Moscow. Elderly Brit Guy Bennett is being interviewed by American journalist Julia Schofield about how his life ended up on the path it did, unusual considering his proper British upbringing. In relaying his story, he focuses on the transition into his senior year at a prestigious boys school in Britain in the 1930s. He was friends with Tommy Judd, largely because of them both lying somewhat outside the lives of the other students. Judd was an intellectual Marxist, who would not participate in what he considered the oppression of school traditions which were perpetuated by fathers - former students - sending their sons to their alma mater. Guy, who did aspire to the top rung of the student hierarchy by becoming a "God" - one of the top prefects - in his senior year as a stepping stone to becoming a diplomat as a career, was open about his homosexuality to his classmates. That year, he believed he fell in love for the first time in his life with fellow student James Harcourt, those feelings reciprocated. Both Guy and Tommy were friendly enough with their fellow house upperclassmen, who respected Tommy for having principles to which he did not stray, and turned a blind eye to Guy's sexual activities if only to maintain overall peace. An event at the school that year involving another student would place greater scrutiny on the activities and behaviors of the entire student body. Tommy would be asked to do something that both appealed to his Marxist ideals of working for the greater good, but that also went against his principles against the traditions of the school. A struggle for power, with all students, including Guy and Tommy, largely against a tyrannical student named Fowler, who likened himself to a military officer, would have a profound affect on Guy and his life beliefs.