Even members of a super-duper mystery-solving kids group have to grow up sometime. And so the incredibly intuitive and observant Reynie Muldoon Perumal, the shy but scientifically advanced George “Sticky” Washington and the athletically gifted and physically hyper-capable Kate Wetherall all find themselves in their mid-teens now. Why, even Constance Contraire, the Benedict Society’s telepathically gifted junior member, is almost 10.
Now, some would say, So what? I mean, being 15 years old is far from ancient. But when you’re a genius, you have to be thinking of your future.
Reynie has already gotten invitations to attend a number of respected universities, Sticky has been asked to run a vaunted science lab and Kate has an open door to start training as a special agent. The only one who hasn’t gotten a lofty invite yet is Constance, and she’s a little irked about it. But let’s face it: Constance is generally irked about everything and not someone whose bad side you want to be on. Her mental skills can leave you with a bad day in a heartbeat.
Anyway, the Mysterious Benedict Society members are all a little anxious about their choices in the near future. They’ve been working together for years now and the idea of splitting up and heading in new directions isn’t an altogether pleasant one for any of them. Hey, change isn’t easy, especially when it involves growing up.
But Reynie and the gang need to put those tug-and-pull feelings on a back burner for a while because they’ve got to figure out how to deal with a pretty big problem: the Ten Men have escaped from prison. These baddies are called the Ten Men not because there are ten of them—there’s actually a baker’s dozen of the dastardly dudes—but because they each knows at least ten ways to hurt you.
The Ten Men are the deadly crew of the supervillain Ledroptha Curtain, who just happens to be the genius twin of the Society’s genius benefactor Nicholas Benedict. (Hey, there are geniuses everywhere these days.) But the Ten Men have a genius for doing really bad things. And that’s especially true for the huge, massively muscled and highly polished lead henchman McCraken. After years of imprisonment, McCraken and the others have some scores to settle and some plans in the works. It’s plain that a lot of people could get hurt.
On top of that, the Ten Men have a mind-reading psychic of their own now—codenamed The Listener—so Constance has to use her mental skills 24-7 just to keep the baddies from learning what the good guys are up to.
What are the good guys up to? Well, they’re trying to stay hidden while coming up with a step-by-step plan to foil those dangerous baddies. Oh, and they’ve also found a 5-year-old telepath named Tai who the Ten Men want to grab and exploit. But protecting him means bringing him into their group. And Tai’s undeveloped skills are like sending out a mental beacon to anyone who knows how to listen for it.
Yes, there are mysteries to unravel, puzzles to solve, innocents to protect and massive hurdles for three teens and a tween to overcome. But they’re the Mysterious Benedict Society. And they haven’t just been getting older while working together over the last several years; they’ve been getting better, too.