A Week in December tracks seven days in the lives of seven Londoners shortly before Christmas 2007. A social satire structured like a thriller, the novel centres on the characters' struggles to deal with an increasingly complex and demanding reality, in which their lives are intricately interwoven -- often without their knowledge.
Hedge fund manager John Veals appears to be the character most in control of his own destiny. He successfully short-sells and brings down a major UK bank through a carefully timed leak of illicitly gathered inside information. However, Veals’s estranged wife and drug-addicted son lay bare his disintegrating home, a failure caused by his inability to enjoy anything but making money.
At the opposite end of the social scale, would-be novelist R. Tranter vents his jealousy of popular contemporary writers with venomous reviews. He loses a coveted book prize having vainly antagonised one of the jury members, and has to eke out a living by correcting school reports and “coaching” chutney tycoon Farooq al-Rashid in contemporary literature in preparation for his meeting the Queen. Meanwhile, Farooq's son Hassan is undertaking his own preparation: to blow up a London institution on behalf of a militant Islamist sect
A moving love story blossoms between escapist tube train driver Jenni Fortune and young barrister Gabriel Northwood, who has been instructed to defend her in an Underground fatality case. The cast is rounded out by Polish footballer “Spike” Borowski, struggling to make his mark in his first Premier League season, and his Ukrainian girlfriend Olya, who features on erotic websites such as those consumed by Veals.
On the last day of this turbulent week in December, as the banking world trembles on the edge of the abyss, they meet at a Christmas dinner organised by the wife of an up-and-coming MP. Their intricate relationships are revealed, and the barriers shielding their lives disappear for one surreal, climactic evening.