"Faithful are the wounds of a friend,
But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful." -- Proverbs 27:6
Just when you thought that it was safe to be a Cahill as the feuding clans made peace, a new conflict is spelled out in Vespers Rising that will apparently pit the Cahills against the Vespers, a mostly recruited set of enemies who want the secret to the 39 clues.
I am going to try to avoid presenting spoilers here, but it's difficult because much of this material is related to the origin of the 39 clues contest described in the first nine books in that series.
First, realize that this book is composed of four short stories written by four different authors:
"Gideon Cahill--1507" by Rick Riordan
"Madeleine Cahill--1526" by Peter Lerangis
"Grace Cahill--1942" by Gordon Korman
"Amy and Dan Cahill Present" by Jude Watson
Reading these four stories together gave me the sense that this book is a sort of "origin" story for the new series to follow for anyone who didn't read the first series (or doesn't remember it very well).
The first story seems to be a dramatization of facts delivered in prior books. I thought it was well done, but I wasn't sure that I needed to read it.
The second story fleshes out the beginning of the Madrigals. It was done very much in the spirit of the 39 clues, inserting historic figures into the Cahill saga.
The third story was refreshingly new, if a little far-fetched, about Grace Cahill as a girl. I thought it added the most interesting new information to the series.
The final story was a paler version of Amy's and Dan's earlier adventures, with a new set of enemies. That said, it left me a little discouraged about what might come next in the series. I would prefer the novel format with more of the familiar Cahill characters actively involved. I presume that's what will come next in The Medusa Plot by Gordon Korman, due out in August, although the advance publicity seems to suggest that the rest of the Cahills will be pawns more than players in that book. Shh!