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The 39 Clues: Beyond the Grave by Jude Watson
Review by Gayle Surrette
Scholastic Inc. Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780545060448
Date: 01 June 2009 List Price $12.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: The 39 Clues / Show Official Info /

Beyond the Grave by Jude Watson is book four of The 39 Clues series, and Amy and Dan Cahill and their au pair Nellie Gomez are in Egypt. It takes barely two pages before the action starts. The family is in a race to collect the clues and win and win big. No one knows exactly what the prize is but it is supposed to be worth more than the money they turned down to enter the contest. Unfortunately for Dan and Amy, the other family members don't mind playing for keeps. If they win, will they recognize themselves in the mirror anymore?

More 39 Clues:
* Maze Of Bones by Rick Riordan
* One False Note by Gordon Korman
* Beyond the Grave by Jude Watson

Over the course of the books, Amy and Dan Cahill have come very close to dying in their attempt to gain the clues that will lead them to the prize. While the action is kept high, Jude Watson, manages to have Dan and Amy speculate about what the contest is doing to them -- to their values, their beliefs, and their relationship with each other and their grandmother Grace Cahill. There are more than a few flashback memories to help the reader fill in some of the blanks in their lives after their parents were killed.

Egypt has always been a place of mystery --pyramids, kings, tombs, heat, and sand. The sun burns away the unnecessary and leaves one staring at what is not what one wishes. Amy and Dan find some allies, some enemies, and some information that gives them the hope that they need to continue their search. They also, once again, find that just maybe they trust too readily -- but then they need to decide how much they are willing to change, if at all, to win. Who do they want to be at the end? This book, in spite of the adventure and action sequences, is more introspective than the previous books.

Released at nearly the same time as Beyond the Grave is The 39 Clues: The Card Pack 2: Branch vs. Branchfor use with books 4, 5, and 6, there is more information here for those who are not only reading the books but also putting together the clues in the online game. Nevertheless, Beyond the Grave is filled with tantalizing possibilities for clues whether you are just reading the books for fun or playing along in the online game.

I know who I'm routing for and I hope that Amy and Dan come out on top but I hope they also maintain their ability to see beyond the greed that most of the family revels in. Hopefully, the next book will lead us to new clues and further adventures as the game draws onward. Just who can anyone trust?

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