Amy and Dan go to China to find the next Clue and "coincidentally" they are the only ones on the airplane who are watching a movie about the Forbidden City instead of The Terminator. Unfortunately, they are not the first ones there, and meet Alistair Oh at the Beijing airport. He tells them that the Kabras and Holts are already in China after they refuse his offer at an alliance.
After coming from the airport they go to the Forbidden City in Beijing and discover that Emperor Puyi was a Janus. Dan finds a piece of silk fabric in an attic in the Forbidden City, which holds a poem as well as the Cahill crest and the branch crests in a mathematical way:
Lucian + Janus + Tomas + Ekaterina = Cahill
Amy then starts doubting their parents because they are Madrigals and she tells Dan that maybe they should be glad their parents are dead, which upsets Dan, who runs away, getting kidnapped by Ian and Natalie Kabra. The Kabras put Dan in Jonah Wizard's lollipop factory after searching him and finding nothing. Jonah finds Dan and takes him around China. Nellie and Amy contact Alistair for help to find Dan and to translate the Chinese message the Cahill siblings found below the equation:
That which you seek, you hold in your hand,
Fixed forever in birth,
Where the Earth meets the sky.
Amy and Nellie go to Jonah's concert, hoping for information on Dan's whereabouts. Jonah lies to them, saying he hasn't seen Dan. The next day, they read in the papers that Dan is indeed with Jonah.
As Dan and Jonah go to the Shaolin Temple, Dan learns Wushu and accidentally finds the remains of a burnt lab. Dan also finds a locket which holds a picture of a woman, who looks exactly like his mother but with clothes from a different time, which he keeps. It is later revealed that the women is Madeleine Cahill. Jonah's dad receives a message on his phone which the monk interprets correctly as the location of a terracotta warrior. Jonah calls Dan to go to the Terracotta Warriors Museum. There they find a trap set by the Kabras. Jonah was going to leave Dan, but he came back for him at the last second. Dan uses what he learned from Wushu to defeat the man. After returning to the hotel room, they meet Jonah's mother, Cora Wizard, who claims Dan to be a Janus. Dan gets mad at the Wizard family after realizing that Cora was involved the night their parents died and leaves, screaming that he is a Madrigal.
Through television, Dan sees the Holts climbing Mount Everest. He thinks that the next destination might be there. Amy knows the next destination when she changed Puyi's room in the Great Wall following the feng shui requirements to achieve positive qi. She sees an image of Mount Everest projected on a wall.
The Cahill siblings meet in front of the A-Star, a helicopter. After speaking with someone on Nellie's phone (she claims it's her uncle), the reluctant pilot flies both of them up Mount Everest and where they find a Janus vial left by British Cahill mountaineer, George Mallory. The Holts and Ian Kabra catches up and they fight over the serum. Ian accidentally falls and Amy chose to save his life, causing the Janus serum to break.
When Dan thought that they've lost the Clue, Amy shows him the poem on the silk and tells him the next Clue is raw silkworm secretion. They also realize that the formula on the silk means that all the serum of the branches add up to one master serum. Then Dan shows Amy the locket he found at the Shaolin temple and they see a name of a woman pirate named Anne Bonny. The next destination is the Caribbean.
In the audio book, there is an audio extra, featuring Cora Wizard's speech when she won the Nobel Prize.
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Historical Cahills mentioned
Cover Art Messages
The cover art on the Emperor's Code contains 4 secret codes. If you go to the 39 Clues Website, you can zoom in on the cover and look for them here. If you find at least 3, you can read an excerpt from the book.
- BECAUSE IT'S THERE - On the crown
- GM - Base of the right side of the helmet, near the ear, it stands for George Mallory who said the quote right above this sentence.
- Henry - Somewhere in the left part of the background, beneath the left ear. Henry is the name that Emperor Puyi changed his name to after he moved out of the Forbidden Palace.
- Tenzing knew too - On the copyright page, there are some ancient symbols and a message under it: get no kwiz. The symbol above each letter represents the code, and the code is on the forehead of the mask on the inside front cover.
It probably means that Tenzing Norgay, a Nepali Sherpa mountaineer, was a Cahill and knew about the clue.
Throughout the book, certain words, or even parts of words are circled.
- Madrigals (Pg. 2)
- are (Pg. 3)
- behind (Pg. 40)
- everything (Pg. 43)
- . (Pg. 43)
- They (Pg. 45)
- lay (Pg. 48)
- out (Pg. 50)
- the (Pg. 66)
- path (Pg. 71)
- the (Pg. 107)
- others (Pg. 123)
- will (Pg. 148)
- walk (Pg. 152)
- . (Pg. 152)
- The (Pg. 153)
- end (Pg. 154)
- is (Pg. 159)
- coming (Pg. 178)
- . (Pg. 178)
If you put the words together, they spell:
- Madrigals are behind everything. They lay out the path the others will walk. The end is coming.
William, "All falls into place. Cahills across the globe embrace their destiny and begin the hunt for the 39 Clues. More join the hunt with each hour, but for the plan to work, still more are needed. Continue your work, William. Convince the young Cahills that they just might conquer the world." Imagine if they knew the truth.
Split in Two
One belief has sustained fourteen-year-old Amy Cahill and her younger brother, Dan, on their hunt for the 39 Clues: They are the good guys. But then a shocking discovery about their parents discovery shatters everything Amy and Dan think they know, dividing the two siblings for the first time ever. When Dan disappears in a country with more than a billion people, Amy has to make a terrible choice - find the next Clue...or find her younger brother.
- Card 161: Lollipop Jonah
- Card 162: Everest Rescue
- Card 163: Nellie's Lie
- Card 164: Xian Surveillance
- Card 165: The Nudelmans
- Card 166: George Mallory
This is only available by listening on the audio book. In it, you listen to Cora Wizard's acceptance speech for her Noble Prize in Literature. In her speech, she adds several things about the Clue hunt including Isabel. She ends it with saying she has to leave for London, the supposed location of the next Clue. The fact is that Cora was preparing Jonah for what was to come in Into the Gauntlet.
Behind the Scenes
The Emperor's Code was incorrectly labeled The Emperor's Secret on the official website for a period of time:
|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|