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Gentlemen & Players Kindle Edition
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Audio, Cassette, Abridged, Audiobook, CD
|Length: 516 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
Switch back and forth between reading the Kindle book and listening to the Audible narration. Add narration for a reduced price of $14.49 after you buy the Kindle book.
From the Inside Flap
The place is St Oswald's, an old and long-established boys' grammar school in the north of England. A new year has just begun, and for the staff and boys of the school a wind of unwelcome change is blowing. Suits, paperwork and Information Technology rule the world; and Roy Straitley, Latin master, eccentric, and veteran of St Oswald's, is finally - reluctantly - contemplating retirement. But beneath the little rivalries, petty disputes and everyday crises of the school, a darker undercurrent stirs. And a bitter grudge, hidden and carefully nurtured for thirteen years, is about to erupt.
Who is 'Mole', the mysterious insider whose cruel practical jokes are gradually escalating towards violence - and perhaps murder? And how can an old and half-forgotten scandal become the stone that brings down a giant?--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
- File Size : 1356 KB
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print Length : 516 pages
- Publisher : Transworld Digital; New Ed Edition (30 September 2010)
- Language: : English
- ASIN : B003U6YTZ8
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Enhanced Typesetting : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: 181,523 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
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The second point of view is somewhat less obvious as, unless you guessed early on in the book, their identity is not revealed until much later in what I felt was one of the biggest twists I’ve come across in a long time (but more about that later). The mystery character is plotting revenge against St Oswald’s and all it stands for; the elite and superior within society. As we come to discover, the protagonist’s desire to take down the school and everyone in it is driven by their experience and bitterness that comes from being outside of its walls.
As the intricate story of cat vs mouse progresses it becomes increasingly dark and gripping. I personally did not guess the identity of the main character so this was a twist that really made the book in my opinion. Once I knew however, I came to realise just how cleverly written this novel was. The way the author writes makes it easy to picture the long corridors, multiple classrooms and manicured lawns to the extent that you feel like you are there.
This is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time, and I have to say I wouldn’t have actually chosen to do so (thanks Book Club!). It kept me on the edge of my seat and I was thinking about it long after I turned the last page.
The book pits two narrators against each other - under the slightly clunky guise of a chess match. A Knight and a Bishop put in appearances but feel rather as if they've been shoe-horned in for effect and to try to carry a theme that doesn't deliver well. The two narrators are distinguished (for me not very well) by their chapters starting with line drawings of chess pieces. On a Kindle, it's not immediately easy to understand the significance.
The book also suffers from insufficient differences in the voices of the two protagonists but I say that about most multi-narrator books that I've read recently. And to make it more complicated, one narrator jumps back and forth between past and present.
BUT.....despite the complexity, there's an interesting story in Gentlemen & Players.
An elderly teacher, a man wedded to his school and with 33 years of teaching Latin under his belt, is struggling to deal with the bureaucracy of the school.
A young teacher with a fake CV and a grudge that needs to be settled, is trying to destroy the reputation of the school and will stop at literally nothing to bring it down. That same teacher tells of of their childhood friendship with a boy called Leon; a friendship that lies at the root of the long-held grievance against the school.
Can the old teacher work out what's going on as his school falls apart around him? Can the young one carry out their evil plot to one by one pick off the teachers who gave Leon a hard time?
I found this a bit plodding at first but once I'd got my head around what was going on, I flew through the rest of it. The big 'twist' and the shocking reveal come at 85% into the book, just as you think you've got it all worked out. As twists go, it's on a par with the big 'reveal' at the end of Londonstani - which made me laugh so hard I nearly dropped my book in the bath. This one is a bit far-fetched but it does make us realise how clever the author has been. However, once certain things that happened between the protagonist and young Leon are clarified, the whole reason for wanting to destroy the school seems to fall apart and I was left wondering why they'd gone to so much trouble.
I already bought another book that's a sequel to this and look forward to reading that.
But more importantly, this is an erudite and very suspenseful psychological thriller that (in my opinion) beats the socks off of the current crop of 'twisty' bestsellers. Harris makes the reader care about her characters -- even the supposed 'bad guys' -- and every single one is complex, three-dimensional and convincingly human. I am looking forward to meeting some of them again in the sequel (and third of her 'Malbry' novels), Different Class.
An extraordinarily enjoyable book, and one I can recommend without reservation.