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The Black Circle (The 39 Clues , Book 5) Hardcover – August 11, 2009

4.7 out of 5 stars 97 customer reviews
Book 5 of 11 in the 39 Clues Series

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 4–7—Siblings Amy and Dan Cahill continue their quest for clues to the family's source of power with non-stop action and adventure that takes them to Volograd, Russia, in this episode by Patrick Carman (Scholastic, 2009). They chase down riddles left to them by "NNR" in one of the more complex books of the series. Incorporated within this story are famous landmarks centering on historical icons in Russian history, such as Rasputin. In their quest, they uncover a treasure stolen by the Nazis and the truth behind the murder of the last Russian royal family. The Madrigals play an integral role among the deceptions and espionage. David Pittu does an admirable job of narrating, giving each character a distinctive voice; listeners may find the chronic raspy quality of Dan's voice wearing by the end of the story. The exaggerated voicing of the bonus material at the end of the story is reminiscent of old time radio shows.—Tina Hudak, St. Albans School, Washington, DC
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

About the Author

Patrick Carman is the bestselling author of numerous series for young readers, including The Land of Elyon, Elliot's Park, Skeleton Creek, Atherton, Trackers, Dark Eden, and 3:15. He got his start as a storyteller weaving bedtime tales for his two daughters. He lives in Walla Walla, Washington, with his family.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 700L (What's this?)
  • Series: The 39 Clues (Book 5)
  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press; 1st New edition edition (August 11, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0545060451
  • ISBN-13: 978-0545060455
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.2 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (97 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #21,747 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I have been a lifelong writer and storyteller. Salem, Oregon is where I spent my formative years and I graduated from Willamette University. After college, I spent a decade living in Portland, Oregon where I worked in advertising, game design, and technology.

I've written young adult and children's books for Scholastic, Little Brown Books For Young Readers and Katherine Tegen Books/ HarperCollins Publishers.

I've been fortunate enough to have had some bestselling series work: The Land of Elyon, Atherton, Elliot's Park, 39 Clues, and Skeleton Creek. Here's a fun note...the books have been translated into approximately two dozen languages. Currently I'm developing a few new-media projects. Check out DARK EDEN to experience this type of cross-platform project.

When I'm not writing or creating a story, I spend my free time supporting literacy campaigns and community organizations, fly fishing, playing basketball and tennis, doing crosswords, watching movies, dabbling in video games, reading (lots), and (more than anything else) spending time with my wife and two daughters.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Out of all the five books, this is by far the best in the series. Carman brought the series back to where it should be, it had the feel of the first two books. Dan and Amy are in Russia gathering clues, and they have to make an alliance with a team they don't want to, but need to.

As the story unfolds we learn something about the character of Irina Spasky. I hope we learn more about her, and the hint that is dropped is explored more. I really like what Carman did with her. He really developed her and made her an interesting character. I hope we can learn more about her and her past.

I also like how Carman got away from Amy and Dan bickering all the time. In books 3 and 4, that was a major draw back for me. Dan and Amy are in the race for their lives, and they have to battle different members of the family tree, and they have to fight? For me, that never worked, and took away from the story. Glad to see that Carman didn't that in this book. It was such a pleasure to read.

Dan and Amy have to face something in this book that they never had to face in the past. They have a time limit. Amy and Dan get a mysterious card saying that they just have a set amount of hours to do what they need to, and if they don't, all will be lost.

I also loved how Carman kept the story in Russia, and let the reader in on some of the history and interesting facts about Russia, I felt that this aspect was missing from books 3 and 4. The reader gets drawn in and doesn't stop reading to the last page. This book has a lot of Russian history, and it was presented in such an interesting way.

One more thing I'll say that made The Black Circle such an interesting read..... while Dan and Amy solve puzzles and clues, they have a chance to learn more about their parents.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Each book in THE 39 CLUES series just makes me wonder one thing: is the ending going to be a let-down, or is it going to be amazing? I keep trying to figure out what the end result -- what all the clues are going to create -- will be, but I'm stumped. Well, not exactly stumped. I have a few ideas, but I'm afraid that if I'm right... the ending might not live up to itself.

And with the newest installment, book 5, THE BLACK CIRCLE, things are still continuing to spin in some interesting directions. Lots of questions that have been lingering since the beginning keep doing just that: lingering. We're getting licks of answers, but nothing definite. And there are definitely a few new twists thrown into things this time. Is everyone really who they say they are? Can Dan and Amy really trust anyone?

THE BLACK CIRCLE sends the Cahill siblings off to Russia, where they chase down riddles left for them by someone only calling themselves "NRR." Is it a trap? Or is it really leading them to some of the biggest answers to their biggest questions?

The writing is pretty crisp here, and Patrick Carman definitely keeps things moving along nicely and in a similiar style to the previous books. The only thing I did notice was some of the cheesy humour employed by the other authors. And maybe part of that is the fact that things are getting a bit darker and more serious as the race for the clues goes on.

All in all, THE BLACK CIRCLE probably ranks 2nd or 3rd from what's come so far, and the entire series is definitely worth a good read.
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Format: Hardcover
After being quite disappointed with the previous book in the series, I think they did a great job with this installment. Instead of reviewing what happened in the previous installment, they just jumped right into the action and had a much stronger story. I'm quite excited for the next installment.
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Format: Hardcover
I am a big fan of the 39 clues series and this book is the best so far. I enjoyed this book a lot and would recommend it to anyone in the 3rd grade or above. This book has great humor, mystery and action. Fantastic book!
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Format: Kindle Edition
When Amy and Dan receive an early morning telegram, they sneak away to the airport to find out just who exactly knows where they are and secrets about their past that only Grace would know. What they discover are two plane tickets, passports and disguises as well as a clue to discovering who send them and why. With a flight that leaves in an hour and a thirty six hour deadline to find clues in six different cities Amy and Dan head off to Russia leaving Nellie and Saladin behind. The task before them is impossible and they have no choice but to enlist help. With limited option they choose to put their trust in Hamilton Holt. The two teams split up passing information back and forth as they race to meet the deadline, but will they make it in time? Who is the mysterious N.R.R. - a friend helping them locate a clue or a foe leading them into a dangerous trap? And will the Holts double cross them as everyone else has?

Carman adds an extremely interesting installment to the 39 Clues series with The Black Circle. In this fast paced, well written novel readers are immersed in information about Rasputin, the Romanovs and multiple other notable Russian figures. The information for the most part follows with the rest of the series and I didn't notice any discrepancies. If there are any they aren't obvious. While the novel answers some questions from previous books, it also raises many others and you're left wondering yet again just who can be trusted. You learn more about the Madrigals, but still don't exactly understand who they are or what their purpose is. You're brought back into Lucian territory with Lucian leaders and suspicion is cast on different characters. The book is written mostly in a close third person offering a variety of point of views.
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