The 39 Clues Book 01
To Haley and Patrick, who accepted the challenge CHAPTER 1 Five minutes before she died, Grace Cahill changed her will. Her lawyer brought out the alternate version, which had been her most guarded se cret for seven years. Whether or not she would actually be crazy enough to use i t, William McIntyre had never been certain."Madam," he asked, "are you sure?" Grace gazed out the window, across the sunlit meadows other estate. Her cat, Sal adin, snuggled beside her as he had throughout her illness, but his presence was not enough to comfort her today. She was about to set in motion events that might ca use the end of civilization. "Yes, William." Her every breath was painful. "I'm sure." William broke the seal on thebrown leather folder. He was a tall craggy man. Hi s nose was pointed like a sundial so it always cast a shadow over one side of hi s face. He had been Grace's adviser, her closest confidant, for half her life. T hey'd shared many secrets over the years, but none as perilous as this. 6 He held the document for her to review. A fit of coughing wracked her body. Sala din meowed with concern. Once thecoughing passed, William helped her take the p en. She scrawled her weak signature across the paper. "They're so young," William lamented. "If only their parents -- "
"But their parents didn't," Grace said bitterly. "And now the children must be o ld enough. They are our only chance." "If they don't succeed -- " "Then five hundred years of work have been for nothing," Grace said. "Everythingcollapses. The family, the world -- all of it." William nodded grimly. He took the folder from her hands. Grace sat back, stroking Saladin's silver fur. The scene outside the window made her sad. It was too gorgeous a day to die. She wanted to have one last picnic w ith the children. She wanted to be young and strong and travel the world again. But her eyesight was failing. Her lungs labored. Sheclutched her jade necklace -- a good-luck talisman she'd found in China years ago. It had seen her through many close calls with death, many lucky misses. But the talisman couldn't help her an ymore. She'd worked hard to prepare for this day. Still, there was so much she'd left undone ... so much she had never told the children. 7 "It will have to be enough," she whispered. And with that, GraceCahill closed h er eyes for the last time. When he was sure Grace had passed away, William McIntyre went to the window and closed the curtains. William preferred darkness. It seemed more proper for the b usiness at hand. The door opened behind him. Grace's cat hissed and disappeared under the bed. Wi lliam didn't look back. He was staring at Grace Cahill's signature on her new wi ll, which had justbecome the most important document in the Cahill family's his tory. "Well?" a brusque voice said. William turned. A man stood in the doorway, his face obscured by shadows, his su it as black as oil. "It's time," William said. "Make sure they suspect nothing." William couldn't tell for sure, but he thought the man in black smiled. "Don't w orry," the man promised. "They'll never have a clue." 8CHAPTER 2
Dan Cahill thought he had the most annoying big sister on the planet. And that w as before she set fire to two million dollars. It all started when they went to their grandmother's funeral. Secretly, Dan was excited, because he was hoping to make a rubbing of the tombstone after everyone else was gone. He figured Grace wouldn't care. She'd been a cool grandmother. Dan loved collectingthings. He collected baseball cards, autographs of famous o utlaws, Civil War weapons, rare coins, and every cast he'd ever had since kindergarten (all twelve of them). At the moment, what he liked collecting best were charcoal rubbings of tombstones. He had some awesome ones back at the apart ment. His favorite read: PRUELLA GOODE 1891-1929 I'M DEAD. LET'S HAVE A PARTY. 9 He figured if he had a...