The Sword Thief
This mystery book by Peter Lerangis is the third book in " The 39 Clues" series and is published by Scholastic, Inc.
The Sword Thief is written for kids ages 9 to 12. The age range reflects readability and not necessarily content appropriateness.
Crude or Profane Language
Drug and Alcohol Content
Other Negative Elements
In the first book in "The 39 Clues" series (The Maze of Bones), Dan and Amy Cahill's wealthy grandmother, Grace, dies and leaves a challenge to her large extended family: Whoever finds the 39 clues she's left behind will gain wealth and prestige beyond their wildest dreams. Orphaned Amy (age 14) and her brother, Dan (age 11), are determined to outplay their vicious, devious family members.
In this book, Dan and Amy find their boarding passes missing after Nellie (the kids' au pair [nanny]) has boarded their plane to Tokyo. Uncle Alistair, a competitor, offers to take the kids to Tokyo on his private jet. Though Dan and Amy have been warned not to trust anyone, they have little choice but to accept since Nellie, their only adult-figure, is already en route to Japan. Once in Tokyo, Alistair and the kids discuss Japanese history and decide the clues are pointing them to an ancient warrior from the Thomas branch of the Cahill family named Hideyoshi and his descendants, the yakuza. They've just printed out a map of secret subway tunnels when they realize their computer has been hacked by the Holt family, another competitor.
The Holts capture and transport them to the subway, where the whole group looks for clues until they're almost hit by a train. The Holts escape the way they entered, while the kids are saved by Alistair, who pulls them into a secret room within the tunnel walls. Yakuza warriors with swords quickly drive Alistair and the kids above ground, but just as they're about to be captured, Nellie, the two relatives who stole their boarding passes (Ian and Natalie Kabra), and Grace's cat, Saladin, arrive to save them. Alistair and the kids decide to work with the Kabras temporarily. Ian gives Amy a coin with a symbol on it, and in conjunction with a scroll they've found in the subway, the group decides the clues are pointing toward Alistair's homeland, Korea. On the flight, Alistair thinks about his painful discovery: Many years ago his Uncle Bae hired someone to murder Alistair's father.
When the next clue leads them to an alchemy chart and a mountain cave containing a new clue, Ian takes back the coin and uses it to seal Amy, Dan and Alistair in the cave while he and Natalie escape to continue their quest. Alistair and the kids find gunpowder fuses and blow their way out of the cave, but Alistair does not emerge from the rubble. The children appear devastated because they think he died. Bae and the elusive man in black (who appears briefly in each book) watch their reactions from the shadows. They also believe Alistair has been killed. As the children and Nellie resignedly head to Egypt to follow the next lead, Alistair reveals to Bae that he's still alive.
When Alistair and the kids need to start a fire and only have three matches left, Alistair instructs them to pray.
Other Belief Systems
The kids find a collection of golden buddhas. Amy believes she and Dan have had a seven-year string of bad luck, beginning with the deaths of their parents. Alistair says evolution does not favor the Holts' branch of the family.
Characters use God's name in vain several times. Butt, dang, fart, heck and turd also appear. When Alistair tells the kids they're in a cave full of schist, Dan tells him to watch his language. Eisenhower says that the Holts are viewed as stains on the family underpants. Irina curses violently, though the actual swear words don't appear in the text.
Dan and Amy vomit after they escape from an explosion, which they believe has killed Alistair. Dan refers several times to video games he plays, including Warcraft and Ninja Gaiden. He says the ninjas in the latter game will cut off your arms and feed them to you. In their online search for clues, the kids find a picture of a scary Japanese warrior holding a severed head.
Ian brushes his lips against Amy's, an almost-kiss, after he saves her from a rockslide.
Get free discussion questions for this book and others, at ThrivingFamily.com/discuss-books.
Book reviews cover the content, themes and world-views of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. A book's inclusion does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.
You can request a review of a title you can't find at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Readability Age Range
9 to 12