The Penultimate Peril: Book the Twelfth (A Series of Unfortunate Events)

The Penultimate Peril: Book the Twelfth (A Series of Unfortunate Events)


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Lemony Snicket returns with the last book before the last book of his bestselling A Series of Unfortunate Events. Scream and run away before the secrets of the series are revealed!

Very little is known about Lemony Snicket and A Series of Unfortunate Events. What we do know is contained in the following brief list:

  • The books have inexplicably sold millions and millions of copies worldwide
  • People in more than 40 countries are consumed by consuming Snicket
  • The movie was as sad as the books, if not more so
  • Like unrefrigerated butter and fungus, the popularity of these books keeps spreading

Even less is known about book the twelfth in this alarming phenomenon. What we do know is contained in the following brief list:

  • In this book, things only get worse
  • Count Olaf is still evil
  • The Baudelaire orphans do not win a contest
  • The title begins with the word ‘The’

Sometimes, ignorance is bliss.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780064410151
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/18/2005
Series: A Series of Unfortunate Events
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 49,675
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.00(h) x 1.27(d)
Lexile: NC1150L (what's this?)
Age Range: 9 - 12 Years

About the Author

Lemony Snicket had an unusual education which may or may not explain his ability to evade capture. He is the author of the 13 volumes in A Series of Unfortunate Events, several picture books including The Dark, and the books collectively titled All The Wrong Questions.

Brett Helquist's celebrated art has graced books from the charming Bedtime for Bear, which he also wrote, to the New York Times–bestselling A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket to the glorious picture book adaptation of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol. He lives with his family in Brooklyn, New York.

Michael Kupperman has done many illustrations for such publications as Fortune, The New Yorker, and The New York Times. He frequently writes scripts for DC Comics. This is his first book.


Snicket is something of a nomad. Handler lives in San Francisco, California.

Date of Birth:

February 28, 1970

Place of Birth:

Handler was born in San Francisco in 1970, and says Snicket's family has roots in a land that's now underwater.


Handler is a 1992 graduate of Wesleyan University in Connecticut.

Read an Excerpt

A Series of Unfortunate Events #12: The Penultimate Peril

By Lemony Snicket

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2005 Lemony Snicket
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060296437

Chapter One

Certain people have said that the world is like a calm pond, and that anytime a person does even the smallest thing, it is as if a stone has dropped into the pond, spreading circles of ripples further and further out, until the entire world has been changed by one tiny action. If this is true, then the book you are reading now is the perfect thing to drop into a pond. The ripples will spread across the surface of the pond and the world will change for the better, with one less dreadful story for people to read and one more secret hidden at the bottom of a pond, where most people never think of looking. The miserable tale of the Baudelaire orphans will be safe in the pond's murky depths, and you will be happier not to read the grim story I have written, but instead to gaze at the rippling scum that rises to the top of the world.

The Baudelaires themselves, as they rode in the back of a taxi driven by a woman they scarcely knew, might have been happy to jump into a pond themselves, had they known what sort of story lay ahead of them as the automobile made its way among the twisting streets of the city where the orphans had once lived. Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire gazed out of the windows of the car, marveling at how little the city had changed since a fire destroyed their home, took the lives of their parents, and created ripples in the Baudelaires' lives that would probably never become calm. As the taxi turned a corner, Violet saw the market where she and her siblings had shopped for ingredients to make dinner for Count Olaf, the notorious villain who had become their guardian after the fire. Even after all this time, with Olaf trying scheme after scheme to get his hands on the enormous fortune the Baudelaire parents had left behind, the market looked the same as the day Justice Strauss, a kindly neighbor and a judge in the High Court, had first taken them there. Towering over the market was an enormous, shiny building that Klaus recognized as 667 Dark Avenue, where the Baudelaires had spent some time under the care of Jerome and Esme Squalor in an enormous penthouse apartment. It seemed to the middle Baudelaire that the building had not changed one bit since the siblings had first discovered Esme's treacherous and romantic attachment to Count Olaf. And Sunny Baudelaire, who was still small enough that her view out the window was somewhat restricted, heard the rattle of a manhole cover as the taxi drove over it, and remembered the underground passageway she and her siblings had discovered, which led from the basement of 667 Dark Avenue to the ashen remains of their own home. Like the market and the penthouse, the mystery of this passageway had not changed, even though the Baudelaires had discovered a secret organization known as V.F.D. that the children believed had constructed many such passageways. Each mystery the Baudelaires discovered only revealed another mystery, and another, and another, and several more, and another, as if the three siblings were diving deeper and deeper into a pond, and all the while the city lay calm on the surface, unaware of all the unfortunate events in the orphans' lives. Even now, returning to the city that was once their home, the Baudelaire orphans had solved few of the mysteries overshadowing them. They didn't know where they were headed, for instance, and they scarcely knew anything about the woman driving the automobile except her name.

"You must have thousands of questions, Baudelaires," said Kit Snicket, spinning the steering wheel with her white-gloved hands. Violet, who had adroit technical faculties -- a phrase which here means "a knack for inventing mechanical devices" -- admired the automobile's purring machinery as the taxi made a sharp turn through a large metal gate and proceeded down a curvy, narrow street lined with shrubbery. "I wish we had more time to talk, but it's already Tuesday. As it is you scarcely have time to eat your important brunch before getting into your concierge disguises and beginning your observations as flaneurs."

"Concierge?" Violet asked.

"Flaneurs?" Klaus asked.

"Brunch?" Sunny asked.

Kit smiled, and maneuvered the taxi through another sharp turn. Two books of poetry skittered off the passenger seat to the floor of the automobile -- The Walrus and the Carpenter, and Other Poems by Lewis Carroll, and The Waste Land by T. S. Eliot. The Baudelaires had recently received a message in code, and had used the poetry of Mr. Carroll and Mr. Eliot in order to decode the message and meet Kit Snicket on Briny Beach, and now it seemed that perhaps Kit was still talking in riddles. "A great man once said that right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant. Do you understand what that means?"

Violet and Sunny turned to their brother, who was the literary expert in the family. Klaus Baudelaire had read so many books he was practically a walking library, and had recently taken to writing important and interesting facts in a dark blue commonplace book. "I think so," the middle Baudelaire said. "He thinks that good people are more powerful than evil people, even if evil people appear to be winning. Is he a member of V.F.D.?"

"You might say that," Kit said. "Certainly his message applies to our current situation. As you know, our organization split apart some time ago, with much bitterness on both sides."

"The schism," Violet said.

"Yes," Kit agreed with a sigh. "The schism. V.F.D. was once a united group of volunteers, trying to extinguish fires -- both literally and figuratively. But now there are two groups of bitter enemies. Some of us continue to extinguish fires, but others have turned to much less noble schemes...


Excerpted from A Series of Unfortunate Events #12: The Penultimate Peril by Lemony Snicket Copyright © 2005 by Lemony Snicket. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

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The Penultimate Peril: Book the Twelfth (A Series of Unfortunate Events) 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 114 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lemony Snicket is a writing genius! I loved it and would recomend this book to ANYONE who sounds interested!
James Doak More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best books in the series! Lots of people said it was terrible, but I loved it. It was a great follow-up to the very last book. So please read it, it rocks! (PS it reveals some good secrets!)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I finnished reading book 13 almost a year ago and i still stay up some nights trying to solve the mysteries of VFD in my mind. I am going to make sure my niece starts reading these in 4th grade like i did. Lemony Snicket is a awesome writer. These books basically raised me. I did a project on Lemony Snicket and found out his real name is Daniel Handler and i have an actual picture of him!!!!!!!†
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thrilling adventure page turner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the best book in the series. A must read book. Once you start you can't finish!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love lemony snicket's books and the movie
Hamida Newsome More than 1 year ago
By far the best book in the series! I couldnt take my eyes from it. MUST READ!!!!!!!!!!!!! I loved it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
love these books!
TEST NOOKUSER More than 1 year ago
i love this series!!! you have to read this!!!!! its really good! in fact, great!!!!!
Kelly Gucciardo More than 1 year ago
this series is the best of all time!! so captivating. better then the Harry Potter series. They should make a movie out of all of the books!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
havent read it yet :/ Pretty sure its good though
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book so much. I think you guys should read it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mr. Snicket's series and writing style just knows how to grab a reader's attention and keep it there until the end of time. A must-read series, absolutely.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love these books. I've read 11 and Im on 12 i wish the series would never enb
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Whoa, these books are awesome!! Write anothier series, Mr. Snicket! We all luv ur style writing. Owo (=nomnom face) Keep it up! <3 Unfortunate Events series
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really good! It revels some good secrets!!! ;) cant wait to read last book!!! One of th bes books yet!!! I am almost through it and i love it!!! I hope u love it!!!!:);) i also suggust reading the books before tha before u rea this because it has a lot about the past 11 books!! LOVE IT!!!!!!
Anonymous 6 months ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is one of my favorites. From beginning to end, it's a book that is hard to resist. After 11 books, you would think they would get boring, but that's definitely opposite(excluding the final book). If you haven't read any of the Snicket books, these and All the Wrong Questions, I suggest you do immediately!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lemony you are freaking cool. I started the series with my reading teacher. The first book was amzing. But what i realy want to know is that will hector and the triples survie, does oalf kill his girl freaind. Telll me!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
They are TERRIBLE!! He has bad spelling and bad grammar. Plus he killed my parents! Please do not read his books!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I dont like this because its a great book but i have the real book right next to me and its nit the same the book it better so i would recomend getting from a library or if u love the book then buy it as a book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
How do I change from anon?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For aall those who dont know what VFD is get lemony snicket's the unauthorized biography. Hope I helped C:
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I cant read the whole book cause it wont let me