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The 39 Clues

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The 39 Clues
Author:The 39 Clues

Rick Riordan
Gordon Korman
Peter Lerangis
Jude Watson
Patrick Carman
Linda Sue Park
Margaret Peterson Haddix
Cahills vs. Vespers
Gordon Korman
Jude Watson
Peter Lerangis
Roland Smith
Linda Sue Park
David Baldacci
Jude Watson
Jeff Hirsch
Natalie Standiford
Gordon Korman
Jude Watson
Rapid Fire
Clifford Riley
The Cahill Files
Clifford Riley

Publication Date:September 3, 2008 - TBA 2015
Pages:Varies by Book
Setting:Various Places
Preceded By:N/A
Followed By:The Clue Hunt
Cahills vs. Vespers

The 39 Clues is a set of four series written by a combination of authors. It is based in the present time, and is an interactive series as well as an output of information, mostly pertaining to famous historical events and/or people. Published by Scholastic, The 39 Clues has grown to includes the books as well as cards, a website, games, competitions, character biographies, and much more.

Plot Overview

Amy and Dan Cahill never knew their parents. They passed away in a fire when the siblings were young and their stingy grandaunt Beatrice became their guardian. However, on the weekends, Amy and Dan stayed with their grandmother, Grace Cahill, whose adventurous life gave her great stories to entertain her grandchildren with. When Grace passes away, many relatives gather at the reading of her will. Amy and Dan learn that they are part of the Cahill Family: an ancient family with four (secretly five) branches: the Lucians, Janus, Tomas, and Ekaterinas, and secretly, the Madrigals. The founders of the Cahills, Gideon and Olivia Cahill had discovered a secret so powerful, that whoever found it would become the most powerful person in the entire world. In order to find the great secret, the searcher must have 39 different Clues, or ingredients, hidden throughout the world. When Grace died and her will was read, selectively chosen relatives had to make a choice: accept $1,000,000 or take the first Clue and start the hunt. Numerous relatives leave with the million dollars, including Aunt Beatrice, but seven teams stay:

Although the "official" Clue-Hunt began at Grace's funeral, the competition has been going on since the separation of the original Cahill Family and the creation of the branches.

Members of the Cahill Family are sorted into their branches by their blood and their talents.


The Cahill Family is made up of four (secretly five) separate branches, always determined enemies of each other. Each branch has it's qualities and enhanced abilities, as found out when the Master Serum is discovered.

The Lucian Branch


The Lucian crest

The Lucian Branch was founded by Luke Cahill.

Its qualities are ruthlessness tactics, strategy, spying, sabotage, and being secretive and shadowy. The best leaders and spies came from this branch. Isabel and Vikram Kabra were the leaders of this branch until Isabel went to jail and Vikram went in hiding with other top Lucians in London.

The Ekaterina Branch

The Ekaterina Branch was founded by Katherine Cahill.

Its qualities are inventiveness, intellect, abstract

The Ekaterina crest

thinking, and overall smarts. The inventors, great thinkers, engineers, and archaeologists as well as many others came from this branch. Bae Oh was the leader of this branch until he was arrested for murder. Alistair Oh was the leader up to Trust No One. The current leader is Patricia Oh.

The Tomas Branch

The Tomas Branch was founded by Thomas Cahill.

Its qualities are physical endurance and strength,

The Tomas crest

prowess, brawn, adventurousness, and determination. The best athletes, explorers, warriors, etc. came from this branch. Magnus Hansen is the current leader of this branch.

The Janus Branch

The Janus Branch was founded by Jane Cahill.

Its qualities are categorized into one world-art. The Janus

The Janus crest

excel with many artistic things, whether it's painting a picture or breaking into a stronghold. The best artists, writers, singers, etc. came from this branch. Cora Wizard is the current leader of this branch.

The Madrigal Branch

The Madrigal Branch was founded by Madeleine Cahill.

Its qualities come from the heart and soul of a person, and
Madrigal crest1h

The Madrigal crest

they tend to be humanitarians, peace-makers, etc., but also are sneaky, shadowy, smart, etc. This is because the goal of this branch is not to collect all 39 Clues, but to bring the family back together. Unfortunately, this oftentimes comes to the actions of killing, stealing, and destroying. Fiske Cahill and William McIntyre are the current leaders or this branch, and Grace Cahill was before she died from cancer.

Books in Series One: The Clue Hunt

The 39 Clues consists of eleven books.

Book One: The Maze of Bones

In the first part of the book, Grace Cahill is dying and changes her will just before she dies. All/most of her relatives namely; the Holt Family, Alistair Oh, Ian and Natalie Kabra, Irina Spasky, The Starlings, Jonah Wizard and his dad, Grace's grandchildren--Amy and Dan—and some others (Jose, Beatrice, Ingrid) go to the funeral. Some are called to a room by her lawyer and he tells them that the Cahill Family was a influential clan in the history of mankind. There, they are given a choice; to receive a million dollars, or to join the hunt for the 39 Clues that will lead to unimaginable power. Amy and Dan choose to join the hunt, and travel to Philadelphia, Boston, and ultimately, France in search of a Clue left by Benjamin Franklin. With them travels their au-pair, Nellie Gomez. They find the Clue (Iron Solute) and go to the next stop; Vienna, Austria.

Book Two: One False Note

In the second book, Amy, Dan and Nellie travel aboard a train to Vienna, Austria. When the Holts infiltrate the train, Saladin shreds their only lead. In Vienna, they find out a hint which tells them to go to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's birthplace which is Salzburg, Austria. They find the diary of Anna Maria "Nannerl Mozart--the sister of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart--that points to Venice. In Venice, the find the missing pages which tells them to go to a friend of Mozart named Fidelio Racco and go to his house. There they find two swords made of the Clue, Tungsten. The swords were made in Japan, and the exhibit said that Fidelio Racco went to Japan and was never heard from again, so Amy, Dan, and Nellie resolve to go there next.

Book Three: The Sword Thief

In the start of this book, Amy and Dan Cahill are about to board a plane with Nellie already inside, but Natalie and Ian Kabra bust in, take their flight, and "steal" their Identities. Later, they form an alliance with Alistair Oh and the Kabras. They go to Seoul, Korea and go to Alistair's mansion where they search for helpful information. Amy and Ian start to fall for each other. The six of them go to a cave with the statue of a famous person known as The Bald Rat. As the cave opens up, Amy is in shock because of the sudden opening of the cave, and Ian saves her by tackling her. They kiss without the others seeing and all of them go inside the cave. They find the clue; gold. Ian and Natalie take the clue though Ian was hesitant, and leave the three inside with Amy feeling hurt. Dan and Amy escape while thinking Alistair died. They go to his mansion and see the dirty white gloves he was wearing indicating that he is alive. The Cahill siblings feel that Alistair tricked them. They go to Egypt with full knowledge that they tricked the Kabras into going to Kyrgyzstan.

Book Four: Beyond the Grave

Amy and Dan go to Egypt as they realized that the Ekaterina founder, Katherine, left a Clue in Egypt. Amy and Dan create an alliance with they're Uncle Alistair, although the plan ultimately fails. They meet Grace's best friend Hillary Vale and her son Theo, who later betray Amy and Dan. However in the end, they find the Clue: Myrrh.

Book Five: The Black Circle

In the fifth book, The Black Circle, Amy and Dan travel to Russia in hunt of a Clue. Pairing up with The Holts, the two teams travel to multiple cities to find this Clue. Amy and Dan meet NRR a mysterious character who knows their parents. We discover Irina Spasky's past, and we again see the Man in Black. The Cahill siblings find the Clue Amber.

Book Six: In Too Deep

Down under, in the Australian wilderness, Amy and Dan meet their uncle, Shep, and hunt down on of the Clues. In this book, Amy realizes things about the fire, and tries to remember exactly what happened, and is surprised when she finds who was there the night of the fire. Towards the end of the book, Irina Spasky dies, sacrificing her life for Amy and Dan. The Clue is Water.

Book Seven: The Viper's Nest

Amy and Dan travel to South Africa, where they enter the Tomas Stronghold. After finding the Clue, which is Aloe, Dan is poisoned and Amy and Dan find out they are Madrigals. The Clue is Aloe.

Book Eight: The Emperor's Code

In The Emperor's Code, Amy and Dan travel to China with Nellie in search of the Clue. Dan gets angry at Amy and runs away because of what she said about their parents. After that, Dan gets kidnapped by the Kabras and has to stay with Jonah Wizard until he finds Amy. Eventually, Dan and Amy meet again and go in a helicopter to the top of Mt. Everest. The Clue is not at the top, but a vial of liquids with the Janus symbol on it, which later turns out to be the Janus serum. They realize that the final prize would make you have all the characteristics of each Cahill branch. When they get back down the mountain, they find their eighth Clue: raw silk secretion. The Clue is Silk. Jonah asks Cora if he can stop being in the hunt.

Book Nine: Storm Warning

Storm Warning was released May 25, 2010. The setting is in Jamaica. The Man In Black's identity is revealed to be Amy and Dan's secret great-uncle, Fiske Cahill. The purpose of the Madrigal branch is revealed to be to stop the branches from fighting each other and to make sure they never get too many Clues. It is also revealed that at the time of the fire, Olivia Cahill was pregnant with her fifth child: Madeleine, whose descendants would be the Madrigals. Amy and Dan open a secret box and find the Clue Mace. Fiske tells them six more Clues, which are Barley, Copper, Rosemary (they already knew because of Irina), Lily, Pepper, and Vinegar. Nellie becomes a Madrigal.

Book Ten: Into the Gauntlet

In this book, the final countdown begins. Amy and Dan must stop Isabel from recreating the Master Serum and they must unravel the secret of the Gauntlet. Also, they must make peace with a representative from each branch. However, Isabel does make the serum, but is stopped from drinking it just in time. But, it isn't over yet, the Vespers are rising!

Book Eleven: Vespers Rising

In this book, there are four sections:

  • The first is about the night Gideon Cahill died.
  • The second is about how Madeleine Cahill was inspired to form the Madrigal branch.
  • The third is about how Grace Cahill as she embarks on her very first mission during one of the most dangerous moments of the 20th century, WWII.
  • The last is about how Amy and Dan Cahill fight Vespers to find Gideon's gold ring.

Books in Series Two: Cahills vs. Vespers


Book One: The Medusa Plot

This book was written by Gordon Korman was released on August 30, in conjunction with Card Pack 1: The Marco Polo Heist.

Book Two: A King's Ransom

This book was written by Jude Watson was released on December 6, 2011.

Book Three: The Dead Of Night

This book was written by Peter Lerangis and was released on December 6, 2011.

Book Four: Shatterproof

This book was written by Roland Smith was released on  September 4, 2012 together with Card Pack 2: The Magellan Heist.

Book Five: Trust No One

This book was written by Linda Sue Park and released on December 5, 2012.

Book Six: Day of Doom

This book was written by David Baldacci and was released on March 5, 2013.

Books in Series Three: Unstoppable

The 39 Clues: Unstoppable, is the third series in the 39 clues, following Cahills vs. Vespers. It takes Amy and Dan to explore the lost civilizations of the world. Founders Media was revealed as the antagonist organization (for Nowhere to Run).

Book One: Nowhere to Run

This book was written by Jude Watson. It was released on October 1, 2013.

Book Two: Breakaway

This book will be written by Jeff Hirsch. It will be released in January 28, 2014.

Book Three: Countdown

Countdown will be written by Natalie Standiford. It will be released in May 2014.

Book Four: Flashpoint

The series "finale" will be written by Gordon Korman. It will be released in September 2014.

Books in Series Four: Doublecross

Doublecross is the fourth series, following Unstoppable. The series logo is yellow, and there will be four books.

Book One: Mission Titanic

This book will written by Jude Watson. It will be released on February 24th, 2015 in America and internationally on March 1st, 2015.

Book Two: Mission Hindenburg

This book will be written by C. Alexander London. It will released on 28th july 2015.

Extra Books

There are currently two Extra Books out that add-on to the current, original
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series. They are:

Both books provide unique insight into the characters, and give information that can be vital. They do not have a plot or story in them, but mostly act as a kind of encyclopedia or information dock, although there are small stories involved, like in the Black Book of Buried Secrets. These books simply add-on to the story of the 39 Clues, and provide unavailable or newly-discovered details about characters, events, branches, families, etc. They all have codes in them, that are often hard to crack.

There are currently two Extra Books out that add-on to the second series .They are:

These two books are part of the Cahill Files, a series of print and digital adventures. Available in hardcover and eBook, Operation Trinty is the story of the most coveted work of art in the world, a masterpiece that has been the target of a record seven theft attempts. Available for the first time in print, Spymasters contains four Cahill Files stories originally published as e-books: The Submarine Job, The Redcoat Chase, The Houdini Escape, and Silent Night.


Worlds Collide

For the Worlds Collide Scholastic event, a fanfiction crossover story between The 39 Clues, Infinity Ring, and Spirit Animals written by online users of Scholastic's three multiplatform book websites will be released as an e-book called Worlds Collide: Tales from an Awesome-Sauce Party on April 30, 2014.


Below are all the authors that have written, or will write, a book in The 39 Clues series. Click on the author page for more information. Each author is in a branch.There are four Janus (Korman, Riordan, Lerangis and Smith), two Lucian (Carman and Park), and two Ekaterina (Haddix and Watson). There was one Tomas (Baldacci) and two Madrigals (Watson and Baldacci).

Rick Riordan

Rick Riordan wrote The Maze of Bones and the introduction The Black Book of Buried Secrets. Riordan is considered a Madrigal because he brought three of the four branches together to write the 39 Clues series, and brought the fourth branch, Tomas, in during the introduction of The Black Book of Buried Secrets. He was born into the Janus Branch.

Gordon Korman

Gordon Korman wrote One False Note, The Emperor's Code, The Medusa Plot and will write Flashpoint , Book 4 of the Unstoppable series.

Peter Lerangis

Peter Lerangis wrote The Sword Thief, The Viper's Nest and The Dead of Night.

Jude Watson

Jude Watson wrote Beyond the Grave, In Too Deep, A King's Ransom and Nowhere to Run.

Jude Watson, in the short biography on the 39 Clues website, is considered an Ekaterina, but at the end, they say, "Could she possibly be a Madrigal?" They never quite say whether or not Watson is an Ekat, Madrigal, or both. However, in an interview with all the authors, Jude later reveals that she is a Madrigal.

Patrick Carman

Patrick Carman wrote The Black Circle.

Linda Sue Park

She wrote Storm Warning and Trust No One.

She is probably most famous for her book, A Single Shard, as well as other numerous books. Park is a registered Lucian agent.

Margaret Peterson Haddix

She wrote Into the Gauntlet.

She has also written the Shadow Children series, focused on illegal third children far into the future—When America, the land of 'life and liberty', turns on its own populace and forces innocents into hiding because of 'overpopulation' and 'food shortages'. The books follow Luke Garner mostly, but also Trey, his best friend, and Nina. All are third children.

Also written by Ms. Haddix is Turnabout. This book is about Amelia Hazelwood and her elderly friend, who receive a dosage of PT-1 and begin un-aging. In the thrilling story of friends, family, and the future, everything falls into place.

Haddix is an officially registered Ekaterina agent.

Roland Smith

He is the author of Shatterproof. He is a Janus.

David Baldacci

He is the author of Day of Doom. He is a Madrigal and a Tomas.

Jeff Hirsch

He is the author of Breakaway, Book Two of Unstoppable.

Natalie Standiford

She is the author of Countdown, Book Three of Unstoppable.

Authors and Books


'The main characters are listed below. For the complete list of characters, please click here or if you want a list of main characters click here.


Players can collect clues online at the My Clues tab. These clues can be unlocked through missions, books, card packs, and card combos.

Cards/Card Packs

When buying a 39 Clues book, you can purchase the book alone, or the book with a pack of 6 cards for an additional cost. Also, five card packs have been released that each have sixteen additional cards.

Series 1 Card Packs

Series 2 Card Packs

A code on the bottom of the cards can be entered into the official website, where cards are combined to create clues. Riddles, codes, letters, pictures, and other information are on these cards.

39 Clues Website

The 39 Clues Website is where readers of the books can go online and create an account. Players take a quiz that places them into one of the four main branches. Once online, players can play games, complete missions, and design their own player card that can be shared with other users. Cards are sold, from either the purchase of the books or the card packs, and their codes entered online. Cards can be combined to make clues. There are 6 tabs, Map, Clues, Arena 39, Books, My Cards and Missions. There are also 6 other tabs below them which are, Profile, Agent Card, Cahill Web, Settings, Help and Logout.


  • Dan mentions in The Maze of Bones that there could be 39 clues because, "39 is a sweet number. It's 13 x 3. It's also the sum of five prime numbers in a row--3,5,7,11, and 13. And if you add the first three powers of three, 31, 32, and 33, you get 39."
  • The 39 Clues logo have a couple of symbolic things: 1. The key that runs through the "U in the "Clues" portion of the logo has an "M" as the key tip and a "C" as the handle. The "M" stands for the Madrigals, and the "C" represents the Cahill family. Adding on to that, the key is also symbolic because it shows that the only way to find the end of the Clue hunt is through the Madrigals, who, as described in the book codes, "Lay the path for others to walk on". Therefore, you must insert the Madrigal key into the door in order to win the Clue hunt, and by doing so, involving the Madrigals. The Cahill "C" not only represents the Cahill family, but the Madrigal icon representing the reuniting of the family as well. So, in order to open the door that leads to the end of the Clue hunt, you must hold the family in your hand, representing the fact that you must bring the family together in order to win. This was described in the tenth and last book of the 39 Clues series, Into The Gauntlet, by the keypads and retinal scanners and questions that were inside of the Gauntlet, because you could not continue through the Gauntlet without at least one representative of each branch, working together.
  • Another symbolic thing is the globe in the background. The globe represents the fact that the Clues are spread out all across the globe. However, in the tenth book, Into the Gauntlet, the logo has been smashed to pieces.

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