The 39 Clues Book 3: The Sword Thief by Peter Lerangis Review

When The Sword Thief by Peter Lerangis was first released all the way in 2009, I was super excited. By that time I’d read the first 2 novels in The 39 Clues series, the latest one being One False Note by Gordon Korman, and the series was moving along at an exciting pace. Great storyline, […]

When The Sword Thief by Peter Lerangis was first released all the way in 2009, I was super excited. By that time I’d read the first 2 novels in The 39 Clues series, the latest one being One False Note by Gordon Korman, and the series was moving along at an exciting pace. Great storyline, amazing mystery, and outstanding characters. What more could a young reader want?

The 39 Clues is a multi-author book series written by extremely well-liked, bestselling writers regarding orphans known as Amy and Dan Cahill. When their grandmother Grace dies, they learn that they happen to be members of the most powerful family in human history. The source of their families power is hidden all through the earth in the form of thirty-nine special clues. The person who finds all the clues will become the most powerful person in the history of mankind.

Dan and Amy Cahill, needless to say, are definitely not alone in wanting the prize. Their shifty, back-stabbing family will do anything possible in order to be the first to find the clues.

Like all stories in The 39 Clues series, I completed reading The Sword Thief the very day that it came out. Although this was an interesting novel and moved the plot along, I recall not being super contented with this addition.


At the end of One False Note, Dan and Amy discover samurai swords by the site of the clue. They put two and two together and head off for Japan. Right before they’re able to board a flight for Japan, however, their cousins, Ian and Natalie Kabra, trick them and leave them stranded in the airport.

After that, Alistair Oh offers to assist Amy and Dan and create a partnership. All things considered, Alistair has resources in Seoul, and he has intelligence and age. Amy and Dan do not truly have confidence in him, yet they consent to join together for the moment.

Amy, Dan, and Alastair figure out that the clue is hidden somewhere in the history of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, a great Japanese warrior and first son of Thomas Cahill, the founder of the Tomas branch.

The Holt family, however, are also hot to get their hands on the clue and manage to lure them into a subway trap. It seems as if it’s about to be curtains for Dan and Amy, but Alastair rescues them before they are killed by a train. We also get to see the relatable side of the Holt children when they balk at the prospect of murdering Dan and Amy.

Unfortunately, the three of them accidentally enter the abode of sword-wielding Yakuza, or Japanese warriors. Nellie, their au pair, is able to save them, alongside Ian and Natalie Kabra. Amy, Dan, and Alastair agree to form an alliance with Ian and Natalie. The reason for that is in part because of the fact that Amy has sort of a crush on Ian, and Ian is acting as though it’s reciprocal.

The evidence points to Korea, and the group of 6 go to Alastair’s home. We learn more concerning the Ekaterina branch and about Bae Oh, Alastair’s uncle and chief of the Ekaterina branch. After Alastair’s dad died, Alastair lived unhappy years under his uncle. On the plane ride to Korea, however, he learns for the first time that Bae Oh arranged for Alastair’s dad to be killed.

At Alastair’s home, he reveals some of his own information with the others. We learn lots more about the clue hunt, in particular the fact that the 39 clues are actually thirty-nine chemical elements that when mixed together will produce a sort of philosopher’s stone. They travel to the mountain Pukhansan, and Dan tricks the others regarding the location of the clue.

The end is an exciting and dangerous tale, where we learn the true objectives of Amy and Dan’s relatives. Will Ian and Natalie snatch the clue, or will Amy and Dan outwit the Kabras yet again? More essentially, will Alastair Oh survive?


As I mentioned before, I look at this as one of the weakest books in the 39 clues series. Although Gordon Korman talked about how he used The Maze of Bones as his bible in writing One False Note, Peter Lerangis obviously didn’t do the same. The book is composed in a very different style in comparison to the rest of the series. The other 39 clues books are authored in a thrilling, unattached, and realistic style. This book is considerably more laid-back, the tone is much more informal, and it is not nearly as much full of action. Plus, it is kind of hard to understand. Because of that, the book loses much of its educational benefit and I don’t recall any of the historical details, quite different from the other books.

Although some of my friends who were reading the series at the time this book came out told me that they liked the break from the action this book provided, every single one of them quit reading The 39 Clues after this book. None of my friends who started out The 39 Clue sending up reading the fourth addition. Furthermore, books 1 and 2 were both #1 on the bestseller list for a long time. This novel was on the bestseller for a little while, but never hit number 1. None of the later books in the series did, either.

There are some good parts to the way Lerangis writes, however. He introduces the idea a potential romantic relationship between Ian and Amy that continues in the series to this day with different boyfriends and hints of crushes. This was the subject most usually talked about between clue hunters throughout the Cahills vs. Vespers storyline, and was in my view a beneficial addition to the series.

This book has some good info regarding the clue hunt that brings the story along, so it’s a must for devoted clue hunters going back through the early books. On the whole, though, the writing in this story is not close to as good as in the rest of the series and on its own I would not recommend reading it.

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