A classic tale of good against evil, John King's new novel pits nurse against consultant; a working-class woman against an upper-middle-class man. Ruby is a locally-born nurse, who enjoys life to the full, lives in the present and likes to find the best in everyone. For her, the hospital in which she works is society in microcosm: a chaotic, exciting landscape of work and play where everyone has a story to tell. For Mr Jeffries, the consultant, however, the patients he attends and the staff he has to deal with are all tarred with the same brush: an ignorant, lazy, drunken, violent, drug-crazed rabble. White trash. One of his main responsibilities is to allocate resources and cut down on expenditure; what he sees as streamlining is, in effect, a terrifying policy of social cleansing. Arrogant and elitist, Jeffries hankers after a class system that has gone - but that he wants reestablished. When Joy becomes suspicious about the death of a patient, a clash between the two is, suddenly, inevitable.