On September 9th, 2008 Scholastic published The 39 Clues: The Maze of Bones by Rick Riordan, author of the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series. The book debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list, and marked the beginning of Scholastic’s 10-book experiment in transmedia publishing. On February 2nd, Scholastic is releasing the seventh installment in the series, The 39 Clues: The Viper’s Nest by Peter Lerangis. February 2nd will also mark the premiere of The Viper’s Nest audio book and the corresponding set of collectible puzzle cards in Card Pack 3: The Rise of the Madrigals.
39 Clues tells the story of two children, Amy and Dan Cahill, who are thrust into a global hunt for clues that will reveal the secret to the Cahill family’s power. The series is a cross between The Westing Game and The Amazing Race as the two children compete against members of four branches of the Cahill family to uncover the secret histories of famous Cahills including Benjamin Franklin, Anastasia Romanov, and Amelia Earhart. Although the series initially portrays their competition as cutthroat caricatures of their respective family houses, the series gradually reveals the complex motives of their fellow competitors.
While the story is primarily told through the books, each novel serves as a launching pad for further exploration, as a number of clues are hidden within each book’s pages. For instance, in The Maze of Bones, a series of apparently misnumbered pages spells out a secret message that aids the reader in solving a puzzle on one of the six collectible cards that came with the book. By going to the 39 Clues website, the reader can complete a puzzlesolving mission culminating in an online game that explains the message. Alternatively, by buying and solving puzzle cards expansion packs from the series, players can discover the 39 clues for themselves and reveal more of the Cahill family history. The story also branches through products ranging from a board game to Madrigal Maze, an iPhone application. Continue reading