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The Ancient Nine

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  600 ratings  ·  202 reviews
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 kn
Hardcover, 432 pages
Published September 18th 2018 by St. Martin's Press
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Brant The copy you read is an Advanced Readers Edition or an early version posted on NetGalley. Those errors will be corrected for the final book. Hope you…moreThe copy you read is an Advanced Readers Edition or an early version posted on NetGalley. Those errors will be corrected for the final book. Hope you enjoy the novel!(less)
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Meredith Rankin
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3.54  · 
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 ·  600 ratings  ·  202 reviews

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Mackenzie - PhDiva Books
Sep 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: college-campus
A twisty mysterious ride through the depths of the Harvard libraries and to 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 ...more
Sep 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Cambridge, Massachusetts, Fall 1988

Spenser Collins is a sophomore at Harvard University when he is "punched" to join the Delphic Club, an exclusive all male final club that can boast some of world's most successful businessmen, politicians, Hollywood legends and Wall Street titans to name a few. Spenser, a basketball player at Harvard, is from Chicago and is the son of a single Mother. He does not quite fit Delphic Club's membership criteria and yet they are interested in him. Spenser's friend,
May 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
An unlikely student is punched (nominated) for membership into the Delphic club, one of the nine most exclusive clubs at Harvard. Things unravel from there as Spenser and another student in 1988 become obsessed with discovering the dark secrets of the Ancient Nine, a clandestine group within the Gas. There is a murder but it happens during the 1920’s so this is more of a puzzle requiring academic research and digging (some of it physical) rather than a traditional murder mystery. Be prepared for ...more
DJ Sakata
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
Krystin Rachel
Book Blog | Bookstagram

Opening Hook: A 1920s fence hopper
Main Character: Basically the author is just writing himself and it’s weird
Plot Twisty-ness: You have to read a research paper to get to them

You ever read a novel and can immediately tell it’s written by a first-time author because they don’t know how to chill the fuck out with descriptive passages and scenes that don’t further a plot?

Yeah. This book suffers from that in abundance.

The heart of the novel is that of Spenser Collins, a young
Stormi (Bewitched Reader)
Sep 23, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: thrillers
The Ancient Nine is a mysterious story about the intriguing hidden life of the elite final clubs of Harvard Universities. The story is well paced and involves a lot of history about something that I didn’t even know existed until now. Connections are made and details revealed throughout the story in places where the reader wouldn’t expect. There were times where the history and information about Harvard and the final clubs revealed would start to be unnecessarily detailed. These are the places w ...more
Joy D
Set mostly in 1988, this book takes the reader inside Harvard’s final clubs (social clubs not officially recognized by the school) through a multi-layered mystery related to the disappearance of a student in 1927. The protagonist, Spencer Collins, is a pre-med undergraduate basketball player. He is being recruited by the Delphic, an exclusive all-male club with dark secrets. As a person of color from the south side of Chicago, he is not the typical privileged, wealthy, white recruit. Spencer and ...more
Apr 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I received a DIGITAL Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
From the publisher --- "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
Spencer Collins thinks his life at Harvard will be all about basketball and pre-med; hard workouts and grinding work in class. The friends he’s made when he hits the storied ivy-clad campus from a very different life in urban Chicago are
Chandra Claypool (wherethereadergrows)
This is like a Dan Brown novel meets the Skulls, meets romance, meets bromance, meets thriller. There's a LOT going on with this book! Spencer gets punched to become one of Harvard's elite clubs - where women can't join, but they sure can serve you and be your entertainment! There are several elite clubs that you could be vying for, but The Delphic Club and the powerful men of The Ancient Nine - well that's where you really want to be! Once punched, Spencer decides to go on a journey to figure o ...more
The Lit Bitch
So I mostly picked up this book because it was set at Harvard. My sister works there and I’ve been back to visit and it makes such a great setting for any number of books. I was intrigued by the title and the mysterious club that this book centers around.

This book had a lot to recommend itself. A mysterious club at America’s most prestigious institute, a very thinking and intellectually driven mystery full of questions. At first glance the summary for this book seems to have a lot of different c
Olga Gamer
Sep 04, 2018 rated it liked it
I’ve been mulling over “The Ancient Nine” by Ian Smith and I’ve come to this conclusion: perhaps the novel isn’t sure what it wants to be. Does it want to be a book about secret societies at a college campus? A book about religion? Academic research? Romance? Oftentimes it felt that the author was juggling too many threads, making it for a disjointed reading experience.

The novel started strongly enough as the reader is introduced to Spenser Collins, a pre-med basketball player starting out at Ha
Really Into This
Sep 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Derek contributed this review to Really Into This

Check out all of our reviews at
Happy Reading, friends!

A murder mystery at Harvard involving a secret society with lots of twist & turns. Sounds like that movie with Paul Walker, The Skulls, right? On the surface, sure. But, The Ancient Nine is more than that!

We meet Spenser & he is the underdog of the story. Who doesn’t love an underdog? Despite many st
Yesha- Books Teacup and Reviews
4.5 Stars

You can read all my review on Blog - Books Teacup and Reviews

The Ancient Nine was a slow burner scholarly mystery set in 1988, story of convoluted mystery of one the club house of Harvard, buried secrets and wealthy cunning titans of the world who will go to any length to protect it. After long time I read such informative novel.

Main character, Spencer Collins was athletic, smart, American black student of Harvard from average family background. Invitation from the legendary
Jennifer (JC-S)
Aug 12, 2018 rated it liked it
‘…you might be the way we crack the Ancient Nine.’

Spenser Collins and Dalton Winthrop, two students at Harvard, unlikely friends. Spenser, a poor black boy from Chicago, is smart and athletic, determined to succeed. Dalton is the latest in a family of moneyed Winthrop men to attend Harvard. Dalton belongs in ways that Spenser cannot.

Their friendship is strengthened when Spenser is ‘punched’ by the Delphic Club, one of the most exclusive of Harvard’s famous all-male- final clubs. The Delphic was
Sep 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: st-martins
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 mea
Sep 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
THE ANCIENT NINE by Ian K. Smith is an intriguing and compelling mystery set amongst the hallowed halls of the exclusive, member-only houses in Harvard, during the 1980's.

Spenser Collins is not your usual candidate for membership in one of the most exclusive and powerful private member houses in Harvard but when he gets the invitation he is more than intrigued, as is his close friends Dalton Winthrop. As Dalton, a trust fund student who has a defiant relationship with his elitist father, fills S
Sep 12, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf, netgalley
I’m going to call this a DNF at 47%. My level of investment and enjoyment is zero at this point and I have no desire to continue.

Here’s why this book didn’t work for me:

I understand that this is set in 1988 but the level of misogyny is incredible and horrifying. Pretty well the only women in the book are servants, nurses, or prostitutes. They seem to be admired for their amazing bodies and not much else. At a club retreat, a group of naked women are handed out as prizes to the winners of a foot
Jul 31, 2018 rated it liked it
Full Disclosure: This book is scheduled to be published in September 2018. I received early access in exchange for writing an impartial review.

This is a well-constructed mystery that will keep you turning each page. And that makes it a quick read. Along the way, there’s a bit of history woven in, lots of library research, a connection to British knights, and a bunch of secrets to be discovered. You also get a peak into the elite world of attending Harvard University, with random tidbits about w
Jul 31, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
The Ancient Nine by Ian K. Smith is a book for people who like to work out puzzles and mysteries.

A poor black kid from Southside Chicago, Spenser Collins worked for academic excellence, supported by his single mom. He is also a talented basketball player. His acceptance by Harvard University starts him on his way to medical school so he can pay his mom back and support her in style.

If getting into Harvard seemed like a stretch, receiving an invitation from an exclusive final club, the Gas, total
Diane Hernandez
Sep 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
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 fr
Melissa Dee
Sep 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Unfortunately, "The Ancient Nine” dropped on a day when its theme of “boys must be boys” contrasts strongly with the Brett Kavanaugh hearings, and the accusation that boys *were* boys, and they behaved inexcusably badly towards girls.

There is no place in 2018 for mistreatment of others because of their race, gender, or sexual orientation. Harvard, and many other universities have apologized for too long for allowing tradition to trump justice. Testerone is not an excuse for bad behavior.

I give
Tracy (The Pages In-Between)
Thank you St. Martin's Press for gifting me an E-ARC and inviting me on to the blog tour. Below you will find my honest review. All opinions are my own.

The synopsis is a huge inclination to what you're going to find in this book. It's VERY detailed, borderline way too many details. For me, it made the book lag, and I actually struggled finishing it. Because there were so many details, something as simple as the color of someone's shirt, or a phone call made felt like 3 pages worth of reading. I
Oct 19, 2018 rated it it was ok
I've never read Ian K. Smith before but he has an impressive back list. The blurb for this one sounded so good! I couldn't wait to dig in and read it. It started pretty good, but then the writing became weak and it began to read like a book a junior high boy would enjoy. The hero is a pre-med student...but he sure doesn't spend much time studying. He does spend a lot of time with his friend, Dalton, chasing girls and making or thinking pretty disparaging comments or thoughts about other characte ...more
Jul 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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."
Patricia Romero
May 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery, thriller
Spencer is at Harvard to play basketball and hopefully get into med school. Spencer is a really good character. From the wrong side of Chicago to the ivy leagued and wealthy Harvard, he seems to fit in just fine. 

Spencer was raised by a single mother and never knew his father. But his father left money for his education and somehow this is all connected to a very old final club, The Gas. At the Delphic House rumors abound concerning a secret room and several deaths. 

When Spencer's friend Dalton
Tonstant Weader
Nov 04, 2018 rated it it was ok

In The Ancient Nine, Dr. Ian Smith, author of many books on diet and health, tries his hand at crafting a mystery rooted in historical fact. Spencer Collins, our fictive hero, is a Harvard freshman, a young black man from the south side of Chicago studying to become a doctor. He is surprised to be "punched" by The Delphic, one of the elite private clubs infamous among the Ivy League for their preservation of privilege. Presidents and other global leaders have been "Gasmen", so election to the cl
Sep 18, 2018 rated it liked it
The actual rating is 3 and a half stars.

Ivy leagues. I have always been intrigued by those Academies of Excellence, and everything they include. Just looking at the premises of Yale, Stanford, or Harvard leaves me speechless and I can’t help my imagination go wild about what it might be like to be part of the Chosen Ones.

The Ancient Nine appealed to me right away. Fresh out of university, I should have wanted nothing but to stay away from classes and tall buildings filled with silly boys and cli

Linda Branich
I received this book in a first reads giveaway at no charge, which did not influence this review.

Ian Smith is a new-to-me author.

I will not give any spoilers- you can read the blurb and other reviews if you wish.

I was hooked within the first few pages . Smith carefully unfolds this mystery as if one were peeling an onion. WIth each peeled layer, the next mystery to unravel is laid out. Smith's description of the punch process for the Final Clubs and Collins' emotions and feelings about coming f
Feb 16, 2019 rated it did not like it
I tried to finish this. I really did. It was recommended to me by my father because he thought I would enjoy the details about Harvard, and for a short time I did get some nostalgic pleasure out of it. At this point though, the utterly repellant sexism is overwhelming everything else so all I am doing is making myself more and more angry. I am surprised how few reviews are mentioning this. I did see one review that said she "didn’t want them to solve the mystery because they didn’t deserve nice ...more
Oct 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley-books
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 f ...more
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Ian K. Smith, M.D.,Ian K. Smith, M.D. is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of SUPER SHRED, SHRED, THE 4 DAY DIET, THE FAT SMASH DIET and EXTREME FAT SMASH DIET among 7 other books including, SHRED Diet Cookbook , EAT, Happy , and The Blackbird Papers. His newest book, THE SHRED POWER CLEANSE, is available 12/29/15.

He is a former co-host of Emmy-winning “The Doctors” TV show, and a medica