Cover image for The 39 clues. 1, The maze of bones
The 39 clues. 1, The maze of bones
Publication Information:
[Solon, Ohio] : Playaway Digital Audio : [manufactured and distributed by] Findaway World, LLC, [released 2008], c2008.
Physical Description:
1 sound media player (ca. 5 hr., 15 min.) : digital ; 3 3/8 x 2 1/8 in.
General Note:
Issued on playaway, a dedicated audio media player.

Requires headphones for use.
Added Author:
Added Corporate Author:
More Information:
The Cahills are the most powerful family the world has ever known. The source of their power is a mystery that can only be unraveled by assembling 39 clues that have been hidden around the world throughout history. Dan and Amy Cahill are given the choice of receiving a million dollars or uncovering the thirty-nine clues hidden that will lead to the source of the family's power, but by taking on the clues, they end up in a dangerous race against their own family. Follow the Cahills as they find the 39 clues, and play the game online at
System Details:
Playaway Digital Audio.


Material Type
Call Number
Item Available
Playaways DAD J FICTION THI 1 1

On Order



Amy and Dan Cahill know their family is big, but they dont realize how big until their Aunt Graces funeral. Relatives arrive from all over the world by special invitation. In Graces last will and testament, she issues this challenge: For your inheritance, you may have the first of thirty-nine clues. The first team to successfully put together the clues, which are scattered across the world, will discover the secret of Cahill power and become the richest, most important people in history.Or you may take one million dollars in cash right now and walk away.Amy and Dan take the challenge Soon, they are catapulted into a dangerous round-the-world race for the thirty-nine clues. They will explore every continent, and delve into the strangest, darkest chapters of world history to find the secret origins of their family. Other teams will try to eliminate them by any means necessary, because in this treasure hunt only one team can win, and there are no rules.The 39 Clues will feature ten action-packed books. The first, The Maze of Bones, is written by Rick Riordan, who also designed the story arc for the entire series. The 39 Clues experience also includes trading cards and a huge on-line game which will allow you to become a member of the Cahill family and compete for amazing prizes

Author Notes

Rick Riordan was born on June 5, 1964, in San Antonio, Texas. After graduating from the University of Texas at Austin with a double major in English and history, he taught in public and private middle schools for many years.

He writes several children's series including Percy Jackson and the Olympians, The Kane Chronicles, and The Heroes of Olympus, Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, and The Trials of Apollo. He also writes the Tres Navarre mystery series for adults. He has won Edgar, Anthony, and Shamus Awards for his mystery novels. .

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 5

Publisher's Weekly Review

Built around a ripe conceit--wealthy matriarch scatters cryptic clues to a mysterious fortune around the globe--this first installment in a projected 10-book series is tons of fun. Lead-off hitter Riordan (The Lightning Thief) mixes just the right proportions of suspense, peril and puzzles in a fast-paced read (Riordan mapped the narrative arc for all 10 volumes, but other high-profile authors will be writing for the series, too). Likable orphans Amy and Dan Cahill have moxie (plus Dan can memorize numbers instantly) and frailties (Amy hates crowds). As the siblings compete with less honorable members of the Cahill clan, all distantly related to Benjamin Franklin, to win the fortune by collecting all 39 clues (only two are found in this first book), they learn about their dead parents, each other and world history. The humor is spot on--one uncle is credited with inventing the microwave burrito. The only flaw? The story does not end so much as drop off a cliff. (The second book, One False Note by Gordon Korman, is set to arrive in December.) While waiting, readers can collect cards, each of which contains evidence, and play the online game (, for which Scholastic is offering over $100,000 in prizes. This ought to have as much appeal to parents as it does to kids--it's Webkinz without the stuffed animals, and a rollicking good read. Ages 9-12. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Booklist Review

In a bold leap forward in marketing strategy, this first book in the 39 Clues series introduces readers to what promises to be a sensational mix of reading, online gaming, card-collecting, and even a grand-prize sweepstakes. The premise of the book: Grace Cahill, matriarch of the world's most powerful family, dies and leaves behind a challenge to her descendants. They can either inherit one million dollars, or forgo the money and receive the first of 39 clues that will lead them on an around-the-world adventure in search of, well, that's a secret. But it's an earth-shattering secret, and with 10 books planned for the series (each by a different author), it had better pay off in the end. Riordan, who has plotted the main arc for the series, gets the ball rolling nicely with likable brother-and-sister heroes, a cast of backstabbing relatives, and a smattering of puzzles and clues to decipher in the quest for the ultimate secret. Whether this intriguing book represents the first major event in a shifting world of publishing, or is simply a clever money- and attention-grabbing ploy remains to be seen, but it will be fascinating to see what kids make of it. (Library edition does not include game cards).--Chipman, Ian Copyright 2008 Booklist

New York Review of Books Review

"THE MAZE OF BONES," which sends a pair of likable orphans on a world-spanning treasure hunt, displays a glossy, tightly engineered appeal. The book is the first installment of "The 39 Clues," a multimedia extravaganza that combines a 10-book series, collectible playing cards, online puzzles and a contest with more than $100,000 in prizes. Scholastic may be hoping to recapture some of the Harry Potter demographic, by force if necessary: the press kit announces a first printing of a million copies worldwide, a multimillion-dollar marketing blitz and a "grassroots blogging campaign"; Steven Spielberg is poised to bring out a film version. There is, yes, also a book involved. The premise of "The Maze of Bones" is dramatic and instantly engaging: Amy and Dan Cahill are orphans, brother and sister, neglected by their many rich relations. When their beloved grandmother dies, she leaves her descendants an unorthodox will: either accept a bank voucher worth $1 million, or else, "you shall be given the first of 39 clues. These clues will lead you to a secret, which, should you find it, will make you the most powerful, influential human beings on the planet." Amy and Dan opt for the clues, pitting themselves against a cast of relatives who range from obnoxious to menacing to merely skeevy. Adventures, travel and hairbreadth escapes follow, interspersed with the odd historical anecdote, as we learn that every single famous or influential person of the past few centuries has been a member of the Cahill family. Rick Riordan, who wrote the first book and has planned the 10-book arc, is the best-selling author of both adult and young adult mysteries. The story is an almost note-perfect blend of "Harry Potter" (orphans! special families!) and "The Da Vinci Code" (puzzles! history!), with a dash of "Great Expectations," although where Pip's expectations lead him to a bittersweet grown-up wisdom, I have a hunch the Cahill orphans will be getting something much nicer. Bookish Amy and hyperactive Dan are agreeably flawed characters but have an undeniably focus-grouped, manufactured quality - as does, let's face it, the whole book. The supporting cast is, with few exceptions, made up of types: sinister spies, bullies, snobs and self-involved celebrities. I found myself wishing for a little of the psychologically resonant darkness or moral ambiguity of a Roald Dahl or Maurice Sendak, authors who showed that books written for children don't have to be entirely child-safe. When the book tells us that Dan loved his grandmother because "she'd treated him and Amy like real people, not kids," we hear what's wrong. The writing is carefully bland, as if it didn't trust its readers enough. "The Maze of Bones" is only the beginning of an elaborate online game that will unfold over the next few years. Each of the first 10 books is projected to reveal one clue per title; the other 29 will come from solving online-only puzzles. The entry-point is an elaborate Web site (, which offers games, blogs written by characters and pages of additional lore about the Cahills. Each visitor is invited to take the role of a member of the Cahill family searching for the titular clues (competing against the books' heroes, but c'est la guerre). The secondary revenue stream - excuse me, series of collectable cards - unlocks more content and more puzzles, leading players into the larger-scale contest to solve the mystery behind all 39 clues; if they manage that, they'll get a chance at a $10,000 grand prize. The puzzles themselves follow serviceable but shopworn formulas: anagrams and numbers-to-letters codes, interspersed with unremarkable arcade-style games. I was hoping for a chance to play detective, to use my powers of observation and deduction to arrive at the brilliant solution to a dark and obscure mystery. Instead, it was a matter of doing a little arithmetic and clicking the mouse enough times. After passing four or five simple challenges, I was awarded my clue in the form of a short video presentation. There are, however, hints that the creators are building a more profound play experience modeled on the emerging genre of alternate reality games - online games in which thousands of players solve a sprawling mystery together, finding clues hidden in places like dummy Web sites and recorded phone messages. The players share information and create theories to explain what they've seen. (I Love Bees and Perplex City are seminal examples of the form.) It will be hard for "The 39 Clues" to reproduce this effect, partly because safety restrictions forbid players from communicating directly through the Web site. More important, the puzzles offer relatively little scope for using your creativity - to solve problems your own way or add your own stories to the larger matrix. It's still early in the process, though, and there are hints that as the game evolves, participants will encounter a more layered mystery to unravel. Much depends on building an enthusiastic fan base of players who will add their own imagination to the experience. To me, "The Maze of Bones" feels too calculated to invest in wholeheartedly, too eager to please. It's a story about people born into the most privileged family in the world, who then set out to become the most important people in history. Whatever happened to just owning your own chocolate factory? 'The Maze of Bones' is only the beginning of a sprawling online game slated for the next few years. Austin Grossman is the author of "Soon I Will Be Invincible," a novel.

School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-7-When their beloved Aunt Grace dies, Dan, 11, and Amy, 14-along with other Cahill descendants-are faced with an unusual choice: inherit one million dollars or participate in a perilous treasure hunt. Cahills have determined the course of history for centuries, and this quest's outcome will bring the victors untoward power and affect all of humankind. Against the wishes of nasty Aunt Beatrice, their reluctant guardian since their parents' deaths, Dan and Amy accept the challenge, convincing their college-age au pair to serve as designated adult. Pitted against other Cahill teams, who will stop at nothing to win, the siblings decipher the first of 39 clues and are soon hot on the historical trail of family member Ben Franklin to unearth the next secret. Adeptly incorporating a genuine kids' perspective, the narrative unfolds like a boulder rolling downhill and keeps readers glued to the pages. As the siblings work together to solve puzzles and survive dangers, they develop into well-drawn individuals with their own strengths and personalities. Supporting Cahill cast members come across as intentionally exaggerated caricatures, adding to the tale's breathless fun. The book dazzles with suspense, plot twists, and snappy humor, but the real treasure may very well be the historical tidbits buried in the story. Part of a multimedia launch including a Web site, collectable game cards, and a 10-title series (penned by different authors), this novel stands solidly on its own feet and will satisfy while whetting appetites for more.-Joy Fleishhacker, School Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

"Synergy" is the name of the game in Scholastic's post-Potter search for market share. Grace Cahill has died, and her orphaned grandchildren Amy, 14, and Dan, 11, are among the heirs offered a choice: They can accept one million and walk, or they can take the first clue in a worldwide scavenger hunt to find the secret that has made the extended Cahill family the most powerful family in world history. Every other heir is out to get Amy and Dan, Grace's supposed favorites, as they work their way through the puzzles in this first volume of a ten-book "multi-platform" series. Six trading cards come with each trade-edition copy, and more can be purchased separately. Cards can be entered on an accompanying website, where readers six to 14 can "enter the race" by playing mystery games. Each new volume, by such authors as Gordon Korman and Peter Lerangis, spawns a new contest with real cash prizes. Librarians should be careful to purchase card-free library editions to avoid circulation headaches. (Novelty/fiction. 9-14) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.