Friday, February 05, 2010

The Viper's Nest (The 39 Clues #7) by Peter Lerangis

I was disappointed in Peter Lerangis' earlier contribution to The 39 Clues series, but book seven, The Viper's Nest, is an exciting, interesting addition to the bestselling juvenile series.

Fourteen-year-old Amy Cahill, and her brother, eight-year-old Dan, are still on the quest for the 39 Clues. The various branches of the Cahill family have been on the search for the clues for years, and the hunt caused the deaths of Amy and Dan's parents. Now, following the death of their grandmother, Grace, the family is once more on the hunt because the winner will obtain ultimate power. Along with their cat and their au pair, Nellie, the pair have travelled the world, searching for the answers to their family history, and the next clue in the hunt.

In the latest book, they escape the fire in Indonesia that left an ally dead. Heading to South Africa, they find new allies, and family enemies waiting for them. There, they find clues relating to South Africa's history, from stories of Shaka, the man who united the Zulu kingdom, to secret codes left behind by Winston Churchill. And, some friends help them with a few more answers about their grandmother and parents, including the answer to an important question. What is their branch of the Cahill family?

Lerangis does an excellent job discussing South African history, including apartheid, making the story educational and exciting at the same time. And, he continues to show the changes in Amy and Dan. Amy has grown distrustful of everyone, not knowing who might actually betray them. She's even suspicious of Nellie, their au pair. And, at one point, she realizes she had hoped one of the family members died. It takes Dan's reassuring comments to make her realize the quest is forcing her to look at everyone with a suspicious eye. Dan's the one who realizes they also have to consider their hearts.

Zulu kings, explosions, threatened murder and giant snakes are all part of this latest book. Peter Lerangis faced a difficult task of keeping this series interesting and educational. He succeeded in writing another fast-paced, exciting book that will undoubtedly land on the bestseller lists.

Readers can join the hunt at

The Viper's Nest (The 39 Clues Series #7) by Peter Lerangis. Scholastic,Inc., ©2010.
ISBN 9780545060479 (hardcover), 176p.

FTC Full Disclosure: Scholastic sent me a copy of the book, in hopes I would review it.


Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

I think fast-paced is important for this age group...particularly if they're courting boy readers! My son gives up quickly on books that start slowly.

Mystery Writing is Murder

Lesa said...

None of these books start slowly, Elizabeth. And, this one definitely doesn't.

Anonymous said...

just to correct Dan is eleven , not eight

Lesa said...

Thanks for the correction. You're right.