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Gentlemen and Players | [Joanne Harris]

Gentlemen and Players

At St Oswald's, a long-established boys' grammar school in the north of England, a new year has just begun. 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, the eccentric veteran Latin master, is finally - reluctantly - contemplating retirement. But beneath the little rivalries, petty disputes and everyday crises of the school, a darker undercurrent stirs.
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Publisher's Summary

At St Oswald's, a long-established boys' grammar school in the north of England, a new year has just begun. 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, the eccentric veteran Latin master, 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.

©2005 Joanne Harris (P)2010 Random House AUDIO GO

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (65 )
5 star
 (37)
4 star
 (17)
3 star
 (8)
2 star
 (1)
1 star
 (2)
Overall
4.3 (34 )
5 star
 (20)
4 star
 (8)
3 star
 (4)
2 star
 (1)
1 star
 (1)
Story
4.6 (33 )
5 star
 (23)
4 star
 (7)
3 star
 (3)
2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Laurie-an Rushden, United Kingdom 01/05/2011
    Laurie-an Rushden, United Kingdom 01/05/2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    8
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "Stunning Narration"

    This is arguably Joanne Harris' best novel, combining
    stunning characterization with her remarkable talent
    for weaving nail-biting tension and eerie mystery into
    the minute of life a la normality. But it is the
    narrator, Steven Pacey, who gets the brownie points
    for this book. His interpretation of the characters is
    nothing short of perfect, as is his pacing, tenor and
    clarity of voice. Overall this is one of the best
    audio books of the genre.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steven Auckland, New Zealand 01/05/2012
    Steven Auckland, New Zealand 01/05/2012 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    37
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    37
    31
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    4
    0
    Overall
    "Playing the readers to the end"

    Had I stopped listening at the half-way mark this would have been a fairly pedestrian but well-written thriller with a fairly predictable plot. But then the twists come - completely unforeseen and astonishing. They are so overwhelming that one wants to re-listen to see where one missed the clues - but there are none. In the end I thought this one of the very best thrillers I had heard. Harris is superb in the way she leads the reader on - the story just credible enough to keep reading until it suits her to unleash her arsenal of surprises. The narration is truly brilliant - subtle changes in tone and pitch convey different characters very well. I can't really say more without revealing too much. No doubt about the five stars - see for yourself.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elizabeth Manly, Australia 30/10/2011
    Elizabeth Manly, Australia 30/10/2011 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    27
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    51
    5
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    0
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    Overall
    "Excellent book"

    This was my introduction to Joanne Harris's longer fiction, and I am very impressed. It's a great, twisting story with a deliciously alluring villain, whose frank narration alternates with that of jaded elderly romantic Roy Straitley, physical emblem of St Oswald's school for boys, which the other narrator is out to destroy.

    Harris recreates the otherworldly feel of the staffroom beautifully, and the reading by Steven Pacey is excellent. I can't remember the last time I enjoyed listening to a book this much; Pacey's timing is perfect as he reveals the layers upon layers of Harris's story.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    mollyeyre 22/08/2014
    mollyeyre 22/08/2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    257
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    194
    172
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    7
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    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Worth a Listen"

    I enjoyed this overall, but found it a little confusing , in that there were two characters who 'narrated' their own stories and I couldn't always tell where I was with the story. However, it was a well crafted tale, and I found it enjoyable. I am a Joanne Harris fan and like her quirky ideas.
    Half way through the book I did actually 'work out' who the 'villain' was, possibly because I AM a JH fan. But it was still good to listen to.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan Sevenoaks, United Kingdom 07/07/2014
    Susan Sevenoaks, United Kingdom 07/07/2014 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent listening."
    What did you like most about Gentlemen and Players?

    I thought the story was gripping and very clever. Although uncomfortable to listen to at times as characters so well described I was drawn in and found it difficult to turn off. I am not normally a reader of 'novels' but I had enjoyed Chocolat and decided to try another of Joanne Harris' books. So pleased I did.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wim Alken, Belgium 20/06/2013
    Wim Alken, Belgium 20/06/2013 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    44
    10
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Surprising"
    What made the experience of listening to Gentlemen and Players the most enjoyable?

    The thinkthrough-factor: the story was well conceived and the picture fitted perfectly. I wonder if I should listen it again, knowing what I know after reading it to reassess the clues given in the course of the story.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The showdown is amazing. The story unravels in a completely unpredictable, yet not unrealistic way.


    What about Steven Pacey’s performance did you like?

    It was good. Sometimes it was difficult for me (no native English speaker) to know at once from whose perspective the story was told.


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No really


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    c WALSALL, United Kingdom 11/01/2013
    c WALSALL, United Kingdom 11/01/2013 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    41
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    180
    27
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    9
    2
    Overall
    "Fascinating, Thrilling and Different!"

    Superbly written and read, this novel has quite a different setting for a thriller - and the end result of that combination is really very intoxicating. It's quite slow to unwind but it's the attention to detail that pulls you in and keeps you hooked. I took particular notice of the other reviews - mainly because it's my first Joanne Harris novel - and I have the greatest regard for Steven Pacey. All of that paid dividends and I have thoroughly enjoyed the whole journey through this novel. Get ready for a great twist at the end. Brilliant!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Julie-Anne 23/12/2012
    Julie-Anne 23/12/2012 Member Since 2006

    I drive 80 miles a day so need plenty of listening material!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    25
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    187
    12
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    1
    Overall
    "Absorbing, interesting and clever"

    When the penny dropped near the end, I said: "Ohhhhh!" aloud. SUCH a cleverly plotted book with wonderful characters - goodies and baddies alike. I found myself running further than planned most days because I didn't want to unplug, and as others have already said, Steven Pacey's narration was perfect. Subtle alterations of tone were enough to differentiate clearly not only between the characters, but also the time periods in which they were speaking. Really wasn't expecting this story from Joanna Harris. Loved it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lisa 24/10/2012
    Lisa 24/10/2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    40
    3
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    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "Gripping and clever"

    There were times when the author racked up the tension so much I could hardly bear to keep listening. This is an amazing psychological thriller with a gasp out loud twist at the end. Dark, gripping and very well read. This is a great listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    MaDr8y 10/07/2012
    MaDr8y 10/07/2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    39
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    11
    5
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    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "Narration makes it worthy of 5 stars"

    I haven't read this story, and think I may not have stuck with it if I had tried, but the superb narrator made it possible to enjoy the rather (Ithink) implausible plot, and listen through to the end with pleasure. I will definitely be looking for other Steven Pacy-narrated stories.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 10 results
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  • Paddington
    Sydney, Australia
    15/08/12
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "a good mystery"

    Quite unlike previous Joanne Harris novels this story set in an established private boy’s school and warms up after the first few chapters into an intriguing mystery. It takes some interesting twists and turns and kept me spellbound until the end. Having been a teacher in a private boy’s school, I did think that Harris depicted the range of characters and attitudes very well. It made me smile to recognise some! This added to the charm of the story but also reflects how the demands are so great that some teachers sadly make it their whole life and they are easily discarded when their “used by” date occurs! Highly recommended.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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