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The narrator of the book, a student at Devon during World War II. His best friend at school was Phineas, a superior athlete, while Gene was better known for his academic skills. Phineas and Gene spend a lovely summer together at Devon, which is ended when Phineas fell from a tree, an accident which Gene, either consciously or unconsciously, caused. Gene has a definite dark side lurking beneath the surface, though he appears to be a good, honest person in his everyday life. The book is spawned by a later visit to Devon, and of his strong memories and lingering feelings about what happened in 1942 at Devon.
Gene's best friend and roommate, a remarkable athlete with a disregard for the rules and an innate ability to win people over. He gets Gene in quite a bit of trouble via his impulsive nature and instinctive disobedience, but he is very good at heart, and thinks the world of his best friend. After his accident, he is unable to play sports, which crushes him; but, he decides that Gene shall take over his old place, and become the wonderful athlete that he was before he shattered his leg.
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