"A Week in December" is Sebastian Faulks' first wholly contemporary novel. Set in London, it's a brilliant social satire, structured like a thriller, that takes place over the course of a single week at the end of 2007. It brings together an intriguing cast of characters, each apparently in his or her own world but - as gradually becomes clear - ultimately intricately related. The anti-hero, John Veals, is a shadily successful and boundlessly ambitious Dickensian figure who is trading billions and other characters include a teenage Muslim fanatic, a Polish footballer, a female tube driver, a literary critic, a care worker and a chutney tycoon. As the story builds to its climax, Faulks pulls together powerful ideas about family, money, religion, and the way we live now.