Lamb (2002) is the sixth novel by Christopher Moore.
Cover Copy Edit
The birth of Jesus has been well chronicled, as have his glorious teachings, acts, and divine sacrifice after his thirtieth birthday. But no one knows about the early life of the Son of God, the missing years -- except Biff, the Messiahs best bud, who has been resurrected to tell the story in the divinely hilarious yet heartfelt work "reminiscent of Vonnegut and Douglas Adams" (Philadelphia Inquirer).
Verily, the story Biff has to tell is a miraculous one, filled with remarkable journeys, magic, healings, kung fu, corpse reanimations, demons, and hot babes. Even the considerable wiles and devotion of the Saviors pal may not be enough to divert Joshua from his tragic destiny. But theres no one who loves Josh more -- except maybe "Maggie," Mary of Magdala -- and Biff isnt about to let his extraordinary pal suffer and ascend without a fight.
Main Characters Edit
WARNING: SPOILERS FOLLOW Biff has been resurrected in the present day, to complete missing parts of the Bible. Supposedly under the watchful eye of the angel Raziel, who turns out to be more interested in the soap operas on the television in their hotel, Biff is made to write down his account of the decades missing from Jesus' life. During these years he and Joshua (which, as Biff points out, "Jesus" is the Greek version of, and thus in Galilee Jesus was called Joshua Bar Joseph) travel to the East to seek the Three Wise Men who attended Joshua's birth, so that he may learn how to become the Messiah.
Over a span of roughly twenty years, Joshua learns a great deal about human nature, and how he is able to translate that into his teachings. At each point, Joshua surpasses the Wise Men and their philosophy by incorporating his own beliefs into theirs. The story takes a fantastical twist on Joshua's miracles as well: he learns to multiply food from one of the Wise Men and learns to become invisible from another; however, his ability to resurrect the dead figures strongly into his first meeting with Biff when both boys are six years old. Biff, for himself, is sarcastic, practical and endlessly loyal. While it would seem that such traits, as well as the fact that he was the Messiah's best friend nearly thirty years, would ensure his place in the Gospels, there are reasons, as revealed in the final chapter, why Biff was essentially "cut out" of the story.
The recounting of Jesus' human and godlike qualities, combined with Biff's earthy debauchery, leads to its all-too-familiar tragic ending, but humorously explains many things: the origins of judo (a pun that is definitely intended), why Jews eat Chinese food on Christmas, and how rabbits became associated with Easter. The Three Wise Men, Mary Magdalene (on whom Biff has a childhood crush), Joseph, and Mary (Joshua's mother, whom Biff plans to marry if anything happens to Joseph) all have their part in the life and times of Joshua. Mary Magdalene, as in The Da Vinci Code, is depicted as harboring love for Joshua, though in Moore's version Joshua remains chaste on Raziel's instructions (This in itself leads to some of Biff's debauchery, as he is literally attempting to go through enough harlots for both of them). Biff himself loves "Maggie" with the same intensity, leading to a revolving love triangle.
When Joshua is facing execution, Biff attempts to cheat the Romans of their victim by having one of the women administer a death-simulating poison to his friend (via a sponge of sour wine), with an antidote to be provided post-burial. Unfortunately, an over-zealous legionnaire ruins everything by stabbing Joshua with a spear. Biff, enraged, chases down Judas and hangs him, and then kills himself in despair. After he finishes penning his Gospel, he is reunited with Maggie, resurrected for the same reason, to start a new life with her.