Alex Preston’s interesting debut novel, This Bleeding City, was a timely chronicle of whizzkid City bankers amid the credit crunch – and in some ways The Revelations feels like an unlinked sequel. Certainly, the emotional landscape is the same: young men and women trying to make sense of 21st century life. And indeed, the geography is similar: Preston is excellent when writing about the minutiae of London. What’s different is the setting. This time his troubled twentysomethings are members of “The Course”, an evangelical Christian organisation that they hope will help them navigate through the mess they’ve already made of their lives. Naturally – for this is a novel – The Course isn’t entirely as it seems, although the thriller elements of the plot aren’t half as interesting as the depictions of the four main characters who, even as they preach Christian values, barely seem to believe or practise what they are saying. And yet, cleverly, Preston doesn’t completely damn them – or The Course – for their hypocrisy as much as explore through them the age-old question we all have to answer; what is life for? That he doesn’t really have an answer might be a problem for some, and The Revelations is by no means perfect. But the writing is vivid enough to suggest that Preston does have a truly great book in him in the years to come.