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This is a book the Vatican would prefer that you not read.
Benedict XVI flays just about everything in the contemporary world that begs to be flayed – politics, the media, and of course religion. The comic hero is a mix of Shakespeare’s Sir John Falstaff and the ultra porn king Larry Flynt. Benny Good’s misadventures lead him from a humble origin as an Amish foundling through stints as a novice evangelist, overland trucker, and radio talk show host, finally achieving the office that includes the perk of being addressed as Most Holy Father.
Becoming the first American pope, Benny finds, is not difficult. With luck, the aid of an agent with her eyes on the holdings of the Catholic Church, and the will of God, all he has to do is to allow himself to be reinvented by her think tank and then let his personal magnetism and verbal acrobatics loose on the world.
Remaining the first American pope is another matter. Once elected, Benny/Benedict discovers, one must do what popes are paid to do: compose encyclicals and, in his case, keep an outrageous secret hidden and the media at bay. Does he succeed? Beyond his, and the reader’s, wildest expectations.
“As a novelist, Wiebe does not specialize in diplomacy . . . ahead of its time . . . naughty fun . . . an arch, slapstick humor that grows on you.” – Carlin Romano, Philadelphia Inquirer.
“An outrageously comic novel that should strike home to those to whom religion really matters . . . Full-throttle, nonstop, gut-bustingly funny.” – Edwin Gleaves, Tennessee State Librarian.
“Brilliant. Funny. Irresistible.” – the late Jack Cady, author of The Off Season and winner of the Atlantic Monthly First Award, World Fantasy Award, Nebula Award, and the Iowa Prize for Short Fiction.