Further Reading: Fast-paced thriller leans on Harvard secrets

The Ancient Nine is a fast-paced mystery that explores the secrets and traditions of some of Harvard’s most reclusive notaries.

For over a century, a disappearance and subsequent cover-up have provided ample opportunity for rumour mongering about the storied campus. The wildest conspiracies abound, but answers are in very short supply. Some suggest that the disappearance was linked to the Delphic club, the most secretive of all of Harvard’s invite-only clubs.

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Spencer Collins seems to be an unlikely initiate to the Delphic. Although he is a pre-med student and a basketball star on Harvard’s team, he does not hail from wealth or privilege. His origins are the rough side of Chicago and streets that are not always safe. He still gets the invite letter, however, whilst his good friend, also a grandson of a former member, does not.

A series of strange initiation rites follows, many of them drawn from actual practices in use about campus for many generations. All the while, our hero Spencer is trying to maintain his bearings in a strange world unlike his upbringing. He is clever and adapts quickly to these new strange circumstances.

Despite the alacrity of his adaptation, Spencer still has a number of responsibilities to juggle in addition to the demands of the club.

He is a starter on the basketball team, which requires regular practices and attendance at all inter-league games, both home and away.

He is also a pre-med student with a demanding class schedule that allows no exceptions for its star athletes.

Further, his good friend Dalton Winthrop is obsessed with Harvard’s secrets and unsolved mysteries, and is constantly roping Spencer in to assist with chasing down ancient rumours and oddities.

Just in case he wasn’t busy enough, Spencer also finds time to fall in love, even though it was not on his mind when it happens. His advances are initially rejected outright, and then gently rebuffed, but his persistence is eventually rewarded with an outing that his love refuses to call a date.

Spencer’s initiation rites and Dalton’s obsession with Harvard’s secrets come together to form a modern mystery. This puzzle is one that may have real danger or lead to potentially catastrophic consequences for Spencer’s future.

A secret cabal known as the Ancient Nine seems as though they will stop at nothing to forestall their meddling inquiries.

The book is a fast-paced thriller, light on violence, that explores many fascinating secret traditions of Ivy-League clubs, all while telling an interesting modern tale rooted in history.

© Kamloops This Week


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