The 39 Clues

December 31, 2008
By Anonymous

The choice is yours: one million dollars instantly or a single clue that will begin a long, painstaking journey that could lead you to becoming the most powerful and richest person in history.
Given that decision to make, many people would simply take the money and be done with it. But when the will of their grandmother leaves Amy and Dan Cahill that choice, they elect to take the first clue and begin their adventure in the first book of Scholastic’s new groundbreaking series, The 39 Clues. The first major series Scholastic has taken on since Harry Potter, The 39 Clues is hoped to be the inheritor of all the wizard’s fans.
But the newest series in fantasy isn’t going to be just on paper. Scholastic is combining the written word with new technology, trading cards, and multimedia—the internet and such—to, in a sense, initiate the newest wave in novels.
“The 39 Clues is an immersive experience, whose high powered, adventurous storylines and characters are perfect for development across both traditional and new media platforms,” said Deborah Forte, President of Scholastic Media.
Throughout the continuation of the series, a number of prizes will be given out by Scholastic, corresponding to clues which the reader must find. The prizes will total more than $100,000. Once a reader finds all 39 clues and unlocks the secret to the Cahill treasure, they are eligible to be entered into a pool of winners that will all compete for a chance at the $10,000 grand prize.
The idea for the 39 Clues series was contrived by New York Times bestselling author Rick Riordan. A team of authors have been signed, each of whom will write one or more books in the series. The first book, The Maze of Bones, was written by Riordan himself and was released this past September. Riordan will continue to oversee the main plotline of the series, though other authors will be writing the actual manuscripts.
Riordan himself is a very interesting character, always ready to make somebody laugh.
“In a way, it’s nice to know that there are Greek gods out there,” he says in his book The Lightning Thief, “because you have somebody to blame when things go wrong. For instance, when you’re walking away from a bus that’s just been attacked by monster hags and blown up by lightning, and it’s raining on top of everything else, most people might think that’s just really bad luck…[but] you understand that some divine force is really trying to mess up your day.”
The concept of multiple authors for one series is very accommodating for fantasy readers who waited a year between each Twilight book and sometimes two years between each Harry Potter novel (those being the two most popular fantasy series in the past decade). The second 39 Clues book, One False Note, will be out on December 2nd; the third, The Sword Thief, hits the shelves on March 3rd, 2009.
There are 73 trading cards associated with 39 Clues, each of which helps readers to discover the 39 clues for themselves. Each book is accompanied by a set of six cards, while some cards are available for separate purchase as bookstores. Still others are being given away by some bookstores (Borders, for example) to help readers in their quest for all 39 clues.
But trading cards aren’t the only way to unlock the secret. The series’ website,, allows readers to track their card collections, search the Cahill archives for secrets, interview characters, travel the world to collect artifacts, and hunt down the rest of the clues.
The series has already become a nationwide story. It has been picked up by the national media, newspapers, television stations, radio programs, and the like. The movie of The 39 Clues has already been planned and is tentatively set to be released in 2011. Steven Spielberg has already acquired the rights to put the books to video, a project is expected to take about four films for the ten books. Spielberg and Forte will produce the movies, while Spielberg is also interested in directing the first movie. In September, Jeff Nathanson was hired to write the screenplay.
A series that began with the will of a loved one and 39 mysterious clues has suddenly morphed into what is becoming a national phenomenon. Not only must Dan and Amy Cahill unlock the secret, the reader must do the same, with fame, glory, and ten thousand dollars on the line.
Are you up for the challenge?

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