The book opens with the Cahill siblings and Nellie entering their hotel room, with Amy and Dan feeling tired because of what they learned in Jamaica and what they have to do from now on. Nellie find a message by the Madrigals in an envelope on the floor and tries to get the siblings' attention to decode it. Then, a monkey comes out of the curtain and grabs the message. The trio fails to stop the animal and it escapes via the window, after dropping a coin with a K on it. They understand that the K stands for Kabra. However, Dan had memorized the message, so the siblings start searching the web to decode the message. Just when Amy is about to tell what the message is about, Nellie discovers that the coin is a bug and they destroy it. After finding other bugs put by the other branches in their room and destroying them, Amy says that the message is about William Shakespeare and they decide to go to the Globe Theater to watch Romeo and Juliet.
While Amy and Nellie watch Romeo and Juliet in the Globe, Dan notices some people wearing ninja costumes in the roof, putting something in the gutter, which is a paper with coded instructions about The Clue Hunt. Amy and Dan take it and soon all the other teams appear, wanting to take it from the siblings. The ninjas are revealed to be the Starling triplets, who have gotten out of hospital. A fight between the Clue-hunting teams breaks out and Dan manages to take a big part of the paper with the instructions. They flee the scene of the fight and decide that they must got to where Shakespeare was born, Stratford-Upon-Avon.
Alistair, after the fight, is in a gallery, where the Starlings approach him, offering him an alliance. Alistair denies and starts walking away, but Sinead says that they stole Bae's Clues and he turns back.
Jonah is in Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum, where he poses, making the others think he's a wax statue. Then, he starts moving and singing, to draw the attention to him, while his mother is searching Shakespeare's statue. After the small concert inside the museum, while he is in his limo and thinking that Cora wants him to assassinate Dan and Amy, his dad informs him that a woman won't withdraw her deposit and she wants to talk to Jonah in personal. Jonah talks to her, reveals he is a Shakespeare fan, and in the end of their conversation he is wondering who he really is.
In Stratford-Upon-Avon, Amy and Dan are searching the house where William Shakespeare was born, but they soon realize that they are in the wrong place, They go to the church where Shakespeare is buried, where they find all the other teams, except Eisenhower and Isabel. No one has found anything and no one is fighting. After spending the whole day without finding something, every team except the Cahill siblings and Nellie leave, to spy on Amy and Dan with the cameras they've hidden in the church. The siblings and Nellie notice the cameras and decide to communicate via writing in a notebook. Dan leaves and returns with paper and pencils to rub Shakespeare's tombstone. While he is doing this, the other teams enter the church to retrieve their cameras. They think he has found something and all ask for rubbings. While Dan is talking to the others, he, by mistake, is moving the charcoal under the carvings, revealing a second set of lines carved extremely faintly in the tombstone, that seem like random cuts to the naked eye. Dan hides this from the others, by ripping apart the paper. He makes rubbing for the others and when they leave he makes another rubbing for himself. The secret message tells them to dig up his grave: But if a Madrigal kin ye be, then plees mine wish reverse for me...The siblings then go back to their hotel to grab some things they need.
Later that night, they sneak back into the church to dig up Shakespeare's grave. Inside they find a metal pole and a ribbon. When the other teams arrive, Amy rips up the ribbon and they flee the church. Using Dan's photographic memory, the siblings recreate the ribbon and wrap it around the pole, discovering the secret message. It reveals the location of the Madrigal stronghold, off the coast of Ireland. After bargaining with a stubborn helicopter pilot, Amy, Dan and Nellie land on the beach of the island. Soon, the Holts arrive and, with Dan, they climb the cliff to open the elevator for the rest of the clue hunters. In the scramble to get in the elevator, some are left behind, leaving Amy, Dan, Hamilton, Ian, Natalie, Jonah and Alistair. The elevator required one person from each of the Cahill branches including the Madrigals, leading to outrage. At the top, Sinead Starling appears.
When they arrive inside the gauntlet, Isabel Kabra blows up the entrances to get in, showering boulders over everyone else. Jonah gets injured in one of these and all but one of the flashlights are broken. They pass many doors with questions on them that are hanging open. They improvised torches from rope, perfume and sparks to see, after Natalie falls into a crater, made by Isabel, and loses the last flashlight. The clue hunters encounter buttons with five fingerprints on them, that one person from each of the branches must touch for it to open. Through this, they find many laboratories that are destroyed. At the end of the corridor, Isabel Kabra holds what everyone thinks is the serum. After they are forced to all touch it, the serum lights up with the formula. Isabel blackmails all of them by threatening to kill someone in the graveyard on the beach, who she had her bodyguards capture. Soon, Isabel has the real serum. When Ned Starling stumbles in, Isabel turns her gun on him, causing everyone to rush at her and knock her down. Amy grabs the vial and smashes it on Isabel's head, making her fall unconscious. All the clue hunters feel regret because they went for the vial instead of Isabel and give their clues to Dan. Mr. McIntyre and Fiske Cahill warn Amy and Dan of an 'enemy', the Vespers, but tell them to enjoy their childhood.
The Clue is the Serum Formula.
Letter: The Vespers Are Coming
This letter is from Grace for William. She writes that the news from her doctor isn't good and she will die soon. News on the front are worst: The Vespers are drawing near. She hopes that the hunt will help Amy and Dan bring this family together. The devil is at the door, this family must fight the real enemy.
Unlike most books, this includes one card from each branch, all of them are needed for a puzzle, and they are all agent cards.
It's showing the characters that participated in the gauntlet while also giving a short description of them for the card name. Names from top to bottom are Amy, Dan, Jonah, Hamilton, Alistair, and Natalie.
These cards together form the message "ONLY TOGETHER CAN WE FIGHT THE TRUE ENEMY"in the order of cards 220, 225, 224, 223, 222, 221, 223, 224 and 225.
Card 220: The Last Chance has an image on the back that can be arranged with 9 cards from the other books to make the scene of Gideon Cahill's lab fire.
This is only able by listening to the bonus track on the audio book. In it, Grace leaves a final message to Amy and Dan. She says that by now, the two have learned the entire truth and that they had inherited a few more things. She leaves her bungalow from The Madrigal Gauntlet, her headquarters in Madagascar, and the Flying Lemur. She also says in her Swiss Bank Account are a couple of her personal belongings she didn't want to keep in the mansion from Hope and Arthur. Amy receives a necklace Hope got on her eleventh birthday right before her father died. Dan gets a watch Arthur had that is damaged from many attacks. And from Grace, a ring. She ends the recording saying goodbye and that she loves both of them.
Smoke LogoIn every last book of a series, a front cover shows a destroyed 39 Clues Logo. Even though Vespers Rising is the "last" book of the first series, it serves as a bridge between the first and second series. This books logo shows it being shattered like the day of doom one is shown being struck by lightning.
The book is in everyone in the Clue Hunt's point of view (except for Irina Spasky, who is dead).
- On the front cover, the key in the logo is usually behind the U in Clues. But on the cover of this book, the key is seen flying out of the U. A guess might be that the U is made of an elastic material that, if something hits it, will pass through it. This is again seen is in the promotional videos for Vespers Rising.
- The same keys have a reference of the branch names. At the tip of each key there is the first letter of the branch at the top of the key.
- There is usually an image of the world behind the words, 'The 39 clues'. However on this cover, it has been shattered, which may be a reference to the fact that if the Master Serum falls into the wrong hands, the world could be ended.
- Also, the other four keys are flying outwards from the logo. This probably means that those keys are also in the logo, but hidden from view.
- On the spine of each book, the title of the book has a bright glow around it, however, on the spine for this book, there is no glow.
- It is the longest book in the entire 39 Clues series with a total of 327 pages.
- This book unlocks Mission 10: End Game.
- Although the other books show she doesn't care about her, this book shows the one time Isabel Kabra had physically hurt her daughter, Natalie Kabra.
- This book gives hints about the Vespers.
- When Mr. McIntyre tells Dan and Amy about the Vespers towards the end of the book he also tells them that they've inherited Grace's land.
- Everyone who participated in the Gauntlet received 2 million dollars.
- This is the first book in which the key to the code has its own page in the book (not counting the copyright page or the inside cover), the other being Breakaway.
|v • d • e The 39 Clues Books|
|The Clue Hunt||The Maze of Bones • One False Note • The Sword Thief • Beyond the Grave • The Black Circle • In Too Deep • The Viper's Nest • The Emperor's Code • Storm Warning • Into the Gauntlet • Vespers Rising|
|Cahills vs. Vespers||The Medusa Plot • A King's Ransom • The Dead Of Night • Shatterproof • Trust No One • Day Of Doom|
|Unstoppable||Nowhere to Run • Breakaway • Countdown • Flashpoint|
|Doublecross||Mission Titanic • Mission Hindenburg • Mission Hurricane • Mission Atomic|
|The Cahill Files||Operation Trinity • The Submarine Job • The Redcoat Chase • The Houdini Escape • Silent Night • Spymasters|
|Rapid Fire||Legacy • Ignition • Hunted • Crushed • Turbulence • Invasion • Fireworks|
|Additional Books||The Black Book of Buried Secrets • Agent Handbook • Midnight Ride • Worlds Collide|