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Gentlemen and players : a novel
Harris, Joanne
Adult Fiction HARRIS

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From Publishers' Weekly:

At the heart of Harris's riveting new book is a major secret, and veteran British stage actor Pacey does everything in his power not to give away even the slightest hint of it to audio listeners. Pacey plays both sides of the story's central chess match for the soul of a posh British boy's school with equal energy and wit, bringing to life the sad and troubled outsider Snyde, who wants so badly to be a student at St. Oswald's, and the deeply embedded classics master Roy Straitley, who cares for the school's future more than he will admit. As the two duel on the chessboard of life for St. Oswald's reputation, Pacey growls and whimpers with so much vitality that it's hard to take sides. Even when the two change into something else-when Snyde turns into a frightening killer and Straitley's inertia and antiestablishment leanings threaten to overwhelm him- we always know who is speaking, and why. Minor characters are also vividly drawn: rival masters reek with chalk and bad habits, a boy Snyde loves becomes a natural betrayer, and parents are always credible if not admirable figures. This is verbal magic of the highest order, the kind every author deserves but doesn't always get. Simultaneous release with the Morrow hardcover (Reviews, Oct. 31). (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

A new year has just begun at St. Oswald's, a revered boy's grammar school in northern England. Computer science is being introduced, creating turmoil and insecurity among the well-established classicists of the faculty; suits, skirts, and emails are suddenly replacing venerated gowns and discreet memos. The progress is painful, but more worrisome is something far darker: a mysterious insider nurturing a bitter grudge is about to launch a plan to destroy the school and each of its faculty members in a series of cruel practical jokes and carefully leaked press releases. Told from the alternating viewpoints of the sinister mole and a veteran Latin master, this story of dark secrets, rampant paranoia, and academic arrogance are played like a chess game to a murderous climax. New York Times best-selling author Harris has drawn on her experience as a teacher at an English boy's school to craft another brilliant novel. Her use of the dual narrative and the chess game analogy builds tension to a breathless pitch. This novel will rank alongside Chocolat and Five Quarters of the Orange as her best work. Intelligent, compelling, technically well crafted, and entertaining, it is highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 9/15/05.]-Susan Clifford Braun, Aerospace Corp., El Segundo, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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