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The 39 Clues, Book Two: One False Note


The 39 Clues, Book Two: One False Note

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 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, like Ben Franklin. The race is on, and there aren't any rules.

Fourteen-year-old Amy and her eleven-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. Plus, Amy is shy and stutters when she's nervous, and Dan tends to be impulsive. This team has the odds of winning seriously stacked against them. But they do have a few pieces of jewelry from their grandmother to sell for expenses, a very cool au pair traveling with them, and, above all, a great deal of spunk, smarts and determination. And they've kept up with their opponents so far, somehow.

Amy and Dan are now entering the next phase of the race. Some sheet music composed by Mozart leads them into Vienna, the Austrian Alps and even the watery canals of Venice. Dan isn't thrilled about touring more boring museums, but the boat chase through the canals make up for some excitement. Amy still worries constantly about everything, but manages to keep her head clear in case of emergency, which is about every other second with relatives hot on their tails. One team attacks them on the train to Vienna, while another makes their move in the Salzburg Catacombs. Someone else even hides a tracking device on them. Amy and Dan were warned not to trust anyone, and that is turning out to be very good advice. It seems some are willing to do anything for the 39 clues --- even kill!

Gordon Korman has written the second book in Scholastic's multimedia series The 39 Clues and has done an amazing job. Fast-paced and overflowing with lots of action, ONE FALSE NOTE is a thrill to read. Korman writes with an expressive style that not only brings the foreign settings to life, but also draws out Amy and Dan's personalities and emotions into full light.

"Amy felt a creepy unease as she stepped inside the mountain --- as if they were being swallowed by something ancient and immutable, an immense, silent creature as old as the earth itself. Amy and Dan exchanged a look of pure dread. The Paris Catacombs had been lined with human bones, grotesque skulls leering from all directions. This may have been lower on the ick scale. But the sense of leaving the familiar for the freakish and threatening was even greater here."

You may also find some inspiration in your own life after sharing Amy and Dan's adventures and their strong drive never to give up despite the odds they face.

Fans of The 39 Clues will be thrilled to know that the wait for book three won't be too long --- THE SWORD THIEF will be available in March. In the meantime, log on to and start hunting for the clues yourself!

Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman on December 1, 2008

The 39 Clues, Book Two: One False Note
(The 39 Clues #2)
by Gordon Korman

  • Publication Date: December 1, 2008
  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
  • ISBN-10: 0545060427
  • ISBN-13: 9780545060424