Gentlemen and Players: A Novel

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9780060559144: Gentlemen and Players: A Novel

Audere, agere, auferre.
To dare, to strive, to conquer.

For generations, privileged young men have attended St. Oswald's Grammar School for Boys, groomed for success by the likes of Roy Straitley, the eccentric Classics teacher who has been a fixture there for more than thirty years. But this year the wind of unwelcome change is blowing. Suits, paperwork, and information technology are beginning to overshadow St. Oswald's tradition, and Straitley is finally, and reluctantly, contemplating retirement. He is joined this term by five new faculty members, including one who -- unbeknownst to Straitley and everyone else -- holds intimate and dangerous knowledge of St. Oswald's ways and secrets. Harboring dark ties to the school's past, this young teacher has arrived with one terrible goal: to destroy St. Oswald's.

As the new term gets under way, a number of incidents befall students and faculty alike. Beginning as small annoyances -- a lost pen, a misplaced coffee mug -- they are initially overlooked. But as the incidents escalate in both number and consequence, it soon becomes apparent that a darker undercurrent is stirring within the school. With St. Oswald's unraveling, only Straitley stands in the way of its ruin. The veteran teacher faces a formidable opponent, however -- a master player with a bitter grudge and a strategy that has been meticulously planned to the final move, a secret game with very real, very deadly consequences.

A harrowing tale of cat and mouse, this riveting, hypnotically atmospheric novel showcases New York Times bestselling author Joanne Harris's astonishing storytelling talent as never before.

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About the Author:

Joanne Harris is the author of seven previous novels—Chocolat, Blackberry Wine, Five Quarters of the Orange, Coastliners, Holy Fools, Sleep, Pale Sister, and Gentlemen & Players; a short story collection, Jigs & Reels; and two cookbook/memoirs, My French Kitchen and The French Market. Half French and half British, she lives in England.

From AudioFile:

Joanne Harris has left her very successful franchise of tales about magical French food for the austere world of a British "public" grammar school for boys, and she's made a stunning success of it. Her plot here consists of a cat-and-mouse game between a new teacher at upper-crust St. Oswald's, who for ancient reasons wants to destroy the school, and a very senior--some would say superannuated--Latin master who alone understands that there is a plot, not a series of unrelated catastrophes. Steven Pacey creates different, yet wholly believable, voices for the two narrators, who are 35 years apart in age and so deeply different psychologically that it's hard to believe it's one actor. A dazzling performance and wickedly good entertainment. B.G. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award AudioFile 2006, Portland, Maine-- Copyright AudioFile, Portland, Maine

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