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"But Jeroboam caused an ambush to go around behind them; so they were in front of Judah, and the ambush was behind them. And when Judah looked around, to their surprise the battle line was at both front and rear; and they cried out to the LORD, and the priests sounded the trumpets. Then the men of Judah gave a shout; and as the men of Judah shouted, it happened that God struck Jeroboam and all Israel before Abijah and Judah." -- 2 Chronicles 13:13-15 (NKJV)

After several books in a series, a pattern is established that's so clear that the average reader could write the next page pretty accurately without any notes. While such predictability makes a story rewarding by delivering what's expected, it also causes the experience to lose its tastiness . . . much like food without seasoning seems quite bland.

The publishers of the 39 Clues books made a brilliant decision to change authors from one book to another (while having some repeat after a few books) so that there is more variety. That decision paid off beautifully for readers of The Emperor's Code. This book really rocks!

If you have been reading the earlier seven books, you've come to expect a visit to a new country in each book and several references to the new clue. Along the way, there's some double-dealing among the competing contestants. There will probably be an entry into some forbidding place where more secrets are hidden and revealed.

If that's what you expect from The Emperor's Code, you have some nice surprises ahead of you. The formula is shaken up in a way that makes the whole story line seem fresher and more interesting. I felt like I was back at the beginning of the first book when Amy and Dan had to decide whether to give up a million dollars each to engage in the contest. The story has more action and excitement than any other two books in the series.

But the best part was . . . this book has some real surprises that you'll enjoy. I won't say more.

Get this book today and have a ball!
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on 18 June 2014
It is very interesting and I don't want to be a spoiler but it sounds so cool when they climb mount Everest although I hate it when they save Ian's life. And what's up with the Imagine if they knew the truth. -F
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on 30 April 2010
This whole set of books is fabulous. All three of my children (boys 8, 10 and 12) have been mesmerised by them and now I am reading them on recommendation from my children. Exciting, easy to follow, well written and has a bit of history thrown in too. Highly recommend.
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Amy and Dan head for China without a firm plan; however, their in-flight movie provides them with a clue, leading them to the Forbidden City. While in the city, they hear about the last emperor, who perks their interest. Dan decides to search for the movie clue while Amy creates a distraction.

After they're asked to leave the city, the siblings launch into a huge argument. Amy can't help but wonder what their family lines really mean and if their parents were the people from her memories. Dan can't believe his sister is questioning their parents' goodness. He takes off fuming, hoping to cool down.

Instead, he's kidnapped. He meets up with Jonas Wizard, who takes him under his wing, assuring him that he will help Dan find his sister. He also shows his young cousin the finer ways of life and they team up to search for clues. Is Jonas actually interested in Dan, or this another family member using him to find the clues?

Meanwhile, Amy and Nellie search everywhere for Dan but to no avail. They decide to keep searching for the clues in an effort to eventually meet up with him again. Will the siblings be separated while discovering the next clues, or will something happen to bring them back together?

With only two more books in the series to go, I can't wait for the conclusion of this thrilling action-orientated series. I love the danger, the clues, the puzzles, and the history behind each of the books.

Reviewed by: Jennifer Rummel
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Gordon Korman does an amazing job on this 8th book in this unique, creative series. The Cahills, Amy and Dan, start in China and the book ends with them heading off to the Caribbean in search of pirates. The main historical figures featured in this volume are the last emperor of China, Puyi, and a British climber named George Mallory. But they also travel back and forth across China and encounter different aspects of Chinese history. Dan and Amy finally think they find out what clan of the Cahill family they belong to. They have a fight and get separated in Tiananmen Square. Some of the family seems to be helping them and some they still mistrust.

This is the first series I have read that was written in such a way - 7 authors in 10 books in under 2 years. The individual books are good but collectively they are great. If you combine the books with the online games and clue hunt, you have an amazing experience for children of all ages. I started reading these books because the concept was so unique and interesting. I keep reading them because they are so well written. The gift and skill of the authors contributing to this series amazes me, each picking up from the previous book and continuing the series while keeping true to the characters and the overall story arc. This series is truly wonderful.
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on 29 July 2013
Great story where you can easily lose yourself in the plot. Read on and enjoy the breathtaking excitement, which multiplies with each turning page. Brilliant!
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on 7 December 2010
The 39 clues series is a really good idea that gives pre-teens knowledge about various historical characters but also keeps it fun and interesting to read.
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on 4 August 2015
Such a great series. Arrived in good time.
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