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Gentlemen and Players

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3.88  ·  Rating Details ·  10,849 Ratings  ·  1,353 Reviews
Audere, agere, auferre. To dare, to strive, to conquer. 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. But this year the wind of unwelcome change is blowing. Suits, paperwork, and information t ...more
Hardcover, 422 pages
Published January 1st 2006 by Harper (first published 2005)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Will Byrnes
Oct 08, 2008 Will Byrnes rated it really liked it
St. Oswalds Grammar School for Boys is an exclusive British institution, a bastion of tradition and privilege. Roy Straitley is an aging Classics teacher about to reach his 100th term at the school. The sameness and relative serenity of St Oswalds is about to be shattered. A new teacher is up to no good, determined to wreak havoc, perhaps even destroy the school and all those in it. Ultimately, this will become a battle between the honorable Straitley and the wretch bent on revenge and destructi ...more
B the BookAddict
Apr 27, 2013 B the BookAddict rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Most Highly Recommended
Shelves: fiction



Joanne Harris is best known for her award winning novel Chocolat that lead to the highly successful film of the same name and two more novels featuring the main characters. Her other novels include Blackberry Wine, Five Quarters of the Orange, The Lollipop Shoes and Peaches for Father Francis. Born in her grandparent’s sweet shop, her family has a tradition of storytelling, folklore, cookery and strong women. It is no surprise then that many of her books feature food, sweets and strong women fol
...more
Phrynne
Oct 08, 2013 Phrynne rated it it was amazing
This book is an absolute delight from start to finish. Joanne Harris has always been a favourite of mine and she certainly did not let me down with this one! Mr Straitly is such a well drawn character I found myself cheering for him the whole time and I was desperate for him to succeed in the end. The last paragraphs of the book brought tears to my eyes. There is a very big mystery angle to this story and although I was able to guess the identity of the murderer fairly early on it was only becau ...more
Tooter
Feb 14, 2017 Tooter rated it it was amazing
Another wonderful read by Joanne Harris. I wish I had read this one before the sequel (A Different Class published 11 years later) but nothing was spoiled by reading in reverse order. I'm looking forward to a third (or fourth...) in the series but, hopefully, sooner than 11 years! Highly recommended.
Vonia
This is definitely the best book I have read so far this year. Why? Let me count the ways. Where to begin? (The only real complaint I have is that the synopsis and teasers given tell a story nothing like what readers have. At least, it reveals only a sliver, and not even a very significant one- comparatively minor enough that it changes the overall perception.)

1. As always, Joanne Harris is an expert at characterization. This is my 4th book by her I read and even if I did not like the book too
...more
Jeanette
Feb 04, 2017 Jeanette rated it really liked it
Oh is this a splendid read! I almost gave it 5 stars until just 50 or 70 so pages from the end, when I think Harris jumped the shark a bit. But then I read "Different Class" first, so having given that one the 5 star, I felt this first one just shied behind it. It is 4.5 star if I could give it that rating.

If you have ever taught for a private institution anywhere, this book will cut to your gut with its sharp spears of recognition. Not just in England is there an embodiment like St. O's. Be it
...more
Fortunr
Oct 21, 2016 Fortunr rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Delightful, engaging and well written thriller, with an interesting plot and credible characters.

It beautifully recreates the special atmosphere of an old, privileged, traditional educational institution, and the particular set of idiosyncrasies, values, ineradicable and peculiar attitudes that characterize teachers (as well as students) in such a unique environment. The main character, old-school teacher Straitley, is just lovely and his passion for teaching and culture are contagious. You can
...more
Autumn
Oct 30, 2008 Autumn rated it really liked it
Alright, I'll say right up front that I would have given this book five stars, except that it has more profanity and school-boy crudities than I'm comfortable with in a book. But, (and this might be a bad thing), I'm willing to put up with a little more of that in a really great book. This book is definitely more PG13 than PG.
That being said, it's a great story. It's set in a boys' prep school in England and the story centers around Roy Straitley, a latin professor who has taught there for 33 ye
...more
Petya
Feb 06, 2014 Petya rated it really liked it
Хареса ми "Джентълмени и играчи". Джоан Харис е във вихъра на разбойническия си тип книги, които се характеризират с интелигентно планиране и много изненади! :) Това ми е втората книга на Харис в този стил. Първата беше "Свещени безумци". И двете са добри попадения. Не от типа много стойностни книги, които имат силни послания, а от типа съспенс, които поддържат интереса буден. Книги за удоволствие и разпускане.:) Авторката се е справила чудесно с психологическото изграждане на образите. Преподав ...more
Wendy
Jan 22, 2009 Wendy rated it really liked it
The thing I really like about Joanne Harris (Chocolat, Five Quarters of an Orange, etc.) is that she is not a formula writer. Each of her books is unique and can stand on its own merits. Gentlemen and Players is a bit of a cat and mouse thriller that effectively uses a chess analogy throughout the novel. Lots of twists and turns in this mystery. Many of the characters' names are cleverly used to offer some insights and hints. But don't read too, much about the story beforehand if you want to enj ...more
The Book Whisperer (aka Boof)
What a great book; especially the end where I did NOT see any of those twists coming. It's the sort of book that makes you want to turn to the beginning again to see where you might have picked up clues or see what you missed.

I am a HUGE Joanne Harris fan, my favourites of hers being the "foodie" books and I must admit to being a tad sceptical when I picked this up thinking that maybe she wouldn't do thriller novels quite as well. I was wrong - this lady is no one-trick-pony. From the first page
...more
Kiwi
Mar 09, 2015 Kiwi rated it really liked it
A brilliant psychological thriller where the criminal is playing a game of chess with the staff at St Oswald's, a posh all boys’ school, with the aim of bringing down the school by tarnishing its reputation. The main target is an old-fashioned teacher named Quaz (AKA Quasimodo since he resides in the school tower), I loved this character!
The novel alternates chapters from the perpetrator and the old teacher perspective. Harris does a wonderful job in creating a credible psychopath with a grudge
...more
Lauren
Apr 29, 2007 Lauren rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
May 1st, 2007 (Two weeks before Ava was born)

Not recommended!

I went to Kepler's a week ago and almost came home with four new books. But I instituted an emergency policy on the spot -- only one book purchase allowed -- and I picked this one. It sounded so promising... I love page turners and this was touted as "wickedly funny", literary, and all that good stuff. But my high hopes were dashed! And I gave up after about 120 pages.

In short, two narrators -- one who is supposed to be acerbically wi
...more
Victoria
Apr 01, 2010 Victoria rated it it was amazing
Joanne Harris’ novels have consistently impressed me since first discovering her. She’s a great writer, and I just love the cadence of her prose and the wonderfully realistic characters that she presents in a vivid and rich setting. This more literary mystery of hers is no exception - it’s an enjoyable and entertaining read. The “evil” narrator’s real identity is not impossible to figure out before the end, but it doesn’t detract from the fun in reading it, and adds that wonderful joy of being r ...more
Chris
Oct 09, 2008 Chris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I honesty think this is Harris' best book. I truly do.

To talk to much about the plot is to give away a bit too many spoilers, and part of the joy of the book is the mystery so, let's not do that. What I love, besides the mystery, is the look at class, gender, and blind love that we can't fully rationalize. There are so many parallels between the central characters and this is a winning aspect of the novel.
Laura
Aug 29, 2011 Laura rated it really liked it
Shelves: xx-2011-xx
4-4.25 stars. A solid, good read! Fantastic, believable characters, excellent writing. It loses a bit because I hated the villain TOO much. The audio performance is amazing. Better than the book. If you're looking for a cat-and-mouse suspense read, this is it. The older Latin teacher - I will never forget him. What a three-dimensional, awesome man I would love to meet. Any teacher I think would especially appreciate this book.
Sonia Gomes
Dec 12, 2011 Sonia Gomes rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Monique
Wow..what can I say about this book but I was blown away..Its an effort and exercise in vocabulary and patience but well worth it..The surprise twist that comes around page 324 is enough to make this book unforgettable and rare..This is the story of a prestigious all boys day school St. Oswalds and all the characters and secrets it holds are revealed to us by two narrators you love and hate... on one hand you have the loveable old Mr Straitley: a tweed jacket wearing relic of the old academic er ...more
Lindsay
Sep 15, 2008 Lindsay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Gentlemen and Players" may not be the best known of Joanne Harris's works, "Chocolat" undoubtedly holds that title, but this novel is a riveting story worthy of praise for its intelligence and ingenuity. Centered around the public (private for those of us in the US) St. Oswald's grammar school for boys where things begin to go terribly wrong - and we are not talking paper airplanes and spit balls disorder, more like school for scandal.

As the school, and surrounding town, attempt to come to gri
...more
Nicole Field
Where do I start with this review?

I've read a number of Joanne Harris' books. Almost all of them.

This one blew all of those books out of the water.

In my experience with her books, I've come to learn that there is a place in the middle where the plot lags, or the characters irritate me, or something just slows down enough for me to put the book down and pick something else up before going back to it.

That point didn't happen in this book. It was fast paced and neat and every character was develope
...more
Penelope
Jun 16, 2017 Penelope rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary, mystery
If you liked The secret history, READ IT.
Splash Of Our Worlds *Yiota*
I don't know exactly why I bought this book. It looked nice to have a book on my shelves that was normal, with simple people, no magicians, no genius children and so. Well, I have to admit that most of the books I thought they are simple, they are not. And this is an example.

The book is telling the story of a young student. It's experiece. The way the school is working. And it's relationships with the people among it. It's family, its friends, its teachers.
The book is also telling the story of a
...more
Kyle
Oct 19, 2016 Kyle rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
From what started out as a neat premise quickly devolved into a tedious, meandering puddle of words. I will say this much, I was hooked from the beginning; The plot for revenge by an outcast antihero. Going back and forth in narration between the PAWN, our schemer (with trips back into the past, and present) and the KING, the "Classics" Master, old centurion Mr. Roy Straitley, we find ourselves as readers woven into the murky history of St. Oswald's school for boys, and the lengths some will go ...more
Cata
Aug 06, 2012 Cata rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: emprestados, 2012
Depois da desastrosa estreia com O Rapaz de Olhos Azuis, Xeque ao Rei revelou-se uma agradável surpresa, talvez por desta vez não ter iniciado o livro com falsas ilusões, nem altas expectativas e por já ter tido contacto com o estilo de escrita de Joanne Harris.

Os problemas começam quando St Oswald, um colégio de elite, desperta sentimentos de inadaptação, humilhação, inferioridade e raiva numa criança que se sente irresistivelmente atraída por ele e que se apercebe que nunca será aceite naquele
...more
Nimue Brown
Jul 15, 2012 Nimue Brown rated it really liked it
A tightly plotted and difficult to put down sort of novel, I read it in a 24 hour period. I think Gentleman and Players has more in common with Blue Eyed Boy than it does with Harris’s earlier work and I wonder if we’re seeing a change of direction. Blackberry Wine, Chocolate, Coastliners and others from earlier in her career were very much tales about (and I think, for) women. Touched with magical realism and otherness, they had a warmth and hopefulness I haven’t registered so much in more rece ...more
Lyn Elliott
Oct 28, 2016 Lyn Elliott rated it liked it
Shelves: crime
3.5 stars
A twisted tale, in which the voices of light and dark alternate in first person narratives between Latin master Straitley and the evil vengeance seeker whose identity in St Oswalds school remains a mystery until near the end. We know the person has recently joined the teaching staff using forged papers, but no more. I'll call this person H for Hater.
H is a monster, whose vicious resentment towards the school drives them to plan its ruin through slander, theft and murder. Very nasty ind
...more
Hana
Nov 21, 2016 Hana rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, 2016-reads
Engrossing thriller/mystery told from two points of view: that of a crotchety Latin professor at a British public school and the killer determined to destroy the school and its teachers.
Elena
Aug 07, 2011 Elena rated it it was amazing
Литературный обзор романа Джоанн Хэррис "Джентльмены и игроки": (пер. с англ. Старостиной Т.)

Врачи часто оперируют понятием «не навредить». Многие писатели подспудно хотят «не наследить». Не в истории литературы, а так, чтобы читатели, среди которых обязательно найдутся прототипы тех или иных героев произведения, не смогли бы привязать историю к конкретному месту и обвинить автора в предвзятости и компромате. И во вступительном слове к своим произведениям часто пишут: «Совпадение имен и географ
...more
Michael
Audere, agere, auferre.
To dare, to strive, to conquer

For generations, privileged young men attended private schools like St. Oswald’s Grammar School for Boys, groomed for greatness and success. But this year the winds have turned, not only are suits, paperwork, and information technology threating to overwhelm the school and break the traditions of this elite school but someone is trying to corrupt and destroy St. Oswalds once and for all; this is a game for Gentlemen and Players.

Nothing like a
...more
Kate Feline
Jan 04, 2016 Kate Feline rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Я читала много положительных отзывов о книге Джоан Харрис "Джентельмены и игроки", и, наверно, именно мои завышенные ожидания оказали такой плохой эффект. Я рассчитывала на очень многое, может, на "Тайную историю" Донны Тартт в английском переложении, может, на классический детектив в школе, а в итоге получила грязную, скучную и очень неприятную историю о всепоглощающей зависти, которая способна разрушить жизнь многих людей.
Проблема этой книги в ее главном герое. Ребенок из неблагополучной семьи
...more
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Joanne Harris is an Anglo-French author, whose books include fourteen novels, two cookbooks and many short stories. Her work is extremely diverse, covering aspects of magic realism, suspense, historical fiction, mythology and fantasy. She has also written a DR WHO novella for the BBC, has scripted guest episodes for the game ZOMBIES, RUN!, and is currently engaged in a number of musical theatre pr ...more
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“I like autumn. The drama of it; the golden lion roaring through the back door of the year, shaking its mane of leaves. A dangerous time; of violent rages and deceptive calm, of fireworks in the pockets and conkers in the fist.” 49 likes
“Most adults assume that the feelings of adolescence don't count, somehow, and that those searing passions of rage and hate and embarrassment and horror and hopeless, abject love are something your grow out of, something hormonal, a practice run for the Real Thing. It wasn't. At 13 *everything* counts; there are sharp edges on everything, and all of them cut.” 3 likes
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