Dan and Amy Cahill are orphans, living in an apartment paid for by their Great Aunt Beatrice, cared for by their au-pair Nellie Gomez. Like every other child on the planet, Monday through Friday the two go to school, but on cherished weekends, they spend their time with their grandmother, Grace, in her home in the country… Until Grace dies of cancer. The siblings are devastated having lost the real light in their lives. At the funeral Amy and Dan renew a less-than-friendly acquaintance with several of their less-than-pleasant relations.
Ian and Natalie Kabra- Siblings, the negative of Amy and Dan. Where Amy is the elder, so is Ian. Where Amy and Dan are a rather pleasant yet typical sibling pair, Ian and Natalie are as nasty as a pair of…well… cobras
The Holt Family- an entire family of Olympic style athletes comprised of Eisenhower (dad), Mary Todd (mom), Hamilton (eldest child), Reagan and Madison (twin girls) and last but not least, Arnold, the family dog.
After the funeral the reading of Grace’s will takes everyone by surprise. All of Grace’s beneficiaries have the choice between taking a voucher for $1,000,000 OR a single clue. The frosting on the cake is that the Cahills are no ordinary family. There are four Branches, known as Lucian, Janus, Tomas, and Ekaterina. But there is also another group that seems to be working against the main four- the Madrigals. Amy and Dan of course choose the clue, and along with Nellie head to Philadelphia on the trail of Benjamin Franklin.
There is so much about Benjamin Franklin that is not taught in schools, and even if it was, chances are it would go in one ear and out the other. However,in this adventurous setting things like Franklin Batteries, and his trip to France as an ambassador will now be cemented in the minds of a new generation. Wonderfully written and paced, but what do you expect from Rick Riordan? ****