The narrator, Samson Young, enters the Black Cross, a thoroughly undesirable public house, and finds the main players of his drama assembled, just waiting to begin. It's a gift of a story from real life . . . all Samson has to do is to write it as it happens. Taking a small pocket of time and a richly diverse part of London, Martin Amis dissects the nature of a society as it hurtles towards the millennium.