It is my turn of the Blog Tour for ‘The Ancient Nine’ by Ian K. Smith!
I am super excited to share another extract with you, one that takes you deep inside the Ivy League world of the Ancient Nine (Link at bottom of the post)
In ‘The Ancient Nine’, a Harvard sophomore, Spenser Collins is invited to join the most exclusive of exclusive clubs-The Delphic.
At Harvard, the clubs are arranged in a pyramid with The Delphic at the top-entrance is by invitation only or ‘punching’. His best friend , Dalton, is from a moneyed family, who has been recently cut off from his trust fund after disagreeing vehemently with his father-The Emperor.
Dalton is amazed but not jealous of the invite, he is already a member of the ‘Pork’ society but the arrival of a card invite, embossed with the 3 flames signifying the 3 groups of 2 or the ‘Ancient Nine’-guardians of the secrets that apparently go to government level and beyond-causes him concern.
Spenser is a young, black man from a single parent family who has worked hard to get into Harvard and takes nothing for granted. Who could have nominated him for The Delphic and what were the motivations?
Is Dalton as progressive as he seems? The principled upbringing he has experienced, and turned his back on, the only dating ‘women of colour’ gave me major ‘Get Out’ vibes at the start of the book and I was genuinely concerned for Spenser’s safety-btw if you haven’t seen ‘Get Out’ by Jordan Peele, I thoroughly recommend it, best horror film to come out in years!
The Delphic is stepped in mystery and lore-from it’s members, impenetrable building and suppose guardians, the Ancient Nine themselves. Whether they exist or not is the central tenet of the book, what is this ‘secret room’ and supposed treasure that the society are hiding? What happened to Erasmus Abbott in 1927, the Harvard student who entered The Delphic building never to be seen again? Why are there records of everything that ever happened in every society but The Delphic and why are there no member lists in the library? And, most sinister of all, at the arranged social event where ‘punchees’ are inducted, how did the head of the society know that Spenser had only applied to one other uni apart from Harvard? This was privileged information that should not have been known by anyone.
As Spenser and Dalton investigate further, can they maintain their sense of self in a society that demands complete subservience and loyalty? The temptation to investigate all the underlying myths and prove or debunk them, is too tempting to resist and you are swept up very quickly into Spenser and Dalton’s lifestyle and an understanding of privilege both from within and without the upper echelons of society.
This book is perfect for fans of ‘The Skulls’,Dan Brown, Donna Tartt and anyone who loves a well written mystery.
Ian K.Smith creates an atmosphere drenched in mystery, supposition, guesswork and menace that climbs around you like the ivy that covers the exalted halls of Harvard and pulls you tight to the plot until the very end.
Many thanks to Justine Sha of St Martins Press, Ian K.Smith and Netgalley for providing me with a copy of ‘The Ancient in return for an honest review!
Chapter 2 Extract