Sebastian Faulks was born in April 1953. Before becoming a full-time writer in 1991, he worked as a journalist. Sebastian Faulks's books include A Possible Life, Human Traces, On Green Dolphin Street, Engleby, Birdsong, A Week in December and Where My Heart Used to Beat.
The varied lives of a multitude of Londoners intersect during a single week in December 2007. Jenni, an underground tube driver and avid player of an alternative universe game, meets Gabriel, a barrister assigned to take her deposition following a subway suicide. Hedge fund manager John Veals has no time for his family and looks to make yet another financial killing by taking over a troubled bank. Shahla, a lovely French literature scholar, is in love with the sincere but emotionally distant Hassan, an active member of a radical Muslim youth group. Hassan's entrepreneurial immigrant father, Farooq al-Rashid, is about to be appointed by the Queen to the Order of the British Empire. Radley, a bored and caddish teacher, meets Jenni's online avatar. Faulks's best depiction, however, is a send-up of condescending book reviewers in the person of the snooty R. Tranter. Much time is spent getting to know all these people on the road to a converging climax. Verdict Distinctive characters and plotted coincidences worthy of Dickens are married to the excitement of a modern thriller. Faulks's latest novel should match the success of previous works like Birdsong and Human Traces.-Sheila Riley, Smithsonian Institution Libs., Washington, DC Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.