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Summary

After 30 years at St Oswald's Grammar in North Yorkshire, Latin master Roy Straitley has seen all kinds of boys come and go. Each class has its clowns, its rebels, its underdogs, its 'Brodie' boys who, whilst of course he doesn't have favourites, hold a special place in an old teacher's heart.

But every so often there's a boy who doesn't fit the mould. A troublemaker. A boy with hidden shadows inside. With insolvency and academic failure looming, a new broom has arrived at the venerable school, bringing PowerPoint, sharp suits and even sixth-form girls to the dusty corridors. But while Straitley does his sardonic best to resist this march to the future, a shadow from his past is stirring. A boy who even 20 years on haunts his teacher's dreams. A boy capable of bad things.

©2016 Frogspawn Ltd. (P)2016 Random House Audiobooks

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Fifteen hours of skilfully drip-fed darkness!

I loved this! Skilfully drip-fed to reveal the darkness, two narrative voices tell this tale of apparently buried scandal at St Oswald's Grammar School in fictional Malbry. One is Roy Straitley old-school Latin teacher who peppers his account with Latin lines, fiercely loyal to the school and his special 'Brodie boys' which are his life; and Ziggy, a boy who spent only a short time at St Oswald's but whose evil seeps through everything that happened there from that time so many years ago. The audiobook voices are just right: Straitley's strictly moral, out-dated mind-set conveyed by Stephen Pacey, and Ziggy's deluded, frightening and evil manipulation conveyed in Ewan Goddard's much higher-pitched wheedling.

St Oswald's has been enveloped and almost destroyed by terrible events which are slowly revealed: the death of a pupil and the imprisonment of a much-loved member of staff. A Crisis Team is brought in to save the school - representing all the management speak and high tech business practices loathed by Straitley. But worst of all, the new Head-in-a-suit is Harrrington, an ex-pupil whom Straitley had always disliked and distrusted. The new management is all for moving forward, but Ziggy's narrative gradually reveals the truth behind all the hideous events at St Oswald's, ensuring that the past events, far from being forgotten, continue to fester and erupt into jealousy-fuelled violence involving an increasing circle of victims - or are they perpetrators?.

It's a very complex plot and to give more away would spoil the listening, but it is no coincidence that Operation Yewtree blew up whilst Joanne Harris was writing the book. Dark themes are explored. What do you really know about what goes on in the darkness of your friends' minds? How can the abuser and the victim become entangled and change roles? Can the church, therapy or Juries be relied on to produce the truth?

Great Listening!

29 of 30 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Superb storytelling

Listen to Gentlemen & Players first. These two stories are exceptionally well written and told. Best I've read/heard for some years. Highly recommended. Would make an outstanding and gripping TV series.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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The second book as brilliant as the first...

What did you like most about Different Class?

Everything that I loved about the first. Joanne Harris has a great ability to keep her characters engaging and the storyline flows with complete ease.

What other book might you compare Different Class to, and why?

I cannot compare really, as the title says a Different Class. Unlike many other crime novels, this one did not suddenly jump to an unbelievable conclusion to wrap it up. Well done Ms Harris

Have you listened to any of Steven Pacey and Ewan Goddard ’s other performances? How does this one compare?

I adore Steven Pacey's narrations and will read anything by him, at first I was a bit concerned about Ewan Goddard's but he actually did a really good job, and I thought the combination of them both worked well.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

No, because that would be a spoiler. Audible think of a better question than this

I was moved when it finished as I wanted to listen to more

Any additional comments?

Love love love. Brilliantly written, superb narration, great story. I do hope we get to hear from the Latin Master again............and soon

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Engagingly written story that gathers momentum

I was drawn into the closed world of a boys’ grammar school told alternately by Latin master Roy Straitley and an un-named, creepy pupil. Straitley is an endearing curmudgeon with a pithy turn of phrase, disdain for modern gadgetry and full of despair over the innovative methods of running the school introduced by the new headmaster brought in save the ailing establishment. The narrative switches back and forth between 1981 and 2005 with hints of a scandal in the early 80s. Gradually clues are revealed of dark secrets and the story gathers momentum. There are false leads and surprises that kept me listening intently. It becomes quite confusing near the end as the creepy former pupil’s identity is revealed and the various threads of the story are brought together.

I enjoyed the book not least because it is so well-written and most of the characters voiced by one of my favourite narrators, Steven Pacey.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Different class

Thoroughly enjoyed this.....dark at times but full of surprises as well. Brought back memories of school days and of teaching as well.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Another good read/listen from Joanne Harris

Would you listen to Different Class again? Why?

Probably in a while. It would be interesting to go back to the beginning already knowing what you learn at the end.

What other book might you compare Different Class to, and why?

Blue Eyes & Gentlemen & Players both have the same atmosphere and rely on things not being what they seem, or that keep you guessing

Which character – as performed by Steven Pacey and Ewan Goddard – was your favourite?

I didn't like either of the characters but the performances of Pacey and Goddard were excellent.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No, but large chunks.

Any additional comments?

I did get rather fed up with the 'prodding finger' in Straitley's chest!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Hooked from the start

Joanne Harris had me from the start with this one. The characters, especially Mr Straightly were so believable. Narrated superbly. I feel I know St Oswalds intimately. I didn't want it to end. More of this wonderful school drama please Ms Harris.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Cleverly written

What did you like most about Different Class?

The description of the characters personality all entirely believable

What did you like best about this story?

The story invokes all of the emotions

What does Steven Pacey and Ewan Goddard bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

The narrators both brilliantly portrayed the strengths and weaknesses of the characters

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

There were many moments all relating to the main charachter

Any additional comments?

Would have loved this to go on and on

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Carole
  • Essex, England
  • 03-07-16

Nearly as good as Gentlemen and Players

The narration of this book was very good and the story was nearly as good as Gentlemen & Players, of which it is the sequel.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Layered darkness


The writing of this novel was like peeling an onion, it came in layer after layer of smouldering darkness.

Steven Pacey was excellent but I really did not enjoy the voice of Ewan Goddard, his voice was nasally with little intonation.

I believe this book is part of a trilogy, this one heing the middle one. That said, I listened to it without knowing the characters but this did not spoil the enjoyment.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Sanet Odendaal
  • 12-12-16

Fantastic twist and turns!

I loved listening to this brilliant book. Full marks for narration and twisty suspense! Sublime.