Sawubona, Clue Hunters! BIG BIG secrets revealed! No really, like, Dan and Amy Cahill finally find out which branch of the Cahill family they belong to! Is Nellie Gomez, their au pair, a dirty double crossing Madrigal snake in the grass? Of course, no spoilers here, but oh boy oh boy you must read book 7 of 10, The Viper’s Nest, by Peter Lerangis. (Psst! Click here if this is your first visit to The 39 Clues!)
Mr. Lerangis, also the author of book 3, The Sword Thief, launches this adventure with Dan, Amy and Uncle Alistair Oh (in his pink pj’s) still on a volcanic beach of an Indonesian island, standing next to the smokey remains of the house where they’d spent the previous night. And Irina Spasky? (Book 6 spoiler alert!) Sadly, she actually gave her life to save them, something she didn’t have to courage to do years ago for their parents Hope Cahill and Arthur Trent.
Nellie and Saladin are fast approaching by boat though volcanic ash to rescue them, only in route she’s managed to attract a few fast pursuing police. Ditching the boat, they weed-whack through the thick island foliage to steal off in Irina’s abandoned vessel, where Dan and Amy help themselves to her collection of clues and their Egyptian Mau helps himself to her caviar.
But in spite of their heroic get away, Dan and Amy are once again separated from their “whack-a-mole reliability” uncle as the police catch up and haul him away for “setting last night’s fire”. Cold blooded Isabel Kabra has been very busy, setting fires, island jumping, framing innocent people… the usual Lucian night-time activities. But unfortunately for Alistair, Isabel was not working alone.
Their next lead is derived from a odd combination of Irina’s notes, song lyrics, Nellie’s iPod, and library research which adds up to… South Africa! As their enemies pursue them, could they also have secret South African friends awaiting? And what’s up with Hammer Holt, are he and Dan like, male bonding? At the least, they’re sure refining their Morse code skills. And, Dude, could Shaka Zulu actually be… a Cahill! Jislaaik!
While Dan gets an eye opening history lesson in Apartheid and racism, Amy is working out strange new hate issues of her own as she agonizes over revived flashbacks of her parents’ deaths.
Arriving at the Constitution Court of South Africa, they all have the pleasure of meeting lovely librarian Mrs. Winifred Thembeka, who gives them access to private information and photos left by their beloved grandmother Grace Cahill. Winifred and Grace were dear friends and apparently hung out and did girl stuff, like going to plays and oh, cruising around in Grace’s private plane, The Flying Lemur.
Deeper investigation has them hot on the trail of Winston Churchill (yet another famous Cahill) whose old document leads them to Witbank‘s mine, and Dan hanging head first into a smelly sink hole. What could possibly be the connection between Shaka Zulu and Churchill? Shaka died almost 50 years before Churchill was born! Are there magical powers in the isipho?
Following Churchill’s coordinates, the young orphans find themselves plotting to infiltrate a heavily guarded factory in the middle of nowhere as they search for the Tomas clue. But once inside they find… a Tomas martial arts boot camp? How can a clue involving Shaka be in a place where Holts hang out, arm wresting with…. hyenas? Will Dan and Amy escape intact, or will they lose their souls and become tokoloshe like so many others who have disappeared into… the viper’s nest.
Hum… hard to imagine many situations more intense than having an army of angry Tomas chasing you, unless of course you’ve studied the Buffalo Horn Formation! And once again, airports turn out to be optimal locales to get into a terrible tangle. By the end of this harrowing tale, Dan and Amy gain far more than the next clue in the hunt, they find several new friends, and a powerful (yet soothing) cure for Isabel’s vial poison.
What is the deal with Ian and Natalie Kabra? Okay they are still wicked snotty, but do they have the stomach for killing like their pearled & perfumed mother? With that, Hammer’s help, Irina’s sacrifice… what is the real purpose of the 39 Clues I wonder? 🙂 Maybe that is a question for the mysterious professor… And, if Dan (who thought Shaka was so cool he actually started studying) and Amy (who developed a serious spine in this book) are caught in the viper’s nest, who is the true viper?
I was really sorry when this book ended! The last few pages had me spell bound and when I finished the last sentence I threw my head back and was like… noooooooooo! Agony agony! Can’t wait for Book 8 The Emperor’s Code! And it’s coming soon, by Gordon Korman on April 6, 2010.
Before you go, check the inside covers for (of course) your 6 new 39 Clues collectible cards (yay!) but see if you can decode the clue etched into the aniklwa… The 39 Clues are a multimedia storytelling experience… so naturally, I got my Card Pack #3 the same day I got Viper! Time to log on The 39 Clues Website and enter my new cards into my online collection…
See you on the hunt!