James Palumbo might not be a household name but it's likely your household will know of his work. For Palumbo is an entrepreneur who set up Atlantic Airlines before selling it to Virgin, and then more notably set up the Ministry of Sound; a London nightclub that brought New York dancefloor hedonism to a less than salubrious part of South London, then evolved it into a media empire that houses the world's biggest record label, a radio station, some terrible vodka, and myriad other global operations.

So he's obviously a canny businessman with an eye for changing times, but we're not reviewing his bank balance, we're reviewing his writing skills. For Palumbo wasn't happy with merely owning the Ministry empire, he wanted to document the changing face of society, so a few years back he released Tomas, a satire on Russian oligarchs, reality TV and greedy footballers. And now he's back with his second novel, a similarly pitched attack on the subtle decays of society.

Now we've not read Tomas but it seems to be a divisive novel, with the likes of Stephen Fry and Noel Fielding lauding it from the heavens but some literary critics weren't quite so kind. So we approached Tancredi expecting it to follow suit; that we'd either really love it, or really hate it. But our actual reaction wasn't quite so Marmite; and in the end we rather enjoyed it but certainly not enough to wander the streets with a billboard attached to us claiming that people would be lost if they didn't experience it.

There's a nod to Terry Gilliam's Brazil in here, a farcical version of the future that also has a pinch of satire in its mix. Tancredi, a well-intentioned but seemingly bull in a china shop space traveller, moves around the galaxy landing on planets with all manner of oddball characters, each world having an exaggerated version of the current-state-of-things, be it a wonky health system, or reality TV, where contestant punishment is met with glee, not pity.

The writing certainly isn't top drawer, and you can easily lose interest in the initial chapters but stick with it and you'll find yourself fairly glued to it. Adding to its more-ish narrative are some great illustrations from artist Rohan Easton. Now the idea of pictures with your stories might feel like something you gave up as a nipper, but here they actually work a treat, and actually draw you into re-reading previous sections.

The whole book can be downed in about two or three hours, which is about right, any more and you might be a tad worn down by it. But give it this time and you'll find a thoroughly fun, and at times, quite perceptive, science fiction fable.

You can download the first chapter by clicking here.