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Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal - Christopher Moore Lamb is the story of the missing years of Jesus, as told by his best pal Biff. That's all you need in the way of summary.

I was subjected to 12 years of Catholic school and mass every sunday for even longer than that so when I heard of the existence of a humorous book about Jesus' missing years, I jumped for it with all the lapsed-Catholic enthusiasm I could muster. Was I disappointed?

Most definitely not. In fact, I was the opposite of disappointed. Appointed? Anyway, this was my first Christopher Moore book and the measuring stick against which his others are... measured. Biff's a great character, the regular guy accompanying Joshua (aka Jesus) on his adventures. Jesus, of course, plays the ultimate straightman to Biff's jokes. From when Biff told Jesus he was going to marry his mother when they were little tykes all the way to the end, Biff makes what could be a fairly boring religious story into an odyssey of the hilarious.

While Moore tells the story in a humorous way, it's not as absurd as, say, a Douglas Adams book. Jesus visiting the Three Wise Men and actually learning from them was a good way to fill those missing years. In fact, Jesus traveling to the Far East makes a lot more sense than a lot of stuff in the bible. Just sayin'.

The characters other than Jesus and Biff were pretty memorable. Mary Magdalene played a huge part in the story and the three wise men were all given a lot more to do than the Gospel writers originally gave them. Catch, the demon from Practical Demonkeeping, makes an appearance. Raziel, the title character from The Stupidest Angel, makes his first appearance here and is the catalyst of the plot, resurrecting Biff and Mary M to help him fill in the gaps.

I've owned four copies of this book, each destroyed or lost under suspicious circumstances. People I've loaned the book over the years still quote parts of it to me when we run into each other. It's just that damn good.

I can't put the hilarity of Lamb into words. It's easier if you just read it yourself. Five of the easiest star I've ever awarded, with the caveate that if you are humorless about religion, you might be extremely offended.