When their grandmother Grace dies, orphans Amy and Dan accept a challenge to search for 39 clues that could make them the most powerful people in the world. But they aren’t the only ones looking. Other Cahills, more ruthless, wealthy, and powerful than them, have taken the challenge too and they are not willing to let a pair of poor kids beat them. In this book, Amy and Dan have followed a lead to Australia (specifically, with no idea where to go, they get a hint that their parents may have gone to Australia at some point). Isabel Kabra, meanwhile, is becoming increasingly frustrated by her children and Irina Spasky’s inability to stop or surpass the Cahill siblings and is ready to take drastic action (sharks, poisonous snakes, and spiders anyone?). Amy gets some unexpected–and slightly unwanted–that forces her to confront memories of the day her parents died.
The strongest element to this book was the full-circle growth of Irina, a character who started as a definite enemy of Dan and Amy but slowly becomes…something of an ally. Finally we got the back story we needed to understand why her character behaves the way she does and what it is that makes her start second-guessing her life.
Amy and Dan have also begun to suspect Nellie, their au pair, who has turned out to be surprisingly more capable than expected. She can speak foreign languages, fly planes, and displays some other unusual skills. But with so few people that they can trust, do they really have to worry about the one person who has made their journey for the clues possible?
We get more history, this time with Amelia Earhart and Mark Twain, but where the historical figures in earlier books took center stage, in this book they were sort of background. They helped push things along and hint to the Cahills where they should look, but they weren’t as big a deal as before.
This wasn’t my favorite book of the season but it definitely helped move the mystery along further.