By Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
GO READ THIS BOOK!
Seriously, it is awesome! The basic premise is inspired by Antichrist-genre movies, such as “The Omen” (which I also love, but you don’t need to in order to love this book), but with a twist: what if the Satanic nuns, who were supposed to switch the infant Antichrist with the newborn of the American consulate, accidentally misplaced him instead, and he ended up being raised by perfectly normal and very British middle-class parents in a small English country town?
After introducing the premise, settings, and characters within the first 60 pages, the majority of the book takes place over the four very busy days before The End Of The World. High-jinx ensue, of course, and there is a surprisingly wide array of players, including angels, demons, nuns, witches and fortune-tellers, witch hunters, nosy neighbors, and, of course, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
Both Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett excel at creating literary screwball comedies with dozens of characters all running around at cross-purposes. To my mind, though, the two authors are so perfectly matched because each balances the other’s weaknesses as well. Gaiman can get a bit melodramatic, while Pratchett is often too silly for me, so the two of them together create a fast-paced story with a light touch that doesn’t get bogged down in either symbolism or puns.