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.
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.
Alistair partners with Dan and Amy for most of the book, helping them get to Japan and sharing his secret information about the contest. He lies to a librarian about what he's researching so she will allow him access to the library's computers. Nellie, a young lady with multiple piercings and tattoos who loves punk rock music, is the token caretaker for the kids now that they're on the run from their mean aunt and legal guardian. Showing no concern for Dan's and Amy's lives, Eisenhower Holt commands his family to get out of a tunnel as the subway approaches. Alistair recalls his painful childhood under the guidance of his greedy, ruthless Uncle Bae, who had Alistair's father killed and raised him when his mother had to be hospitalized due to her grief.
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.
If your children have read this book or someone has read it to them, consider these discussion topics:
Note: Go to PluggedIn for reviews of the online games and video games that kids in this book played: World of Warcraft and Ninja Gaiden II
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