"The Secret History" is the story of Richard Papen. He recalls, years after the fact, how he came to an upper-crust New England college -- yearning for a life of privilege and intellect -- and was amazed to find himself accepted by the school's ultimate inner circle, an exclusive Greek class. He is at first unaware of the shadow cast over this group by a past crime in which they all colluded. But then, slowly and inevitably, Richard and the others begin to believe in the necessity of murdering the one friend and classmate who might betray their secret.
Donna Tartt was born in Greenwood, Miss., and educated at the University of Mississippi and Bennington College. "The Secret History" was her debut novel. The excerpt below, read by the author, is presented courtesy of Harper Audio.