cover image The Ancient Nine

The Ancient Nine

Ian Smith. St. Martin’s, $27.99 (432p) ISBN 978-1-250-18239-5

In 1988, Harvard undergrad Spenser Collins, the narrator of this enticing if formulaic thriller from bestseller Smith (The Blackbird Papers), is invited to a reception given by the Delphic Club, the “most secretive of Harvard’s nine most exclusive clubs,” whose membership includes “some of the world’s most prominent men.” Intrigued, Spenser researches the club’s past and learns that a Harvard student, Erasmus Abbott, vanished in 1927 after attempting to break into the Delphic Club. Spenser decides to investigate, and the path to the truth, of course, proves perilous. Meanwhile, Spenser strikes up a romance with a stunning community college student, Ashley Garrett, who works as a server in his dining hall. Ashley, who turns out to be brilliant but oddly dreams of a career as a wedding planner, initially dismisses the notion of dating a snobby Harvard man before their relationship arrives at a predictable destination. Those seeking an inside look at an Ivy League secret society will get their money’s worth. 75,000 announced first printing. Author tour. Agent: Mitch Hoffman, Aaron M. Priest Literary Agency. (Sept.)