towards another Cahill relative, so they set off to see a Shakespeare play. Dan isn’t very excited about the prospect, but even the theatre becomes explosive when the Cahills get involved. And this time, it’s a complete Cahill reunion with every team of the hunt present, including a team not seen since the beginning: Sinead and her brothers, Ned and Ted, are back and seething with revenge and determination.

As they race for the finish line and the final clue, some of the teams are cracking in their resolve. Ian and Natalie are questioning their mother’s motives and methods, and their own involvement in her schemes. Hamilton, too, feels guilt about his family’s responsibility for the explosion that almost killed Sinead and her brothers. Jonah also is rethinking his part in the hunt, and even Alistair is realigning his priorities. This is a spark of hope for the Madrigals, who really only want to bring the feuding branches of the Cahill family back together. And in the end, in a vital, heart-pounding, final test, the five branches must work together for the last clue and the ultimate prize --- their very lives!

Margaret Peterson Haddix flies in with splendor and finesse to bring this exciting series to an end. In keeping with the tradition of the series, Haddix offers mega amounts of adventure and excitement, some humor, and lots of heart. In addition, she introduces Shakespeare to her readers, sharing many of his original and creative expressions and insults. She also weaves the importance of integrity, love, family and forgiveness into the story, but without sounding cheesy or preachy. This has been such an awesome series, starting with the clever idea of inviting various authors and their many talents to share in the ride, including famous people throughout history, and integrating ingenious riddles and clues.

The 39 Clues will live long in the memories of its fans, be read over and over, and be shared with friends and family. Many thanks to all who made this fun and amazing series a reality!

Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman on August 31, 2010

The 39 Clues, Book Ten: Into the Gauntlet
(The 39 Clues #10)
by Margaret Peterson Haddix

  • Publication Date: August 31, 2010
  • Hardcover: 327 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
  • ISBN-10: 0545060508
  • ISBN-13: 9780545060509