“It may help to understand human affairs to be clear that most of the great triumphs and tragedies of history are caused, not by people being fundamentally good or fundamentally bad, but by people being fundamentally people.”
Good Omens is the result of a collaboration between two of the greatest writers of our time, Terry Pratchett (Discworld) and Neil Gaiman (Sandman).
To sum up the whole plot of the novel would be rather too extensive but I’m still going to give it a try.
Basically, it’s the story of the apocalypse, but not in any way you have read about it before. The demon Crowley and the angel Aziraphale have been living on earth for a few centuries now and they have grown rather fond of it and their lifestyles. Nevertheless they are told by their respective bosses that the Antichrist is about to be born and that he needs to be taken care of, so that he can properly herald Armageddon when he’s old enough. Both sides observe the boy growing up, wondering when his destiny will show, since he does not seem threatening in the slightest. Only on his 11th birthday Crowley realizes that he and the satanic nuns might have made a mistake the night the boy was born and that the children seem to have been switched.
From then on it’s mainly Crowley running from his bosses and him and Azariphale deciding that they would much rather save the earth they live on. Aside from these two looking for the real Antichrist we also meet Newt Pulsifer, a member of the witchfinder army, who has become aware of some strange things happening in the village of Lower Tadfield, where Adam aka. the Antichrist happens to live. There Newt meets and falls in love with Anathema Device, a descendant of one Agnes Nutter, the very same Agnes Nutter who happened to predict the end of the world.
Crowley, Azariphale and Newt are not the only ones to make their way towards Lower Tadfield, but also the four horseman are on their way to join the Antichrist in bringing about the apocalypse. These four might seem a bit familiar if you are familiar with Pratchett’s writing, especially the fact that everything Death says is written in all caps is a feature of Pratchett’s Discworld novels.
To see how the grand finale goes down I strongly recommend you pick up the book as soon as possible.
It didn’t come as much of a surprise to me that I liked the book as much as I did, because I am a big fan of both Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett and even if you haven’t read anything by either of the two before, I am pretty sure you will love this book. It is absurd in a way that makes you smile constantly and also very witty, reflecting on society in a way that does not make it feel like it is being shoved in your face.
BBC Radio is also going to release a radio play for Good Omens, featuring some of Britain’s finest actors and also featuring the creators Gaiman and Pratchett themselves in a cameo appearance, just in time for Christmas. And as one of the actors who will be in the radio play, Colin Morgan, put it:
“It’s a story about the Antichrist. There’s nothing more festive than that!”