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The 39 Clues: The Viper's Nest by Peter Lerangis
Review by Gayle Surrette
Scholastic Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780545060479
Date: 01 February 2010 List Price $12.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: 39 Clues Website / Show Official Info /

Amy and Dan are recovering from the shock of the fire and Irina Spasky's sacrifice to save them. With the dawn comes Nellie Gomez to take them back to the mainland but nothing is that easy. Amy, Dan, and Nellie escape as Alistair creates a diversion. Then they're off to seek the next clue. With a bit of misdirection they have a chance of getting to South Africa without being followed but they're going after the Tomas clue.

More 39 Clues:
* Maze Of Bones by Rick Riordan
* One False Note by Gordon Korman
* The Sword Thief by Peter Lerangis
* Beyond the Grave by Jude Watson
* The Black Circle by Patrick Carman
* In Too Deep by Jude Watson
* The Viper's Nest by Peter Lerangis

The beauty of these books, other than the action-packed adventure aspect, is that as they collect the clues and travel to find them, the reader learns a bit about the area, its history, and what it's like to live there or visit. In The Viper's Nest, Amy, Dan, and Nellie go to South Africa and we learn about racism, a link with Winston Churchill, and Shaka Zulu.

Once again, the children risk their lives to get another clue. They also find some unlikely helpers on their quest and learn more about their parents and their aunt. Some of these revelations are upsetting and cause Amy and Dan to wonder whether this new information can be believed or not.

Never the less, they move on their quest in spite of the danger and trying their best to not become as cruel and single-minded as their opponents. Amy and Dan are trying to maintain their balance on a quest that could upset the balance of the world as they know it.

One thing they have learned is that they can not afford to be caught again by the Kabras. Isabel Kabra has taken over to direct Ian and Natalie and she means to succeed and has no qualms about killing to do it -- in fact, she's rather like killing Amy and Dan.

How will Amy and Dan manage to stay alive and free on the next segment of their journey? Guess we'll have to wait for the next book to find out.

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