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Gentlemen and Players

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3.87  ·  Rating Details  ·  9,173 Ratings  ·  1,152 Reviews

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 get

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Paperback, 422 pages
Published May 4th 2010 by Daedalus (first published 2005)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Phrynne
Apr 27, 2015 Phrynne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
B the BookAddict
Apr 27, 2015 B the BookAddict rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Most Highly Recommended



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
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Autumn
Oct 30, 2008 Autumn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Wendy
Feb 16, 2009 Wendy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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Kiwi
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
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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
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Lauren
Oct 06, 2010 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
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Victoria
Oct 25, 2012 Victoria rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Laura
Sep 11, 2011 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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 20, 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
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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
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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
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Nimue Brown
Jul 15, 2012 Nimue Brown rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Cata
Aug 27, 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
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Kate Feline
Jan 05, 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
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Candice
Sep 26, 2015 Candice rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's hard to believe that the same person wrote this and Chocolat - they are so different! But Ms. Harris handled each superbly. This book takes place at a boys' school in England and is narrated by Roy Straitley, a classics professor who has taught at the school for 33 years, and "guess who", a new teacher at the school who has a huge grudge and aims to bring the school to its knees by any means necessary. The young antagonist tells of a rather wretched upbringing as the child of the school's p ...more
Elena
Aug 11, 2011 Elena rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Sterlingcindysu
Mar 10, 2011 Sterlingcindysu rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm not much good with mysteries because I tend to peek at the end, or poke holes in the ending. This is a good story first and a mystery second. Lots of great character development, setting details, everything from the time period rang true, great writing. The only complaint I have is that it took me awhile to realize there were 2 voices at the beginning, and you never really know who the 2nd voice is until the end. (copied review) Two differing perspectives form our view of the elite St. Oswal ...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
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LJ
GENTLEMEN & PLAYERS (Academic Mystery-England-Cont) – VG
Harris, Joanne – Standalone
Doubleday, 2005- UK Hardcover – ISBN: 0385-60366-5
First Sentence: If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the past fifteen years, it’s this; that murder is really no big deal.
*** Roy Straitley is Latin master at St. Oswald’s, a long-established boy’s grammar school. Although there have always been incidences of disruption through the years, there’s been nothing with the frequency and maliciousness of events being
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Petya
Feb 25, 2014 Petya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nikki
Apr 09, 2011 Nikki rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, contemporary
Fifth book for the readathon.

I normally love everything that Joanne Harris writes, but I found this one a bit too predictable, and the characters a bit too much like others. 'Julian' had shades of blueeyedboy, mostly. The whole pattern of the book, too, the steady undermining forces and the final triumph, that's familiar from her other books as well. I don't think I was surprised once.

She does evoke the school environment very well, at least to the mind of someone who attended a private school.
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Janet
Apr 09, 2010 Janet rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The story is told by two narrators - Roy Straitley, (signified by a white chess piece - a king), old-school Latin master who has done 99 terms at St Oswald’s, and will get his name on the Centenarians board once he’s completed his 100th, and an anonymous person whose father was once the school’s porter (signified by a black pawn).

The narrative switches between the present and 15 years earlier, when the unidentified narrator became resentful of St Oswald's because they had to attend the local an
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Lupurk
Nov 07, 2014 Lupurk rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook, biblioteca, 2014
Una lettura inizialmente lenta, esplode nella seconda metà in un crescendo di colpi di scena. Una partita a scacchi, una vendetta covata per 14 anni, un desiderio di rivalsa, nella cornice di una prestigiosa scuola inglese, più attenta all'apparenza che alle persone dietro le divise.
Un bel libro, scritto benissimo.
Eric_W
Nov 12, 2008 Eric_W rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a nifty little thriller about the child of an English school's maintenance man who decides to destroy the school. It has humor, class conflict, English snobbery and all sorts of good stuff. I listened to the audio version from Audible.com and the reader was excellent. Highly recommended.
Beatrice
Nov 08, 2014 Beatrice rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mi ci è voluta qualche pagina per abituarmi. Inizialmente il continuo cambio di narratore lascia un po' disorientati e rallenta la lettura, ma con l'andare avanti della storia e con l'aggiunta, a poco a poco, dei tasselli mancanti, mi sono ritrovata a non riuscire più a staccare gli occhi dal libro. Grazie ai diversi punti di vista i personaggi sono ben delineati, e si scontrano in situazioni sempre più surreali e cariche di tensione. Ho provato parecchia simpatia per Mr. Straitley, col suo cerc ...more
Lénia
Sep 07, 2014 Lénia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
Genial. Mas, a bem da dita genialidade, é imprescindível ler este livro em inglês e não em português. Não perguntem porquê - para explicar teria que envolver spoilers que, neste caso, estragariam mesmo a leitura.
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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.” 47 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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