From the book jacket:
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 technology are beginning to overshadow St. Oswald's tradition, and Straitley is finally, and reluctantly, contemplating retirement. He is joined this term by five new faculty members, including one who -- unbeknownst to Straitley and everyone else -- holds intimate and dangerous knowledge of St. Oswald's ways and secrets. Harboring dark ties to the school's past, this young teacher has arrived with one terrible goal: to destroy St. Oswald's.
As the new term gets under way, a number of incidents befall students and faculty alike. Beginning as...
Beyond the Book
The English School System
Established in medieval times, the original purpose of grammar schools was
to educate select members of the young in the grammar of Latin and other useful
In 1944 England established a tripartite education system
which placed grammar schools at the top of the heap. Less gifted children
(as defined by those who failed an entrance exam at the age of eleven) attended
either secondary modern schools or technical schools. In the 1960s the Labour government tried to do away with the grammar school system by introducing
comprehensive schools which taught all ability levels.
In response, some
grammar schools moved to a fee paying system but retained their "grammar school" designation,
and some managed to fly under...