The Ancient Nine

The Ancient Nine

by Ian K. Smith M.D.

NOOK Book(eBook)

$9.99
View All Available Formats & Editions

Available on Compatible NOOK Devices and the free NOOK Apps.
WANT A NOOK?  Explore Now

Overview

"Pulls you into the depths of a secret world from the first page. Ian Smith’s novel is unmissable." —Harlan Coben, author of Missing You

Cambridge, Massachusetts, Fall 1988

Spenser Collins
An unlikely Harvard prospect, smart and athletic, strapped for cash, determined to succeed. Calls his mother—who raised him on her own in Chicago—every week.

Dalton Winthrop
A white-shoe legacy at Harvard, he's just the most recent in a string of moneyed, privileged Winthrop men in Cambridge. He's got the ease—and the deep knowledge—that come from belonging.

These two find enough common ground to become friends, cementing their bond when Spenser is "punched" to join the Delphic Club, one of the most exclusive of Harvard's famous all-male final clubs. Founded in the nineteenth century, the Delphic has had titans of industry, Hollywood legends, heads of state, and power brokers among its members.

Dalton Winthrop knows firsthand that the Delphic doesn't offer memberships to just anyone. His great-uncle is one of their oldest living members, and Dalton grew up on stories of the club's rituals. But why is his uncle so cryptic about the Ancient Nine, a shadowy group of alums whose identities are unknown and whose power is absolute? They protect the Delphic's darkest and oldest secrets—including what happened to a student who sneaked into the club's stately brick mansion in 1927 and was never seen again.

Dalton steers Spenser into deeper and deeper recesses of the club, and beyond, to try to make sense of what they think they may be seeing. But with each scrap of information they get from an octogenarian Crimson graduate, a crumbling newspaper in the library's archives, or one of Harvard's most famous and heavily guarded historical books, a fresh complication trips them up. The more the friends investigate, the more questions they unearth, tangling the story of the club, the disappearance, and the Ancient Nine, until they realize their own lives are in danger.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250182401
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 09/18/2018
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 88,236
File size: 8 MB

About the Author

Ian K. Smith is the author of New York Times bestselling nonfiction books, including the #1 bestsellers Shred, Super Shred, and Blast the Sugar Out, as well as the novel The Blackbird Papers. He is a graduate of Harvard, Columbia, and the University of Chicago's Pritzker School of Medicine.
Ian K. Smith, M.D. is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of SHRED, SUPER SHRED, THE SHRED POWER CLEANSE and other top-selling titles. He has created two national health initiatives--the 50 Million Pound Challenge and the Makeover Mile—and has served two terms on the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition. A graduate of Harvard, Columbia, and the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Medicine, Smith is an avid fitness enthusiast and sportsman.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

Harvard College Cambridge, Massachusetts October 2, 1988

IT SHOULDN'T HAVE been enough to wake me, but I had just drifted off on the couch in the common room that separated my bedroom from my roommate's. It was a short scratchy sound: a pebble or sand being dragged across the linoleum floor. I looked toward Percy's bedroom. His door was closed and his light of. I sat up on the sofa, swiveling my head in the darkness to see what could've made the noise. Mice were not exactly uncommon sightings in these old Harvard houses, some of which had been built more than a century ago, so I was preparing myself for vermin out on a late-night scavenge. But when I turned on the lamp and looked down at the floor, what sat there took me completely by surprise.

Someone had slipped a small cream-colored envelope underneath the front door. There was no postage or return address, just my name and room number elaborately inscribed.

Spenser Collins Lowell House L-11

I turned the envelope over, hoping to find some indication of who might have sent it, but what I discovered was even more puzzling.

Embossed on the flap were three torches — so dark blue, they were almost black — arranged in a perfect V shape.

I heard footsteps just outside the door, slow at first, but then they began to pick up speed. I pulled the door open, but the hallway was empty. Our room was on the first floor, so I grabbed my keys and ran a short distance down the hall, jumped a small flight of steps, then rammed my shoulder into the entryway door, forcing it open into the cool night. I immediately heard voices echoing across the courtyard, a cluster of three girls stumbling in high heels, dragging themselves in from a long night of drinking.

I scanned the shadows, but nothing else moved. I looked to my right and thought about running across the path that led to the west courtyard and out into the tiny streets of Cambridge. But my bare feet were practically frozen to the concrete, and the wind assaulted me like shards of ice cutting through my T-shirt. I retreated to the warmth of my room.

Percy's bedroom door was still closed, which was not surprising. He wouldn't wake up if an armored tank tore through the wall and opened fire.

I sat on the edge of the couch and examined the envelope again. Why would someone deliver it by hand in the middle of the night, then sneak away? None of it made any sense. I opened the envelope slowly, feeling almost guilty ripping what appeared to be expensive paper. The stationery was brittle, like rice paper, and the same three torches were prominently displayed in the letterhead.

The President and members of the Delphic Club cordially invite you to a cocktail party on Friday, October 14, 7 o'clock Lily Field Mansion at 108 Brattle St. Cambridge. Please call 876-0400 with regrets only.

I immediately picked up the phone and dialed Dalton Winthrop's number. Fifth-generation Harvard and heir to the vast Winthrop and Lewington fortunes, he was one of the most finely pedigreed of all Harvard legacies, descending from a family that had been claiming Harvard since the 1600s, when the damn school got its charter from the Bay Colony. Dalton was a hopeless insomniac, so I knew he'd still be awake.

"What the hell are you doing up this time of the night?" Dalton said. "Some of us around here need our beauty sleep." He sounded fully awake.

"What can you tell me about something called the Delphic Club?" I asked The phone rustled as he sat up.

"Did you just say 'the Delphic'?" he said.

"Yeah, do you know anything about it?"

There was a slight pause before he said, "Why the hell are you asking about the Delphic at this ungodly hour?"

"They invited me to a cocktail party next Friday night. Someone just slipped the invitation under my door, then ran."

"Are you fucking kidding me? The Delphic invited you to a cocktail party?"

"Unless there's another Spenser Collins I don't know about."

"No ofense, Spenser, but don't get your hopes up," he said. "This is probably some kind of prank someone's pulling on you. The Delphic isn't just a club, like any fraternity. It's the most secretive of Harvard's nine most exclusive clubs. They're called final clubs. The Delphic goes all the way back to the 1800s and has some of the world's most prominent men as members. An invitation to their cocktail party is like an invitation to kiss the papal ring."

"So, what you're really trying to say is that they would never give an invitation to a poor black kid from the South Side of Chicago."

"Spenser, you know I don't agree with that kinda shit, but that's how these secret societies operate. They haven't changed much over the last century and a half. Rich white men passing of the baton to the next generation, keeping their secrets shielded from the rest of the world. Yale has Skull and Bones, but here at Harvard we have the final clubs. It's no exaggeration when I tell you that some of the country's biggest secrets are buried in their old mansions."

"If I don't fit their image, then why did someone just slip this invite under my door?" I said.

"Because it's not real," Dalton said.

"What do you mean?"

"Guys joke like this all the time. This is the beginning of what's called punch season, which means the clubs are secretly nominating sophomores to enter a series of election rounds. Whoever survives the cuts over the two months gets elected into the club. You've heard of the hazing they do in fraternities. Well, this is a little like that, but it's a lot more formal with much bigger stakes."

"What makes you so sure my invitation is fake when you haven't even seen it?"

"Are you alone?"

"Percy's here, but he's out cold."

"Pull out the invite and tell me if you see torches anywhere."

I was sitting in the chair underneath the window, still eyeing the courtyard, hoping I might see who might've dropped of the envelope. The ambient light cracked the darkness of our common room. I held up the envelope.

"There are three torches on the back of the envelope," I said.

"What about the stationery?"

"There too."

"How many?"

"Three."

"What color?"

"Dark blue."

"Is the center torch lower or higher than the others?"

"Lower."

Dalton sighed loudly. "Now take the stationery, turn it over, and hold it up to a light," he said. "Tell me if you see anything when you look at the torches."

I followed Dalton's instructions, carefully removing the shade from one of Percy's expensive porcelain lamps that his grandmother had proudly given him from her winter house in Palm Beach. I held the invitation next to the naked bulb. "There's a thin circle with the initials JPM inside," I said. "But you can only see it under the light. When you move it away, the letters disappear."

"Jesus fuckin' Christ, Spense, it's the real deal!" Dalton yelled as if he were coming through the phone. "The Delphic really has punched you this season. I can't believe this is happening. Tell me the date of the party again."

It was rare to hear this level of excitement in Dalton's voice. Few things got him going, and they typically had to do with either women, food, or his father, whom he hated more than the Yankees.

"Next Friday at seven o'clock," I said. "It's at a place called Lily Field Mansion."

"Lily Field, of course," Dalton said. "It's the biggest one up there on mansion row, and it's owned by the Jacobs family, one of the richest in the country. Stanford Jacobs used to be the graduate president of the Delphic, so it makes sense that he's hosting the opening cocktail party."

Secret society, mansions, ultra-wealthy families, an invitation delivered under the cloak of darkness. It was all part of a foreign world that made little sense to me, the son of a single mother who answered phones at a small energy company.

"So, what the hell does all this mean?" I asked.

"That you're coming over here tomorrow for dinner, so we can figure out some sort of strategy," Dalton said. "This is all a long shot, but if things go well for you on Friday night, you might make it to the next round. I'm getting way ahead of myself — but one round at a time, and you might be the way we crack the Ancient Nine."

"The Ancient Nine?" I asked. "Is that another name for the clubs?"

"No, two different things," Dalton said. "The Ancient Nine are an ultra-secret society of nine members of the Delphic. A secret society within a secret society that not even the other Delphic members know much about. Most around here have never even heard of the Ancient Nine, but for those who have, some swear it exists, others think it's nothing more than another Harvard legend."

"What do you think?"

Dalton paused deliberately. "I'd bet everything I own that they exist. But no one can get them to break their code of silence. According to rumors, they are hiding not only one of Harvard's most valued treasures but also century-old secrets that involve some of the world's richest families."

(Continues…)


Excerpted from "The Ancient Nine"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Ian K. Smith.
Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
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.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

The Ancient Nine: A Novel 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
Davids3 More than 1 year ago
The Ancient Nine is one of the worst books i have read in years. It is a preposterous story with an absolutely stupid ending. It seems more like an attempt to make a novel out of some 6th grade research on clubs at Harvard. Really good stories, I believe, have to have a chance of actually happening, but Ancient is so inane and contrived that it lacks even a hint of credibility. Further, while I have no idea of Morgan's involvement with Nazi Germany, if it is more of the flim flam in most of the book, it is a great disservice to taint the great banker's name to bolster a weak and poorly written novel. Why they publish such drivel remains a mystery to me.
MilliR 10 months ago
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel! Spenser Collins is an engaging protagonist, and the intrigue he and his friend Dalton Winthrop encounter as they try to solve the mystery of the Ancient Nine makes for a roller coaster ride of a read.
10061264 More than 1 year ago
I am half way thru this book and can not put it down, it is an excellent read. Love the main character, the whole subject of "final clubs" and the mystery they are trying to solve is so interesting and I can not wait to find out the ending. Then I want to do some research on Harvard!
gigiluvsbooks2 More than 1 year ago
Cambridge, Massachusetts, Fall 1988 Spenser Collins An unlikely Harvard prospect, smart and athletic, strapped for cash, determined to succeed. Calls his mother—who raised him on her own in Chicago—every week. Dalton Winthrop A white-shoe legacy at Harvard, he's just the most recent in a string of moneyed, privileged Winthrop men in Cambridge. He's got the ease—and the deep knowledge—that come from belonging. These two find enough common ground to become friends, cementing their bond when Spenser is "punched" to join the Delphic Club, one of the most exclusive of Harvard's famous all-male final clubs. Founded in the nineteenth century, the Delphic has had titans of industry, Hollywood legends, heads of state, and power brokers among its members. Dalton Winthrop knows firsthand that the Delphic doesn't offer memberships to just anyone. His great-uncle is one of their oldest living members, and Dalton grew up on stories of the club's rituals. But why is his uncle so cryptic about the Ancient Nine, a shadowy group of alums whose identities are unknown and whose power is absolute? They protect the Delphic's darkest and oldest secrets—including what happened to a student who sneaked into the club's stately brick mansion in 1927 and was never seen again. Dalton steers Spenser into deeper and deeper recesses of the club, and beyond, to try to make sense of what they think they may be seeing. But with each scrap of information they get from an octogenarian Crimson graduate, a crumbling newspaper in the library's archives, or one of Harvard's most famous and heavily guarded historical books, a fresh complication trips them up. The more the friends investigate, the more questions they unearth, tangling the story of the club, the disappearance, and the Ancient Nine, until they realize their own lives are in danger. Review: Lots of mystery and twists and turns in this book. Set in 1988, but there is some skipping around in history to add to the mystery. What I was drawn to when I was first offered this book to read for review was the secret clubs and the mysterious disappearance from one in the early 1900's. It is very descriptive book, that sometimes gets a little bogged down by that. On the whole I was wrapped up in the mystery and could not wait to find out what would happen next. It also had a nice little love story woven in also. 3.5Stars *I voluntarily read an advance reader copy of this book provided by the publisher.*
Fredreeca2001 More than 1 year ago
Spenser is a struggling student at Harvard. He is always low on money and does not come from the right background. He is from the south side of Chicago. So, fitting in with all the rich, preppy boys at Harvard is not so easy. When he receives an invitation to one of the exclusive clubs which Harvard is famous for, this adds a whole new element of complication to his college life. Spenser does not understand how he can be selected for one of the secret clubs at Harvard. He does not fit the bill! Luckily his friend, Dalton is there to help. When these two discover the story about a death of a student years ago, it leads them into a tangled mess of a mystery which could get them killed. Spenser is a great character. He is hardworking and determined. Then there is Dalton. He is the opposite of Spenser. These two together create a good team. I love their chemistry and Dalton’s no nonsense attitude really balances the two. I adore the setting of this novel. The rich history of Harvard is the perfect backdrop for this story. And believe me, the author knew how to weave a great tale around all this history. With the Delphic (the secret society), The Ancient Nine ( a secret within the secret society), the old house with secret rooms, how could the reader not be captivated. This tale just seems to drag a little. It has the rich history and the secrets but not a lot of action to keep the story moving. I received this novel from St. Martin’s Press via Netgalley for a honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great Enjoyed the story
Carolefort More than 1 year ago
The Ancient Nine exceeded my expectations. I imagined this to be an account of students' lives at Harvard. Instead, the story reads like a Dan Brown mystery, although this fiction is based on real events. Spenser Collins is a Harvard athlete of meager means. Meanwhile, his best friend, Dalton Winthrop, is fifth-generation in Cambridge. In October, 1988, Spenser receives an invitation to attend a reception at one of Harvard's most prestigious and secretive all-male societies. Although he is not from a prominent family, he may be admitted to the Delphic Club if he passes a series of steps. The Delphic Club is an ancient society that has had leaders in politics, industry and entertainment as its members. Spenser and Dalton soon become curious and begin investigating the Delphic's secret past, especially the Ancient Nine who have absolute power over the society's secrets, The book takes us all over Cambridge, into Harvard's numerous libraries, meetings at the Delphic, basketball games, etc. It is a fascinating ride and hooks from the first page. And what an ending! I look forward to reading more books by Dr. Ian K. Smith. Highly recommended. Thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review
RobinLovesReading More than 1 year ago
My rating: 4.5 Stars It is Harvard College in 1988, and there is a secret club that Spenser Collins has been invited to join. It is one of just a handful of secret groups and is called the Delphic Club. Spenser just doesn't get it. This club is so exclusive, and he knows that he doesn't meet the usual criteria. So, he is certain that a mistake has been made. If not a mistake, then most certainly a prank. His friend, Dalton Winthrop, knows quite a lot about the Delphic Club, and helps Spenser to avoid any mistakes that might cause him to lose this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, which is referred to as "punching in". One thing that comes immediately to light is that the Delphic Club and its members are hiders of secrets, including the mystery of what happened to a student back in 1927. As Dalton uses the knowledge passed onto him by his great-uncle, the two students delve into the secretive history. They do have help from other sources, including old archives. Before long, Spenser learns about another club, which is the actual secret club within a club, and that is the Ancient Nine. This is where the story takes a turn. The secrets that lie within were deigned to stay hidden forever, but that is not the case any longer, and now Spenser and Dalton's lives are in danger. While this is a fictional story, it is indeed based on actual events. This goes a long way into turning this story into a really superb mystery/thriller. The author is a medical doctor who has written several books about health and nutrition. This is of note because it is more than evident that we have a very seasoned writer who has penned these words. His talent shone through in The Ancient Nine. It was thrilling to read of these clubs, the secrets and the danger. There is even a love story to be enjoyed. We are also entertained by a lively cast of characters. This is a very well-rounded novel and I am pleased that I was able to spend the day reading this. Be sure to pick up your copy of The Ancient Nine. Many thanks to St. Martins Press for this ARC to review in exchange for my honest opinion.
RobinLovesReading More than 1 year ago
My rating: 4.5 Stars It is Harvard College in 1988, and there is a secret club that Spenser Collins has been invited to join. It is one of just a handful of secret groups and is called the Delphic Club. Spenser just doesn't get it. This club is so exclusive, and he knows that he doesn't meet the usual criteria. So, he is certain that a mistake has been made. If not a mistake, then most certainly a prank. His friend, Dalton Winthrop, knows quite a lot about the Delphic Club, and helps Spenser to avoid any mistakes that might cause him to lose this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, which is referred to as "punching in". One thing that comes immediately to light is that the Delphic Club and its members are hiders of secrets, including the mystery of what happened to a student back in 1927. As Dalton uses the knowledge passed onto him by his great-uncle, the two students delve into the secretive history. They do have help from other sources, including old archives. Before long, Spenser learns about another club, which is the actual secret club within a club, and that is the Ancient Nine. This is where the story takes a turn. The secrets that lie within were deigned to stay hidden forever, but that is not the case any longer, and now Spenser and Dalton's lives are in danger. While this is a fictional story, it is indeed based on actual events. This goes a long way into turning this story into a really superb mystery/thriller. The author is a medical doctor who has written several books about health and nutrition. This is of note because it is more than evident that we have a very seasoned writer who has penned these words. His talent shone through in The Ancient Nine. It was thrilling to read of these clubs, the secrets and the danger. There is even a love story to be enjoyed. We are also entertained by a lively cast of characters. This is a very well-rounded novel and I am pleased that I was able to spend the day reading this. Be sure to pick up your copy of The Ancient Nine. Many thanks to St. Martins Press for this ARC to review in exchange for my honest opinion.
BettyTaylor More than 1 year ago
If you are a fan of Dan Brown’s “Robert Langdon” series (ANGELS & DEMONS. THE DAVINCI CODE) this is the book for you. Set at Harvard University in 1988, student Spenser Collins finds an engraved invitation slipped under his dorm room door to “punch” for the most elite of the final clubs - the Delphic Club. At first he thinks it is a prank as he is definitely not the stereotypical final club member. His single mother worked hard to make Harvard a reality for her son. So not sure of what it means, he asks his friend Dalton. Dalton Winthrop seems more the type for the Delphic Club. But Dalton, thoroughly shocked, assures Spenser the invite is authentic. It is from Dalton that Spenser becomes aware of the deeply buried secrets the Delphic clubhouse conceals. While Dalton was not punched for the Delphic himself, he has heard many stories about the club from his great-uncle who is a member. Dalton is highly curious about a group within the Delphic Club known as the Ancient Nine. These nine men are all-powerful and hold sacred the history – and the secrets - of the club. Dalton believes they may have gone as far as murder to protect its secrets. He hopes that through Spenser he can get answers as to what happened to a college student who, in 1927, entered the Delphic clubhouse and was never seen again. This will be a challenge though as no one knows the identity of these nine men, men who have taken an oath to preserve the club secrets as long as they live. As Spenser explores the Delphic clubhouse for clues he can sense the power of those men who came before him. Every turn reveals expensive original artworks, massive furniture, rare books, and a trophy room. He is surrounded by portraits and photo of past members. The story slowly reveals hints that just create more questions for Spenser and Dalton. As they are drawn deeper into the web of secrets they come to realize that their lives may now be in jeopardy. Who are these Ancient Nine? Do they really exist? I really enjoyed the bits of Harvard history given in the story. There have always been conspiracy theory stories related to Harvard and its secretive final clubs – and its famous alumni. Ian Smith writes beautifully of the clubs’ camaraderie and how these clubs, while offering a place for its members to withdraw from the larger hectic university life, also lent a feeling of superiority with their aura of secrecy and exclusiveness. I enjoyed everything about the story – the perfectly timed pacing, the excellent character development, the tad of romance, the suspense.
Jolie More than 1 year ago
3.5 review The Ancient Nine intrigued me when I first got the invite from the publisher. I like reading about secret societies/clubs. Heck, I even watch documentaries about them if I see them on TV. So when I read the blurb for The Ancient Nine, I needed to read this book. While the book was well written, it bored me in parts. It was also slow and because of that, I struggled to finish it. So why 3.5 stars? It comes down that the author did do a fantastic of keeping that secret room in the Delphic club under wraps until the end of the book. I liked Spenser. He was down to earth and relatable. But I found myself getting frustrated with him. While he kept saying that he didn’t want to be in any of these “final” clubs, deep down inside he was excited about it. I kept wanting to go into the book and say “Dude, own being punched. Who cares what other people think. They chose YOU!!“. Of course, when it was revealed why he was chosen, I took those words back. But still. I also felt that he was easily led by Dalton. I felt that he wouldn’t have gotten as deep into the mystery of The Ancient Nine, the disappearance of Erasmus Abbott and the mystery of the secret room. I didn’t like Dalton. He rubbed me the wrong way. He was too pushy about finding out about things. I mean, he stole his dying Uncle’s garter and dangled it in front of Spenser. He kept dragging Spenser off for trips to Florida, Rhode Island, Connecticut to chase after the clues that kept cropping up. He didn’t take into consideration that Spenser was at Havard on an athletic scholarship and he needed to keep his grade up. Even the way he treated his parents was ridiculous. The way he acted during that dinner cemented my dislike of him. But, through everything, he was a true friend. He cared about Spenser. This book starts off fast. The mystery of what happened to Erasmus was addressed in the first chapter. Then Spenser was introduced and it continued to go at a fast clip. It kept up the pace until after the first meeting. Then it slowed down. After Dalton’s uncle died and that book was recovered from the safe deposit box, it slowed way down. By the time the book got around to Spenser doing his research on Erasmus and other clues, it was crawling. It was at that point where I kept falling asleep. And it continued that way until the end of the book. There was a small romance angle that I almost wish wasn’t there. Spenser and Ashley’s romance, while cute and a welcome distraction wasn’t needed in the book. I could have done without reading about his feelings for a girl who didn’t seem to like him back. But it was there. It did add more depth to Spenser’s character. The mystery/suspense/thriller angle of the book was wonderfully written. I liked how the author kept everything under wraps until the end of the book. I did figure out the mystery of Moss Sampson about halfway through the book. But, how it was revealed and who revealed was a twist that I didn’t see coming. The end of the book disappointed me. I don’t know what I expected but I expected some more fireworks. It was almost anti-climatic. After everything that Spenser went through, I thought that there would be more. I did like the epilogue but again, felt that same sense of disappointment. **I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**
Honolulubelle More than 1 year ago
Favorite Quotes: I rarely felt self-conscious about what I did or didn’t have, but it wasn’t lost on me that my competitors for a coveted membership were arriving in expensive foreign cars while I arrived in a pair of sturdy five-year-old Florsheims that had been resoled four times and polished so much, the white stitching had turned black. The racial politics at Harvard were complicated. Black students were in a tough position. If we spent too much time with white students, other blacks figured we had sold out. If we spent too much time with other black students, our white classmates figured we were angry separatists. The dining hall was one big murky fishbowl of social complexities. Everyone looked to see who was sitting with whom and how much time they spent interacting on the “other” side. I was lucky because playing a sport gave me a pass that the non-athletes didn’t have. By dint of my team and training obligations, I automatically spent time with both blacks and whites, which gave me immunity. He had heavy bags under his eyes, as if miniature pillows had been slipped under his skin. He was military stocky and wore a pair of jeans that looked tight enough to constipate him. Her T-shirt had j-u-i-c-y spread across it in small crystals, and the fabric was under so much tension, I thought the I was going to pop off and hit me in the face. There were two things about Professor Charles Davenport that you’d never forget. He probably had the biggest ears of any man that’s walked the face of the earth, long doughy flaps that fell beneath his jawline with a forest of hair growing out of them. Then there were those glasses, big and black and rectangular, made all the more prominent by his hairless dome. She had an uncanny ability to quickly put things into perspective and make molehills out of mountains. Many people never even bothered leaving the tailgates, and most of those who did only entered the stadium at halftime, when their champagne had run dry or their canisters of caviar were empty. This crowd even cheered differently. They didn’t yell and clap like most football fans. Rather they spoke complete, grammatically correct sentences, saying things like, “What a magnificent play!” and “Thrash them, Harvard!” Sometimes it was difficult to tell if they were watching a football game or croquet match. When the Harvard side of the stadium rose in unison, it was not to clap, but to jingle car keys in a massive show of approval. I watched in awe as thousands of Jaguar, Mercedes, and Rolls-Royce keys dangled in the air… Money has an insidious way of making decent human beings behave in a most indecent way. My Review: I wasn’t prepared for the complexity of this intriguing read and held on through a complicated and intricately woven tale with multiple yet equally compelling storylines. I pictured a handsome future President of recent history as the main character and it was a near perfect fit. There were compounded secrets within secrets and an endless and tantalizing quagmire to unravel. The writing was insightfully observant and sumptuously detailed. I reveled in Dr. Smith’s vividly colorful and amusing descriptions and looked forward to the introductions of each new character and locale. His premise pricked my curiosity and his well-crafted storylines kept it well fed while consistently pulling me in deeper and deeper into the group’s knotty and clandestine vortex. Like an iceberg, little was as it appeared to the eye. Th
diane92345 More than 1 year ago
A thrilling chase for a secret buried for decades enlivens the Ancient Nine. The Ancient Nine is a rumored fraternity inside a fraternity inside Harvard. Legend states they protect a secret called Harvard’s Holy Grail. Investigating the Grail has already cost one student his life. Spenser Collins receives a mysterious invitation to join the esteemed Delphic Club at Harvard. Spenser, a poor basketball scholarship recipient from the South side of Chicago, is stunned. He immediately calls his best friend, Dalton, a fifth generation Harvard scholar with an uncaring father but oodles of money, for help. Dalton has an Uncle who was a member decades ago before lung disease and forgetfulness struck. The two friends investigate the club and the Grail as Spenser moves closer and closer to becoming a Delphic member himself. The Harvard history is fantastic. Each building is described in detail and sounds beautiful. There is also much detail about the history of fraternities on the Harvard campus. Combining a tale set in 1927 with one in 1989 is brilliant. Seeing research done with books and in person was refreshing. The Grail mystery is good though the book’s pacing seemed a bit slower than most thrillers. It is hard not to compare the Ancient Nine with other “reveal the secret” books/movies like the DaVinci Code and National Treasure. This book is not quite as good as those. I’m sure a good script writer could tighten up the plot and make this a 5-star movie. The Ancient Nine as written is a solid 4 stars! Thanks to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for an advance copy.
DebDiem More than 1 year ago
The Ancient Nine is my first book by Ian K. Smith. There is a rather big age gap between me and the characters for this book, so it wasn't as exciting for me as it probably would be for younger readers. If I had to label this book I'd call it a thriller for YA or NA readers. Mr. Smith has delivered a book that is full of moments when you want to tell the characters, "Don't do that!" Like watching a movie and the dumb blonde is going into the basement...you just know something horrible is there. So yes, there is plenty of drama, suspense, some romance and a little action in this book to keep readers engaged. Spencer and his buddy Dalton have set their course to solve a mystery. I love the characters in this story. While this book didn't rate 5 stars from me, I believe younger readers will adore it. The Ancient Nine is a complete book, not a cliff-hanger. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book that I received from NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
PegGlover More than 1 year ago
The Ancient Nine is a book about one of Harvard’s most private and elite society groups, known as the Delphic Club. This exclusive group had the most secrets and mysteries of all of the Harvard clubs. There were rumors of dark undercover happenings, missing persons, and murder. Within the Delphic Club was another secret society known as the Ancient Nine. Spencer Collins was from Chicago and had a single parent upbringing. He was attending Harvard to play basketball and study medicine. Spencer was astounded when he received an invitation to a private party for Delphic Club members. Spencer didn’t fit their mold. He wasn’t from a wealthy family, or live in a prestigious neighborhood. He never attended private schools and didn’t mingle in the same circles as the elite. So why him? His best friend Dalton Winthrop, however, who knew about Harvard’s exclusive clubs, said that Spencer’s invitation was the real deal. Spencer had no idea what he was getting into but was eager to find out. The underworld of secret Harvard societies was about to open up for him. The Ancient Nine is an intriguing story, well-written, and captivating. Thank you, St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley, for my advanced review copy.
MackenzieH More than 1 year ago
A twisty mysterious ride through the depths of the Harvard libraries and the best local spots in Cambridge, I absolutely had a blast reading The Ancient Nine! If you’re a fan of mysteries and secret societies, like the Da Vinci Code and the Skulls, you will not want to miss picking this book up. This read flew by for me! I was completely engrossed in the story, and it had a good mix of history and details about the campus (Harvard) and town (Cambridge) to make it feel completely authentic. It even had a little romance! You will be completely hooked by chapter two! About the Book In the fall of 1988 Spenser Collins is a sophomore at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Spenser is an unlikely prospect for Harvard—a black male from the south side of Chicago raised by a single mother, and he’s one heck of a basketball player. Spenser is best friends with Dalton Winthrop, a legacy at Harvard coming from a long lineage of Winthrops to grace those hallowed grounds. Dalton has the looks, the money, and the name to show his belonging at Harvard. When Spenser is punched to join one of Harvard’s most exclusive clubs, the Delphic Club, both Spenser and Dalton are stunned. Sure, Spenser is smart, athletic, and a good person, but he’s also black, poor, and doesn’t have the “pedigree” that a club like the Delphic would usually look for. As Spenser begins his journey with the Delphic, Dalton tells him of another secret—a club within the club called the Ancient Nine. No one outside of the Ancient Nine are sure of its existence, but Dalton may know more than most. His great-uncle was in the Delphic Club, and something Dalton has seen at his house makes him sure he is one of the Ancient Nine. Desperate to know what the Ancient Nine was formed to protect—the club’s greatest secrets—Dalton and Spenser seek answers. Combing through the rarest books at Harvard, centuries-old newspapers in the library archives, and clandestine meetings with former members, Spenser and Dalton begin to discover that the secrets of the Delphic may be darker than they ever imagined. Now, they must discover the truth before they become the Delphic’s next secret… Reflection Most people can guess by the name of my blog (It’s Ph.Diva!) that I’m a life-long student and learner. So much of my identity is wrapped up in being a student and a member of academic tradition. A book like The Ancient Nine was an absolute delight for me to read. I have found myself on some seemingly doomed hunts through microfilm archives and crumbling books to find that needle in a haystack article (though the articles I seek rarely refer to a mysterious death). Smith’s writing is so detailed that it was easy to picture all of the settings in this novel. I felt like I took a trip to Harvard myself. I loved the amount of historical information about the campus and the town that was sprinkled throughout. It made me feel like a part of the story, envisioning those late night greasy diners with the best cheesesteak in Cambridge, or the underground tunnel with study rooms where Dalton and Spenser meet to speak in private about their quest. And then there is a bit of romance! Enter Ashley, a girl working at the University to get herself through community college. Spenser is instantly smitten, but Ashley keeps him at arms length. He’s a Harvard boy, and she can’t imagine he’d ever fall for a girl from the wrong side of town. Let’s just say that Ashley may be underestimating Spenser!
MusicInPrint More than 1 year ago
Was not sure I would like this book but IT WAS SURPRISINGLY GREAT! College life at Harvard for Spenser takes some interesting trails to enlightenment. Mystery clubs and hidden rooms takes Spenser from libraries to night time grave digging. Author with talent not only for characters but weaves a great story. "A copy of this book was supplied by St. Martin's Press via Netgalley with no requirements for a review. Comments here are my honest opinion."