Gentlemen and Players
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The New York Times bestselling author takes a riveting new direction with this richly textured, multi-layered novel of friendship, murder, revenge, and class conflict set in an upper-crust English school—as enthralling and haunting as Ian McKewan’s Atonement and Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr. Ripley
Audere, agere, auferre.
To dare, to strive, to conquer.
For generations, elite young men have attended St. Oswald’s School for Boys, groomed for success by the likes of Roy Straitley, the eccentric classics teacher who has been a revered fixture for more than 30 years. But this year, things are different. Suits, paperwork, and Information Technology rule the world, and Straitley is reluctantly contemplating retirement. He is joined in this, his 99th, term by five new faculty members, including one who—unknown to Straitley and everyone else—holds intimate and dangerous knowledge of St. Ozzie’s ways and secrets, it’s comforts and conceits. Harboring dark ties to the school’s past, this young teacher has arrived with one terrible goal: Destroy St. Oswald’s.
As the new term gets underway, a number of incidents befall students and faculty alike. Beginning as small annoyances—a lost pen, a misplaced coffee mug—they soon escalate to the life threatening. With the school unraveling, only Straitley stands in the way of St. Ozzie’s ruin. But the old man faces a formidable opponent—a master player with a strategy that has been meticulously planned to the final move.
A harrowing tale of cat and mouse told in alternating voices, this riveting, hypnotically atmospheric novel showcases Joanne Harris’s astonishing storytelling talent as never before.
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. This year, however, the wind of unwelcome change is blowing, and Straitley is finally, reluctantly, contemplating retirement. As the new term gets under way, a number of incidents befall students and faculty alike, beginning as small annoyances but soon escalating in both number and consequence. St. Oswald’s is unraveling, and only Straitley stands in the way of its ruin. But he faces a formidable opponent with a bitter grudge and a master strategy that has been meticulously planned to the final, deadly move.
“Irresistible . . . Constantly surprising and wickedly fun.” “With GENTLEMEN & PLAYERS Harris has tapped an unsuspected talent for writing sophisticated, absorbing suspense.” “[A] disturbing yet strangely rewarding morality tale . . . Not every chess game ends with a checkmate.” “Riveting . . . The checkmate is a bold stroke — so audacious as to send readers, including this one, backtracking.” “[A] masterful literary thriller.” “Far darker than Chocolat author Harris’s previous books, this canny page-turner comes with a satisfying twist.” “Very good indeed.” “A complex, well-crafted murder mystery, with its author’s trademark blend of wit, wisdom and magic.” “[An] enjoyable mystery romp.” “Fun with a neat twist … it’s a bit like A.J. Wentworth squaring up to the talented Mr. Ripley.” “A strong psychological mystery.” “A literary gobstopper with an aniseed heart.” “Harris pulls it all off . . . Book groups of the world, watch out.” “[Harris] turns to the literary thriller, with stunning results . . . This is one hypnotic page-turner.” “[A] clever story of obsession and revenge . . . .[Harris] has scored another success.” “[A] gripping psychological thriller. . . . [Harris] cleverly keeps the reader guessing till the very last chapter. “One of those rare books that grips and holds you . . . [B]oth socially important and vastly entertaining.” “Don’t start this one late in the evening, unless you plan to stay up all night. It’s that gripping.” “Best of all is a dazzling climactic twist . . . . its last move is a winner.” “Perfect escapist reading for deep winter.” “A cunning, high-brow cat-and-mouse tale … [W]ill keep even the sharpest readers off-guard.” “[A] tense, perspective-shifting narrative … [A] page-turning climax that … avoids the easy out of a tidy ending.” “The gold standard for this year’s best mystery…[GENTLEMEN AND PLAYERS] left me breathless…a delightful read.”
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